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Encyclopedia > Daniel Carleton Gajdusek
Daniel Carleton Gajdusek in 1976 when he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
Daniel Carleton Gajdusek in 1976 when he won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Daniel Carleton Gajdusek (born September 9, 1923 in Yonkers) is an American physician and medical researcher of Slovakian-Hungarian descent, who was the co-recipient (along with Baruch S. Blumberg) of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 for work on kuru, the first prion disease discovered. His later life was marred by a criminal conviction for pedophilia. Image File history File links Gajdusek. ... Image File history File links Gajdusek. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to the present day. ... September 9 is the 252nd day of the year (253rd in leap years). ... 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... Yonkers, just north of New York City in Westchester County, is the fourth largest city in the U.S. state of New York, with a population of 196,086 (according to the 2000 census). ... Baruch Samuel Blumberg (born 1925) is a American scientist and recipient of the 1976 Nobel Prize in Medicine for discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases. ... List of Nobel Prize laureates in Physiology or Medicine from 1901 to the present day. ... 1976 (MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday. ... Kuru (also known as laughing sickness due to the outbursts of laughter that mark its second phase) was first noted in New Guinea in the early 1900s. ... A prion (IPA: [1]  ) — short for proteinaceous infectious particle — (by analogy to virion) is a type of infectious agent. ... Pedophilia, paedophilia or pædophilia (see spelling differences) is the paraphilia of being sexually attracted primarily or exclusively to prepubescent or peripubescent children. ...

Contents

Work on kuru

He received the award in recognition of his study of a remarkable disease, kuru (Fore word for "trembling"). This disease was rampant among the South Fore people of New Guinea in the 1950s and 1960s. Gajdusek correctly connected the prevalence of the disease with the practice of funerary cannibalism, practiced by the South Fore. With elimination of this practice, Kuru disappeared among the South Fore within a generation. Kuru (also known as laughing sickness due to the outbursts of laughter that mark its second phase) was first noted in New Guinea in the early 1900s. ... The Fore are a highland people of Papua New Guinea. ... The 1950s was the decade spanning from the 1st of January, 1950 to the 31st December, 1959. ... The 1960s decade refers to the years from January 1, 1960 to December 31, 1969, inclusive. ... This article or section needs additional references or sources to improve its verifiability. ...


Vincent Zigas, a district medical officer in the Fore Tribe region of New Guinea first introduced Gajdusek to Kuru. Gajdusek provided the first medical description of this unique neurological disorder, which was also known as the "laughing sickness". He lived among the Fore, studied their language and culture and performed autopsies on kuru victims. Gajdusek correctly concluded that the disease was transmitted in the ritualistic eating of the brains of deceased relatives, which was practiced by the Fore. Though Gajdusek was not able to identify the infective agent that spreads kuru, further research led to the identification of rogue proteins called prions as the cause of kuru. A prion (IPA: [1]  ) — short for proteinaceous infectious particle — (by analogy to virion) is a type of infectious agent. ...


