December 10, 2005


Ever wondered what it would be like to win a Nobel Prize?

According to one half of Australia’s latest Nobel Prize for Medicine winning duo, Barry Marshall, it’s great fun to join the illustrious gallery of laureates.

“You can’t imagine how terrific it is, you can dream about the Nobel prize all your life, but you can’t imagine how much fun it is to actually have it.”

Marshall won the prize, together with fellow Australian Robin Warren (both pictured), for pioneering research into stomach ulcers, proving they are caused by bacteria and therefore treatable with antibiotics. Of course, no-one believed them.

So now we know: being tenacious and clever can have a really, really, fun ending. That’s pretty cool.


  1. Science should win out regardless of politics. If their studies are backed up by real sciece, then so be it. I can't stand non-scientists making policy for the rest of the population.

  2. You would think that finding a safe, quick and really cheap cure for stomach ulcers –having first discovered the real cause – would be relatively mundane and non-controversial, and eagerly accepted by professionals and the public. After all, stomach ulcers were never a mega source of revenue for the pharmaceutical companies, and it’s hardly what you would call a sexy disease, and yet these guys had to fight for a couple of decades to have their findings, and the cheap & easy cure, accepted by the scientific and medical communities.

    It does beg the question of how much good and sensible science is being done out there, which never sees the light of day, while all the shonky stuff that no-one needs, but which makes companies truck loads of cash, are pushed onto the public agenda and ultimately into members of the public.

    It’s quite disturbing to contemplate.

  3. Sorry to correct you here but stomach ulcers were the cash cow for pharmaceutical companies for many years. There are a whole range of H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors that were the mainstay of treatment before Marshall gave himself an ulcer. The antibiotics are cheap and no significant source of revenue.

    You can predict what the Pharmas do. They are basically formulaic. I see it in psychiatry all the time. They choose some bossy narcissist as an 'opinion maker' and shove cash in every imaginable direction to ensure that person dominates the therapeutic zeitgeist. Keeping the relevant people happy dominates the truth on all occasions. Sad but true. Do I sound cynical yet?

    I could go on and on at the risk of aggravating my Koro.

    BTW, Caz, what do you do? Are you studying?

  4. captain - see, I didn't do my homework on previous treatments. I knew that prescriptions of some type were involved, which went on forever, but I didn't think they were particularly expensive. I also have vague memories of "everyone" being diagnosed with a "stomach ulcers", which often meant the equivalent of being diagnosed with a "slipped disk" - ie, we know your back hurts, but buggered if we know why, but now you have a diagnosis that sounds really plausible, and you can tell your boss & your friends. Stomach ulcers were much the same ilk.

    And do take it easy, your koro has already taken a battering this week.

    Study...long past my dear. I know I should copy everyone else and run out and buy myself an MBA, but buggered if I can motivate myself to do such a thing. I think I would only go back to study if it was purely for personal interest, and even then...probably a tad too cynical and arrogant to do the fawning, docile student thing again.

  5. :) I'm with you, Caz. I considered filmschool, but with the politics I'd be out on my ear within the month.

    I'm considering women's studies, or Islamic studies. Just to see what's actually being taught. And to piss them off with my soon to be made tshirt of Karl Rove.

    But, again, I can't be fussed with the politicking and backbiting.

    And I don't do fawning well, either.