Altman, Lawrence K. "Researcher Says Drug Aids Victims of Paralysis," New York Times, 3
September 1982, p. A10.
Here is the initial report in the newspaper of the article in Science. It is a "gee whiz" article
which Science printed and reporters are re-reporting to the general public. This is one of the
major problems with such claims: people will check on breakthroughs. Anyhow, wise or not, Dr.
Eric Naftchi, a long time employee of the Rusk Institute, has claimed the "find of the century"
with a new drug, clonidine. He reports that work on cats and on some 30 human being with
spinal cord injury reveals that clonidine repairs the spinal cord.
For the most part, this article highlights the claims made by the Institute biochemist. Not only
does it report the claims but also, as one might expect, it provides its justification in terms of the
certification of Dr. Naftchi: he is here described as having been on the staff since 1968, and "a
specialist in rehabilitation medicine." It is not until the claims were questioned that he is reduced
to a "biochemist." There is some suggestion that there may be something wrong or, better, that
everything may not be right with his report. The article also reports some differences of opinion
among experts on the qualities of the drug.