thetized rabbits and dogs convinced Bancroft that sodium thiocyanate, also known as sodium rhodanate, was the most effective such substance that could be tolerated by a living organism in therapeutic dosages. Announcing that sodium rhodanate was a veritable elixir that "alleviates all troubles due to reversible coagulation of proteins," Bancroft and his colleagues plunged into a program of clinical trials, using colleagues' private patients—morphine addicts, alcoholics, and manic depressives—as subjects.42

Bancroft's results, while unfailingly optimistic, resisted duplication elsewhere. Indeed, it would have been surprising had they been duplicated, for his procedures violated just about every standard of clinical research. His trials involved a handful of subjects who suffered from ill-defined maladies, little effort was made to establish controls, and follow-up was almost non-existent. It took time, however, for his methods to receive critical scrutiny, and for a year of so Bancroft rode high on a wave of publicity and public acclaim. Written up in all the major New York newspapers and even in Time magazine, Bancroft was touted as a scientist who had found a cure for the alcoholism, insanity, and the "drug habit." Nor was it only journalists who were impressed. Bancroft's fellow chemists in the New York Section of the American Chemical Society were also enthusiastic. Meeting in February 1933, their awards committee voted to bestow on Bancroft the William H. Nichols Medal in recognition of his work on the colloid chemistry of the nervous system.43

The announcement of this award precipitated an avalanche of congratulatory letters and newspaper stories. It also triggered a sharp rebuke from the Journal of the American Medical Association, whose editors had already expressed skepticism about Bancroft's claims and worry about his infringements on the prerogatives of physicians. Chemists,



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