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Following the 1916 epidemics and having experienced little success in treating polio patients, researchers set out to find new and better treatments for the disease.
Between 1917 and the early 1950s several therapies were explored in an effort to prevent deformities including hydrotherapy and electrotherapy.
This work, and the prior classification by Heine, led to the disease being known as Heine-Medin disease. This cardboard placard was placed in windows of residences where patients were quarantined due to poliomyelitis.
Major polio epidemics were unknown before the 20th century; localized paralytic polio epidemics began to appear in Europe and the United States around 1900. Violating the quarantine order or removing the placard was punishable by a fine of up to US0 in 1909 (equivalent to ,724 in 2017). One day you had a headache and an hour later you were paralyzed. was one of the physicians in several cities who realized what they were dealing with, but the nature of the disease remained largely a mystery.
The first iron lung used in the treatment of polio victims was invented by Philip Drinker, Louis Agassiz Shaw, and James Wilson at Harvard, and tested October 12, 1928, at Children's Hospital, Boston.By 1950, the peak age incidence of paralytic poliomyelitis in the United States had shifted from infants to children aged 5 to 9 years; about one-third of the cases were reported in persons over 15 years of age.In the United States, the 1952 polio epidemic was the worst outbreak in the nation's history, and is credited with heightening parents’ fears of the disease and focusing public awareness on the need for a vaccine.In the early 20th century—in the absence of proven treatments—a number of odd and potentially dangerous polio treatments were suggested.In John Haven Emerson's A Monograph on the Epidemic of Poliomyelitis (Infantile Paralysis) in New York City in 1916Give oxygen through the lower extremities, by positive electricity.The original Drinker iron lung was powered by an electric motor attached to two vacuum cleaners, and worked by changing the pressure inside the machine.When the pressure is lowered, the chest cavity expands, trying to fill this partial vacuum.Positive pressure ventilators reduced mortality in bulbar patients from 90% to 20%.In the Copenhagen epidemic of 1952, large numbers of patients were ventilated by hand ("bagged") by medical students and anyone else on hand, because of the large number of bulbar polio patients and the small number of ventilators available.The antibody serum was widely administered, but obtaining the serum was an expensive and time-consuming process, and the focus of the medical community soon shifted to the development of a polio vaccine.Early management practices for paralyzed muscles emphasized the need to rest the affected muscles and suggested that the application of splints would prevent tightening of muscle, tendons, ligaments, or skin that would prevent normal movement.