Hypodermic Needle Peer-Reviewed Journal

Gibson, William Carleton. “The Bio-Medical Pursuits of Christopher Wren.” Medical History, vol. 14, no. 4, 1970, pp. 331-41. PubMed Central, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1034081/.

This journal article was a very interesting historical source regarding the evolution of injection and the early use of the hypodermic needle.  In this article, the first experiments with the hypodermic needle are described. Gibson goes into detail about these first experiments, which were performed on dogs. It is described that Christopher Wren made a slit in the vein, inserted the needle attached to a syringe, and injected a solution into the leg of a dog. This solution contained opium, and was shown to be quickly circulated, being carried to the brain and other parts of the body. This method was shown to be very effective, as the opium took effect on the dog very quickly, causing him to sway his head and falter in his step before they had even untied him. This was a really great example and demonstration of how effective of a tool the needle is. This source relates to the source about early forms of inoculation, as they both show the evolution of the needle and the practices that it is used for. By comparing the early forms of inoculation to these experiments performed on dogs and then to the modern practice of vaccination and administration of drugs, the impact and improvement that the needle has had on medicine can be seen. A question stemming from this source could be “when was the first use of a hypodermic needle on a human?”, and also “did the needle have any dangers or negative effects?”.


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