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History of Cystic Fibrosis 3

Page history last edited by Tyler Lasky 14 years, 7 months ago



  • Cystic Fibrosis was first described by Dr. Dorothy Andersen (pathologist in New York Babies Hospital) in 1938.
    • Examined a deceased child that had supposedly died of celiac disease.
    • She noticed that there was extensive damage to the pancreas and realized she was working with a disease not medically recognized. 
    • Andersen named the disease Cystic Fibrosis and gave a presentation of her discovery at a meeting of the American Pediatric Society and the Society for Pediatric Research on May 5, 1938.
    • Criticized by others in the medical field for taking her research too far. 
    • Her research team found that those afflicted with the disease had higher levels of salt in their sweat. This led to a much more simple test to determine if a child has cystic fibrosis.
    • She was also a pioneer in the understanding of the genetics behind the disorder.[1]  






  • 17th Century infants may have had Cystic Fibrosis as the German Children's Songs and Games from Switzerland states,"The child will soon die whose forehead tastes salty when kissed."
  • Landsteiner depicted the obstruction of intestines of newborns that results from Cystic Fibrosis in 1905.
  • Throughout the thirties there were reports of children suffering from pancreatic changes that were relative to the symptoms of CF.[3]  


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  1. "Andersen, Dorothy (1901-1963)." UXL Biographies. Online ed. Detroit: UXL, 2003. Student Resource Center - Silver. Gale. Avon High School (IN). 26 Oct. 2009 .
  2. Dr. Dorothy Hansine Andersen. Web. 29 Oct 2009. .
  3. "History of Cystic Fibrosis." Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Web. 1 Nov 2009. .

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