Using Oneself as One's Only Experimental Subject
Lancet. 1990 Sep 29; 336(8718): 798-799.
...What is the right prescription when considering how far self-experimentation will carry you? First, well-planned science. All the effort is thrown away otherwise, and consultation with wise associates is needed. Their wisdom will have come from all they have done themselves, but especially from what they have done wrong. Second, weigh up coolly who the right subject is. There are two sides to the question; Kenneth Mellanby, describing his extensive wartime studies on scabies, wrote: "The man in charge of an experiment should be making objective observations, which he cannot do if he is also the subject of the experiment. Furthermore, he is probably too valuable to waste as a mere guinea-pig". Third, a sufficient dose of self-reliance, within its therapeutic range, to assess correctly the value and validity of the results. Too much is toxic and has indeed proved lethal; too little makes the whole prescription ineffective.
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