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Clinical research has a long history, with much of the early experience resulting from observations before and after a change in treatment. James Lind (1716-1794) is acknowledged as the first person to conduct a clinical trial. Lind, a pioneer of naval hygiene in the Royal Navy, developed the theory that citrus fruits cured scurvy. He argued for the health benefits of better ventilation aboard naval ships, including improved clothing and cleanliness of sailors and below-deck fumigation with sulphur and arsenic. He also proposed that fresh water could be obtained by distilling seawater. Lind influenced practices of preventive medicine and good nutrition among Scottish soldiers.

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Page Last Updated: February 2011
Content Manager: ClinicalResearchPolicyManager@nhlbi.nih.gov

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