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KU medical pioneer to be honored in Boston

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¢ A KU graduate who developed a key test for syphilis in the 1920s will be honored by the Boston History & Innovation Collaborative next month. Dr. William Augustus Hinton entered KU's premedical program at KU when he was 16.When Dr. William Augustus Hinton developed his test for syphilis in 1927, the disease was on the rise in the United States. Much like AIDS in the 1980s, it was a scourge to be feared, sometimes resulting in blindness, heart disease, paralysis, and madness. Poor, black communities were struck particularly hard.The Hinton test was more accurate and less expensive than its predecessors, and it spared untold numbers from long, painful, and risky courses of treatment. The test was endorsed by the US Public Health Service and adopted by hospitals around the country. Yet Hinton kept a low profile, refusing an award on at least one occasion and opting not to attend meetings of the American Microbiological Association, of which he was a member."He didn't want notoriety," said his grandson, Charles Jones. A modest man, Hinton was black, and he feared that his peers would take his work less seriously if they knew.

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