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08 Oct

Instead they were told they had “bad blood” and given placebos, even after the disease became treatable with penicillin in the 1940s.

Five of the study’s eight surviving participants were present when Clinton made his 1997 apology on behalf of the American people during a ceremony at the White House.

Even when 250 of the men were drafted for service in the Second World War, strings were pulled to ensure that they remained part of the study instead.

There they were given hot meals and free medical treatment for minor ailments.

Any treatments they thought they were also getting for their ‘bad blood’ were actually placebos, aspirin or mineral supplements.

The work from Marcella Alsan at the Stanford Medical School and Marianne Wanamaker at the University of Tennessee provides evidence for a strong claim: that by 1980, the public revelation of the Tuskegee Study in 1972 had reduced life expectancy among black men over 45 by over a year.

The study provides causal evidence in a body of research that stretches back decade, and it is a major revelation.