Louis Lasagna

We here at the BoFN love alliteration and names so delicious we can sink our teeth into them. We also know that schoolyard kids can be cruel, and that a funny name can cause a person to develop a special set of skills at an early age. Which is why we have the Nominative Determinism Theory of funny names. “. . . people with awesome names end up accomplishing awesome things!”

So let’s dive into today’s subject, fabulously named Louis Lasagna, known as Lou to his friends. You may not be familiar with Dr. Lasagna, but he is responsible for a number of advances in the way we look at medicine today.

Photo courtesy of the Lasagna Family.

Lasagna was born in Queens, New York, in 1923 and raised in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He was destined for great things. His resume reads like a who’s who of prestigious universities. Drum roll please . . .

He graduated from Rutgers University in 1943 then moved onto Columbia University for his medical degree. His next move involved a clinical research fellowship at Harvard Medical School researching anesthesia. By 1954, he joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins University and created the first ever clinical pharmacology department.

It was his testimony in 1962 which lead to the biggest single advancement of medical therapy of all time, specifying the criteria to prove a drug’s effectiveness and safety which was written into law. It was the first law of its kind and several other countries followed suit soon after.

But wait there’s more. He taught both pharmacology and medicine at Johns Hopkins until 1970 when he took a position at the University of Rochester’s School of Medicine and Dentistry. While there he founded the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development. In 1984 the center was moved to Tufts University and Dr. Lasagna with it. It was at Tufts he became the dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences. No clue if the school was named after a family member of our esteemed fellow blogger, Mark Sackler. Mark any input on that?

Getting back to Dr. Lasagna, he is best know for rewriting the Modern Physician’s Oath (The Lasagna Oath). If you want to compare it to the Hippocratic Oath.

Lasagna had a wonderful sense of humor. While living in Rochester he wrote, directed and starred in the “Mighty Lasagna Players” an annual theater production put on by the University of Rochester, Department of Pharmacology Medical and Toxicology faculty and students.

But his career didn’t stop there, he played a large role in creating controlled clinical trials and the placebo effect. His work was key to the improvement of controlled clinical trials for drug effectiveness and he helped improve the regulations on drugs with regard to their effectiveness and safety. He even headed several Federal commissions on drug approval.

Throughout his fifty-year career, he lectured extensively on a variety of topics he wrote about using his simple eloquence, his humanity, and his sense of humor.

Dr. Lasagna passed in August 6, 2003 from lymphoma.

The next time you have lasagna for dinner, toast the man who gave so much to our more holistic and compassionate approach to medicine today.

Tracy – Fannie Cranium’s Guide to Irreverent Wisdom

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Please consider supporting our founder, Dave, in his battle with brain cancer while he continues medical school to become a neurologist and help others battle the very thing he’s fighting.






About Fannie Cranium

Writing since she could first hold a pen, Tracy Perkins formed her alter ego, "Fannie Cranium" at the suggestion of her husband. Tracy understands smiling makes people wonder what she’s been up to.
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10 Responses to Louis Lasagna

  1. Hi Please Follow my blog. I need Followers. My blog is at http://www.lokesweekiong59blog.wordpress.com

  2. ksbeth says:

    i love all things lasagna, and know i would have love louis, too –

  3. Reblogged this on Fannie Cranium's and commented:

    Did you know that the Doctor’s Hippocratic Oath was replaced by the Lasagne Oath? Meet Louis Lasagne at the Blog of Funny Names.

  4. kerbey says:

    Goodness, he didn’t just leave a small legacy; he left a large legacy of Lasagna. All those things that impact us today. Now every time I take a Rx and it doesn’t work and I complain that it was probably a placebo, I’ll think of him and clinical trials. Plus, we have lasagna each week, so I’ll be reminded of Louis. Good one, Fannie!

  5. Elyse says:

    I was actually working on a paper on the issue of drug side effects when I took a break to look at a couple of blogs. And there, on yours, was a name out of the very paper I was working on!

    My boss worked with Dr. Lasagna for many years, and thought very highly of him. A genuinely good person who deserves his place in history.

    And a doctor with a very funny name!

    • Elyse–that is the coolest thing. Talk about a small world for your boss to have worked with Dr. Lasagna.

      Dr. Lasagna definitely earned his place in history and we are benefiting from his passion.

      Good luck with your paper and happy holidays! Fannie

  6. wdydfae says:

    “. . . Fannie serves up one heckuva tasty dish, with layers and layers of gooey goodness . . .”

    “. . . even better than Mom used to make . . .”

    “. . . double blind clinical trails have shown that Fannie is tops! . . .”

    • “. . . Wdyfae serves up a tasting side dish of a comment . . .”

      “. . . the king of the comment condiments . . .”

      Happy holidays! Hope you’re having fun in your neck of the world.

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