dimanche 25 mai 2014

Le standard doré de la causalité infectieuse

The Gold Standard of Infectious Causation: Koch's Postulates and 20th Century Medicine

Prof. Christoph Gradmann (University of Oslo)

Thursday 29th May  at 5.30pm

WF38 on the first floor of the Medical School
College of Medical and Dental Sciences
School of Health and Population Sciences


This lecture is on the historical origins and the popularity of 'Koch's Postulates', as set of criteria for establishing a bacterial aetiology of an infectious disease supposedly established by the German physician Robert Koch (1843-1910).
These postulates and their three steps of isolation, cultivation and inoculation are a classic in medical history and they are frequently invoked in medical research papers. Yet, strict adherence to them is rarely to be found – not even in Koch himself. He produced numerous variations of the methodology and usually avoided discussing principal questions anyway. Given that, it is not surprising that references to Koch's postulates in the 20th century usually refer to the spirit rather than the literal meaning of the postulates. There are innumerable variations of those postulates. For example, proponents of virology or molecular medicine devised variations of Koch's postulates that serve to relate their own work to classical bacteriology. The nature of such references is anecdotal: referring to a historical event that has never happened in a strict sense, they produce ex traditione credentials for experimental medicine.


Details of future seminars are available from: Dr Vanessa Heggie, History of Medicine Unit, College of Medical and Dental Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham B15 2TT.
Email: v.heggie@bham.ac.uk Tel: 0121 415 8184

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