Harvard Medicine

More... Share to Twitter Share to Facebook

Paul Dudley White on exercise; games for, and about, doctors

THERAPEUTIC GAMBIT: This chess set was carved by Zabdiel Boylston Adams, Class of 1853, and fellow prisoner Fred Guyer during their internment at Libby Prison and their convalescence in a hospital in Lynchburg, Virginia. Both were captains in the Union army, and were injured and captured at the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864.<br/>Courtesy of the Warren Anatomical Museum at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. Photo: John Soares

When Paul Dudley White, Class of 1911, was called in to consult on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s medical condition after the president’s heart attack, he recommended something that was not, in 1955, the standard of care: exercise.
FUN AND GAMES: The Infants Hospital Puzzle was distributed in 1920. Gift of William H. Helfand, Jr., to the Harvard Medical Library. Photo: John Soares

White knew his business when it came to preventing cardiac disease and caring for heart patients. He began his career at Massachusetts General Hospital in the early 1900s, when cardiology was in its infancy. He was one of the founders of the American Heart Association; he authored Heart Disease, the seminal text for the discipline; and, as early as the 1920s, he spoke and wrote about the health benefits of physical activity. His contributions to the field led to White’s being regarded as the father of cardiology.

White was an early and strong believer in preventing disease by promoting what is now widely accepted medical advice: eat and drink alcohol in moderation, eschew cigarette smoking, and exercise daily. White himself was an avid cyclist whose legacy includes the Dr. Paul Dudley White Bike Path, a 17-mile loop around the Charles River in Boston.
 ANGEL FACE: A death mask taken of Maurice Tillet, a professional wrestler of the late 1930s to early 1950s, who was known as “The French Angel.” Tillet was remarkable for his large head and oversized facial features, symptoms of the hormone disorder acromegaly.<br/>Gift of Rosanna Meunier Leonard, Patrick J. Leonard, Sr., Patrick J. Leonard, Jr., and Mary K. Leonard of Braintree, Massachusetts, to the Warren Anatomical Museum. Photo: John Soares


Add new comment


Winter/Spring 2014



A video preview

of the latest issue of Harvard Medicine magazine