Career

Gajdusek's father was from Slovakia and his mother from Debrecen, Hungary, who emigrated to the U.S. and settled down in Yonkers, where their son was born. Gajdusek graduated in 1943 from the University of Rochester (New York), where he studies Physics, Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics. He obtained an M.D. from Harvard University in 1946. He performed postdoctoral research at Columbia, Caltech and Harvard before being drafted to complete military service at the Walter Reed Army Medical Service Graduate School as a research virologist. He held a position at the Institut Pasteur in Tehran from 1952 to 1953, where he was excited by the challenges "offered by urgent opportunistic investigations of epidemiological problems in exotic and isolated populations". In 1954 he went to work as a visiting investigator at the Walter and Eliza Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne. It was here he began the work that culminated in the Nobel prize. Coat of arms of Debrecen Debrecen   (approximate pronunciation: deh-breh-tsen; German: ; Polish: ; Romanian: ; Slovak: ) is the second largest city in Hungary after Budapest. ... The University of Rochester is a private, coeducational and nonsectarian research institution located in Rochester, New York. ... Official language(s) English de facto Capital Albany Largest city New York City Area  Ranked 27th  - Total 54,520 sq mi (141,205 km²)  - Width 285 miles (455 km)  - Length 330 miles (530 km)  - % water 13. ... The first few hydrogen atom electron orbitals shown as cross-sections with color-coded probability density. ... Biology (from Greek βίος λόγος, see below) is the branch of science dealing with the study of living organisms. ... Chemistry (from Greek χημεία khemeia[1] meaning alchemy) is the science of matter at the atomic to molecular scale, dealing primarily with collections of atoms, such as molecules, crystals, and metals. ... Euclid, Greek mathematician, 3rd century BC, known today as the father of geometry; shown here in a detail of The School of Athens by Raphael. ... Harvard University (incorporated as The President and Fellows of Harvard College) is a private university in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ... 1946 (MCMXLVI) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ... California Institute of Technology The California Institute of Technology (commonly known as Caltech) is a private, coeducational university located in Pasadena, California, in the United States. ... Virology, often considered a part of microbiology, is the study of biological viruses: their structure and classification, their ways to infect and exploit cells to reproduce and cause disease, and their potential uses in research and therapy. ... 1952 (MCMLII) was a Leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1953 (MCMLIII) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... 1954 (MCMLIV) was a common year starting on Friday of the Gregorian calendar. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Nobel Prize medal. ...


He became head of laboratories for virological and neurological research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 1958 and was inducted to the National Academy of Sciences in 1974 in the discipline of microbial biology. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the primary agency of the United States government responsible for medical research. ... 1958 (MCMLVIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ... President Harding and the National Academy of Sciences at the White House, Washington, DC, April 1921 The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a corporation in the United States whose members serve pro bono as advisers to the nation on science, engineering, and medicine. ... 1974 (MCMLXXIV) was a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


Pedophilia

In the course of his research trips in the South Pacific, Gajdusek had brought children back to live with him in the United States, ostensibly out of scientific interest. He was later accused by some of these, now adult men, of sexually molesting them as children.


Gajdusek's research diaries had strongly hinted at Gajdusek's own sexual relationships with boys he encountered in the course of his fieldwork. These diaries had leaked on to the Internet and were being discussed online by pro-pedophilia groups. This led to Gajdusek being arrested in April 1996 in connection with a federal investigation of Internet-based child pornography. Child pornography refers to pornography depicting minors. ...


Gajdusek was charged with child molestation in April 1996, based on incriminating entries in his laboratory entries, statements from a victim and his own admission. He pleaded guilty in 1997 and, under a plea bargain, was sentenced to 19 months in jail. After his release in 1998, he was permitted to serve his 5-year probation in Europe. Sexual abuse is physical or psychological abuse that involves crimes in most countries. ... Probation is the suspension of a prison or jail sentence - the criminal who is on probation has been convicted of a crime, but instead of serving prison time, has been found by the Court to be amenable to probation and will be returned to the community for a period in...


Biographies

The book Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes serves as a fascinating biography and introduction to Gajdusek's lifework. Richard Rhodes (born July 4, 1937) is an American author of fiction and verity, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Making of the Atomic Bomb in 1986, and most recently, John James Audubon: the Making of an American in 2004. ...


References

  • Daniel Gajdusek, Autobiography, Les Prix Nobel, 1976.
  • Karolinska Institutet, Press Release: The 1976 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 1976.
  • Richard Rhodes, Deadly Feasts: Tracking the Secrets of a Terrifying New Plague (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1997).

External links

  • MSN Encarta: Daniel Carleton Gajdusek
  • Self-autobiography (written at time of the award)
  • (Hungarian) Current autobiography in Hungarian

  Results from FactBites:
 
Daniel Carleton Gajdusek - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (701 words)
Daniel Carleton Gajdusek (born September 9, 1923 in Yonkers) is an American physician and medical researcher of Slovakian-Hungarian descent, who was the co-recipient (along with Baruch S. Blumberg) of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1976 for work on kuru, the first prion disease discovered.
Gajdusek's father was from Slovakia and his mother from Debrecen, Hungary, who emigrated to the U.S. and settled down in Yonkers, where their son was born.
Gajdusek was charged with child molestation in April 1996, based on incriminating entries in his laboratory entries, statements from a victim and his own admission.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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