Now available: FRAUD & ROOT CANALS -- Medicine's Greatest Fraud; Dentistry, Deception, Quackery -- See IoS BOOKS


S. H. Shakman
PO Box 382, Santa Monica, CA, U. S. A. 90406-0382
Please refer to: Shakman to Nature, 20 October 1993 per Nature/SHAKMAN COMM/MC/tb, 2 November 1993

Consideration of similarities between such diseases as multiple sclerosis, arthritis, diabetes, and thyroiditis [*1] might as a matter of course refer to the monumental body of work of E.C. Rosenow [*2], were it not for continuing effects of a gross distortion of his (early) research results [*3] by W. L. Holman in 1928 [*4]. Rosenow, who served with the Mayo Clinic from 1915-1944 and published nearly 300 articles spanning the period 1902-1958, conducted extensive series of animal experiments and other tests which evidenced the phenomenon of elective localization of bacteria (emanating from oral foci) as a factor in these and diverse other diseases [*2, *3, *5].

A 1928 article by Holman challenged the significance of Rosenow's results with a so-called "rearrangement of Rosenow's data", and subsequently has served as a common and key reference in literature underlying the modern relationship between medicine and dentistry. [*6] On examination, Holman's "rearrangement" is seen as a cleverly-designed deception. For example, Rosenow reported that 60% of 103 animals injected with bacteria as isolated from stomach ulcer patients had developed lesions with hemorrhages in the stomach/duodenum, compared with an average 17% of 405 animals injected with strains from other diseases (Table 1). Holman calculated from this that lesions in the stomach had developed in 62 animals injected with bacteria from stomach ulcer patients and in 68 other animals, exhibited these as percentages (48% and 52%) of the sum 130 animals with lesions, and simply omitted all reference to the actual total number injected (508). Such was the basis for Holman's carefully-worded statement "that it is roughly a 50 per cent chance whether any particular localization occurs with a 'specific' or 'non-specific' strain" and for his improperly consequent claim that "the specificity of bacteria involved has not been proved".

Holman's continuing legacy is exemplified in Paul B. Beeson's 1976 [*7] exclusive reference to a 1940 article by H. A. Reiman and W.P. Havens as concerns "decisive" rejection of Rosenow and "the focal infection fad"; Reiman and Havens [*6], in turn, exclusively credited Holman with having refuted elective localization. Similarly, numerous works up to modern times, [*8] seemingly including the key supporting literature for the field of endodontistry in its entirety, are fundamentally reliant on Holman or works which themselves depend on Holman [*9]. For the most part, as a result of cumulative years of negative regard largely (directly or indirectly) traceable back to Holman, Dr. Rosenow's work has been generally maligned and consequently ignored.

In 1940, Dr. Rosenow published composite results of more extensive series of experiments by himself and thirty-one others, involving more than 11,000 animals and emphatically confirming Rosenow's earlier work (Table 2) [*4]. Yet neither this nor continued assertions of the value of the focal infection concept [10] have sustained major interest in Rosenow or the field in general.

The extent to which Rosenow's work has been wrongfully discredited argues for its reconsideration, particularly as concerns the essential type of non-hemolytic streptococcus used in his experiments (consistently isolated only in media affording a gradient of oxygen pressure, such as dextrose-brain broth), the purported etiologic importance of infected tonsils and teeth (including symptomless pulpless teeth, now independently acknowledged as commonly infected) [11], and the advocacy of autogenous vaccine-therapy.



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