Lions and Medical Research | Lions Clubs Australia – We serve

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Lions and Medical Research

Posted on May 13th 2019 by in Australian Lions Foundation, Health, Media Releases, News, News

  • Lions Australia raises millions of dollars each year for medical research programs.
  • 20 May is International Clinical Trials Day.
  • Scottish doctor James Lind is considered to have conducted the first controlled clinical trial in 1747.

Lions Australia is committed to a healthier future for all Australians

Medical research aims to improve the health and well-being of every Australian.

Over many decades, many millions of dollars have been raised by Lions Clubs across Australia to support research into areas such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s Disease, childhood cancers, spinal cord injuries and many more.

By supporting medical research, we’re able to see the results eventually brought into clinical practice – and that means new treatments, prevention strategies and sometimes even a cure.

Lions Australia has helped fund the development of the cervical cancer vaccine and the cochlear implant – and our work continues today and into the future.


Lions Clubs across Australia raise millions of dollars every year for essential life-saving and life-change medical research in areas such as:

20 May – International Clinical Trials Day

James Lind’s experiment in treating scurvy with citrus. Photo | Institute of Naval Medicine

In the 18th century, it was often far more dangerous for sailors to undertake long sea voyages than the risk of of enemy action.

Scottish doctor James Lind, born in Edinburgh in 1716,  was a pioneer of naval hygiene and expert on the treatment of scurvy. On one notorious voyage in the 1740s, more than 1,300 men out of an original complement of 2,000 died due to illness.

Treatments at that point included things such as cider, sea water, a past of garlic, mustard seed and horse radish.

In 1747, while serving as surgeon on HMS Salisbury, James Lind decided to carry out an experiment to discover the cause of scurvy, the symptoms of which included loose teeth, bleeding gums and haemorrhage.

Lind selected 12 men from the ship, all suffering from scurvy, and divided them into six pairs, giving each group different additions to their basic diet.

  • a quart of cider a day
  • 25 drops of elixir of vitriol, three times a day
  • half a pint of sea-water a day
  • a nutmeg-sized paste of garlic, mustard seed, horse-radish, balsam of Peru, and gum myrrh three times a day
  • two spoonfuls of vinegar, three times a day
  • two oranges and one lemon a day

Those fed citrus fruits experienced a remarkable recovery and by the end of the six day trial were well enough to help care for the others.

While there was nothing new about his discovery – the benefits of lime juice had been known for centuries – Lind had definitively established the superiority of citrus above all other ‘remedies’.

Although the importance of James Lind’s findings on scurvy were recognised at the time, it was not until 1795, the year after Dr Lind’s death, that the Admiralty finally took advice from its own medical staff and made the issue of lemon juice compulsory on ships.

Learn more about Lions Australia’s different Foundations and how you can make a difference, too!

Find your local Lions Club.



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