||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (December 2009)|
|Ernst Ludwig Wynder|
April 30, 1922|
|Died||July 14, 1999(aged 77)|
|Occupation||Physician, educator, health researcher|
|Known for||Linking smoking with lung cancer|
Ernst Ludwig Wynder, M.D. (1922-1999) was an American epidemiology and public health researcher who studied the risk factors of smoking tobacco. His 1950 coauthored publication of "Tobacco Smoking as a Possible Etiologic Factor in Bronchiogenic Carcinoma: A Study of 684 Proved Cases" appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It was one of the first major scientific publications identifying smoking as a contributory cause of lung cancer.
Wynder was born in Herford, Germany in 1922 to Jewish parents (a cousin of Robert Weinberg). In 1938 his family escaped Nazi rule and fled to the United States, where Wynder enrolled at New York University. During World War II, he attained citizenship and joined the U.S. Army, where, as a German-speaker, he was assigned to a psychological warfare unit to monitor German newscasts. After the war, he attended medical school at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1950, he received both a bachelor of science and a medical degree. Aside from his credentials as a physician, Wynder was a researcher, educator, and activist. He devoted his career to the study and prevention of cancer and chronic disease, including the publication of hundreds of scientific papers. Through the 1950s and 1960s, he worked at Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research. In 1969, he founded the American Health Foundation. In 1972, he founded the academic journal Preventive Medicine (journal) and served as the founding editor. Wynder died on July 14, 1999.
Smoking and Lung Cancer Studies
Wynder began collaborating with his coauthor on the article, Evarts Ambrose Graham, as a medical student at Washington University in St. Louis in 1947. The previous summer he had conducted epidemiological studies of smoking behavior among 146 lung cancer patients in New York City. The project was funded by the American Cancer Society. Now, with Graham, Wynder collected extensive data on 604 patients with lung cancer at hospitals across the United States. Departing from a tradition of using anecdotal evidence (e.g., clinical interviews) to develop explanations of disease causation, Wynder and Graham applied rudimentary statistical methods to their study. They divided patients into crude categories of "moderate" or "heavy" smokers, based on retrospective interviews of each patient's smoking behavior over a twenty-year period. They also measured and controlled for important confounding factors (e.g., age, types of tobacco use, inhalation level). Most importantly, with regard to an ability to demonstrate causation, Wynder and Graham also studied a control group of cancer-free individuals in hospitals. They systematically compared the lung cancer patients to the control group.
On May 27, 1950 the Journal of the American Medical Association published the resulting scientific report. Wynder and Graham found that lung cancer could develop among nonsmokers, implying that smoking is not the single factor in the induction of disease. But they identified smoking as a significant risk factor for lung cancer, based on four findings: 1) Lung cancer was rare in nonsmokers; 2) Among patients with lung cancer, cigarette use tended to be high; 3) Lung cancer incidence among men and women matched patterns of smoking behavior in men and women; 4) "the enormous increase in the sale of cigarettes in this country approximately parallels the increase in [lung cancer]." As further scientific evidence of smoking's role in causing lung cancer began to mount in the United States and Great Britain, Wynder and Graham investigated the biological plausibility of the association between smoking and lung disease. In 1950, they initiated a study of the impact of tars from tobacco smoke on mice. After a year of exposure to tar, 44 percent of the mice developed cancers. Wynder also discovered specific carcinogens in tar (e.g., benzopyrenes, arsenic), but was unable to identify the contributions of these chemicals to cancer.
Wynder's studies of tobacco smoke were timely and important. Whereas laboratory studies of tobacco tar had been conducted elsewhere, Wynder's findings supported the growing epidemiological data. "The production of tumors in lab animals offered a powerful indicator that something in cigarette smoke could account for the epidemiological findings," writes Allan M. Brandt, a historian of medicine.
Wynder published nearly 800 papers during his lifetime. Wynder's work appeared in 139 periodicals and one book. More than half of his articles were published in ten prestigious mainline journals, such as Cancer, the flagship journal of the American Cancer Society. The dominant themes were lung and breast cancer, but there were also in-depth studies of the epidemiology of cancer of the bladder, larynx, colon and rectum, stomach, ovary, prostate, pancreas, and kidney, as well as numerous experimental studies. Many of these papers were the first or most comprehensive studies ever published, especially the massive 1960 coauthored study of the epidemiology of breast cancer.
- Public health
- Lung cancer
- Evarts Ambrose Graham
- Washington University in St. Louis
References and notes
- The New York Times Biographical Service. A compilation of current biographical information of general interest. Volume 30, Numbers 1-12. Ann Arbor, MI: Bell & Howell Information & Learning Co., 1999.
- WYNDER EL, GRAHAM EA (May 1950). "Tobacco smoking as a possible etiologic factor in bronchiogenic carcinoma; a study of 684 proved cases". J Am Med Assoc 143 (4): 329–36. PMID 15415260.
- Angier, N. 1988. Natural obsessions: striving to unlock the deepest secrets of the cancer cell. Houghton Mifflin, page 46.
- Brandt, Allan M. 2007. The Cigarette Century. New York: Basic Books, pages 133-134.
Also see Wynder's obituary in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 48(43), page 987
- Brandt, Allan M. 2007. The Cigarette Century. New York: Basic Books, pages 131-132.
- Wynder EL, Graham E. Tobacco smoking as a possible etiologic factor in bronchiogenic carcinoma: a study of 684 proven cases. JAMA 1950;143:329-36. Also see Brandt, Allan M. 2007. The Cigarette Century. New York: Basic Books, pages 132-133.
- Brandt, Allan M. 2007. The Cigarette Century. New York: Basic Books, page 147.
- Hoffmann I (October 2006). "The full bibliography of Ernst Ludwig Wynder". Prev Med 43 (4): 274–90. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2006.08.005. PMID 17007915.
- Wynder EL, Bross IJ, Hirayama T. A study of the epidemiology of cancer of the breast. Cancer. 1960;13:559–601.
- Brandt, Allan. The Cigarette Century. Basic Books, 2007.
- Brandt, Allan. The cigarette, risk, and American culture. Daedalus 1990;119:155-76.
- Gately, Iain. Tobacco: A Cultural History of How an Exotic Plant Seduced Civilization. Grove Press, 2003. ISBN 0-8021-3960-4.
- Kluger, Richard. Ashes to ashes: America's hundred-year cigarette war, the public health, and the unabashed triumph of Philip Morris. New York: Knopf, 1996.
- Simmons, John Galbraith. Doctors and discoveries: lives that created today's medicine: from Hippocrates to the present. pp. 307–311. Houghton Mifflin, 2002. ISBN 0-618-15276-8.
- Steinfeld JL. Smoking and lung cancer: a milestone in awareness. JAMA 1985;263:2995-7.
- Wynder EL. A corner of history: micro-epidemiology. Prev Med 1973;2:465-71.
- Wynder EL, Graham E. Tobacco smoking as a possible etiologic factor in bronchiogenic carcinoma: a study of 684 proven cases. JAMA 1950;143:329-36.