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The Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol. 15, 3rd Quarter 2000


Introduction of Niacin as the First Successful Treatment for Cholesterol Control: A Reminiscence


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My years of training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota began in 1950 and were interrupted by two years of active duty in the U.S. Naval Reserve, spent in San Diego from spring 1953 to spring 1955. Back in Rochester for a fourth year of training, I was serving as first assistant on the Peripheral Vascular Service at St. Mary's Hospital for the summer quarter of 1955 when a series of incredible coincidences culminated in an event that changed my life. No one had any way of knowing at the time, but it also changed millions of lives around the world.

The staff consultant on the service in August was Edgar V. Alien, a distinguished authority in the peripheral vascular field. Dr. Alien and his associates. Nelson Barker and Edgar Hines, had some years earlier written the bible of their specialty, Peripheral Vascular Diseases. Dr Alien loved to teach. More often than not, when he met me and the four second assistants on the service, he would suggest that we sit and chat for a while before starting morning rounds. We never objected, for from these informal sessions came some of the most memorable teaching of our training years.

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