Medicine: Signals In the Blood

The Wassermann test (1906) was a powerful weapon in the war against syphilis, but its many laboratory stages made it as slow and cumbersome as a medieval crossbow. What the medical warriors needed was a rifle. When Dr. (of Science) Reuben Leon Kahn took charge of Michigan's serology laboratory in Lansing 31 years ago, several starts had been made, but Kahn wanted to do better. On Thanksgiving eve of 1921, he recalls, "I walked home at a faster pace than usual. I wanted to tell my wife the exciting news: I had succeeded in...

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