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Surprising Science

Nazi “Research”: Unethical & Useless

With alleged breaches of the Nuremburg Medical Code in the news, Brian Palmer looks at whether any useful science came out of Nazi experiments on unwilling subjects.
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Amid claims that doctors who helped the CIA torture Guantanamo Bay detainees violated medical ethics standards, Brian Palmer looks at whether any useful science came out of Nazi experiments such as by concentration camp doctors. The 1947 Nuremburg Medical Code was formulated in response to gruesome Nazi research on Jews, Gypsies, and captured enemy soldiers. “Leaving aside the question of medical ethics, did any useful science ever come out of Nazi experiments on unwilling subjects? Very little. Concentration camp doctors conducted research on vaccines, antibiotics, fertility, transplantation, and eugenics. The majority of those experiments were either useless, scientifically unsound, or duplicative.”


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