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EULAR 75-year anniversary: commentaries on ARD papers from 50 years ago
  1. Johannes WJ Bijlsma
  1. Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Johannes WJ Bijlsma, Department of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht 3584 CX, The Netherlands; j.w.j.bijlsma{at}

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EULAR is celebrating its 75-year anniversary after its foundation in 1947 in Copenhagen. ARD is contributing to this celebration by presenting a series of previously published articles that highlight the development of rheumatology over these 75 years. After previously discussing some of the ARD papers from 75 years ago,1 we now discuss five selected papers published 50 years ago, in 1972.

The year 1972 is marked as a dark year in history due to terrorism entering sport with the massacre of 11 Israel Athletes by Arab Gunman at the Munich Olympics. Also, 1972 was the beginning of a big political scandal in the USA, namely the start of the Watergate Scandal. In US cities, antiwar (Vietnam) demonstrations draw 100 000 demonstrators. In Europe, a worsening of the problems between the IRA and the British government led to the loss of innocent lives at Bloody Friday. However, also a positive signal, the USA and the Soviet Union signed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty.

In hindsight for rheumatology important achievements in Medicine in 1972 were the discovery of the immunosuppressive effect of ciclosporin by a team of Sandoz in Basel, Switzerland and publication of Archie Cochrane on Effectiveness and Efficiency, an impressive plea for Evidence Based Medicine.2 The Nobel Prize 1972 in Physiology or Medicine was shared between Robert Porter and Gerald Edelman for determining the chemical structure of an antibody! Also of major relevance was the report of Benacerraf and McDevitt on their discovery of major histocompability complex related immune response genes.3 In the USA, rheumatology was formally identified in 1972 as a subspecialty of medicine, while it was already an independent specialism in a growing number of European countries.

In 1972, I was in my last years of training to become a physician, but more interested in Tropical …

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  • Handling editor Josef S Smolen

  • Contributors JWJB is the sole author of this commentary.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient and public involvement Patients and/or the public were not involved in the design, or conduct, or reporting, or dissemination plans of this research.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.