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Obama orders review after revelations of '40s-era Guatemala syphilis study

The White House has ordered a comprehensive review of medical research guidelines after revelations last month that the U.S. knowingly infected hundreds of Guatemalan prisoners and patients with syphilis or gonorrhea in the 1940s.

President Obama's directive last week to convene a Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues is another acknowledgement of, as the president said, "past abuses" in U.S. medical research since medical historian Susan Reverby revealed that the U.S. Public Health Service exposed thousands in Guatemala to the sexually transmitted diseases without their knowledge or consent.

Obama called Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom in early October to apologize on behalf of his government, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton called the research "abhorrent." Here's previous coverage in La Plaza. Here's the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services information page on the Guatemalan experiment.

Conducted between 1946 and 1948, the study in Guatemala was meant to test whether penicillin could treat syphilis and other STDs. It was led by an American doctor, John Cutler, who would later lead the infamous Tuskegee experiment in Alabama, in which African American men with syphilis were observed as the disease progressed without treatment.

Although the Guatemalan study occurred more than 60 years ago, some pharmaceutical companies have shifted their clinical trials overseas, making the question of protection of human subjects in medical research still relevant today, notes the journal Nature.

Obama's order calls for a panel to work for nine months beginning in January to examine whether federal and international regulations adequately guard subjects in medical studies supported by the U.S. government.

"While I believe the research community has made tremendous progress in the area of human subjects' protection, what took place in Guatemala is a sobering reminder of past abuses," Obama said. "We owe it to the people of Guatemala and future generations of volunteers who participate in medical research."

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

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AFTER WHAT HAPPENED TO THE GUATEMALAN PEOPLE PRESIDENT OBAMA AN HIS ADMINISTRATION THE LEAST CAN DO IS GRANT THE TPS (TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS) TO THE GUATEMALA PEOPLE LIVING IN UNITED STATES BECAUSE UNITED STATES ALSO GOT INVOLVED ON GUATEMALA WAR. AFTER THE WAR GUATEMALA COUNTRY NEVER BEEN THE SAME. AFTER A WAR BRINGS CORRUPTION- NO EDUCATION TO THEIR PEOPLE, WELL ETC.

@Rigoberto
The article states, that the incident happened in the 1940's. It's very doubtful, if any victims are still around. John Cutler, the doctor responsible, had to have someone's okay, in Guatemala, to conduct this experiment.

A few questions for you. Who is Yeshua-the Messiah. And you make a reference to ABA?

Shades of Nazi Germany...NO?

THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION HAS A SERIOUS MATTER IN HANDS!THIS IS A SIMILAR CASE LIKE THE NAZI GERMANY EXPERIMENTS WITH HUMANS DURING THE II WORLD WAR!AND THEY ENDED AT THE NUREMBERG TRIALS AND PRISON FOR RESPONSABLES!SO MY QUESTION IS WHERE IS THE GOVERMENT OF COLOM DOING TO DEFEND THE INNOCENTS VICTIMS?OR ARE THEY SO FOOLISH THAT ARE SHUT UP!FOR SURE THEIR FUTURE POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS OF COLOM`S PARTY IS DOOMED TO FAIL!AS YESHUA-THE MESSIAH -TOLD US``SPOKEN WORDS ON EARTH TOLD IN SECRET WILL BE KNOWN BY ALL!AND HIS PROPHECY WAS FULLFILED!MAY ABA BLESSED THE AMERICAS.


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