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He is tied for third in the overall world rankings and could earn a spot on the United States team for the Beijing Olympics by finishing seventh or better. If he wins, he will secure his place at the Games in August. He thanked his father for teaching him that. Davis Phinney is in England for the championships, nine days before he is scheduled to have a brain operation to ease the symptoms of his disease.

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He could have had the operation sooner, but he wanted to watch his son and allow him to race with a clear mind. It Is in the Genes. His father remains the leader in race victories by an American, with more than He was the first American to win a road stage of the Tour de France. At the Olympics, he won a bronze medal in the team time trial. At the University of California, she became a national champion in rowing.

Carpenter, 51, likes to say that she went fast — as a speedskater, a rower and a cyclist — because her mother could not.

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Her mother, Darcy Carpenter, battled multiple sclerosis while raising four children. She died at My gosh, you are the one who is extraordinary. She sees that same brilliance in her husband, whom she coaxes out of the house for a hike or bike ride, even when he feels miserable. She drives her year-old daughter, Kelsey, to Nordic ski practice, then rushes home to cook.

The high doses of medication he needs to get through those talks cause side effects, like the involuntary swaying of his head. But he endures. On a trip to the Tour de France, Taylor, then 15, fell in love with the family business.

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His first bike race was in Last year, he won the time trials at the junior road world championships. In October, a month after riding on a velodrome for the first time, he won the United States elite track nationals. Excluding Taylor, the average age for the top dozen riders in the individual pursuit is Surrounded by others with experience, he indeed draws motivation from his father. It makes me feel good for him to see my results, because I enjoy making him a little happier than he would be every day.

Davis Phinney always felt invincible. But in his 30s, his left leg began to cramp and tingle. His left foot would go numb or drag. He was often exhausted and had difficulty concentrating. Doctors suggested that his symptoms could be a result of a bike crash in , when he flew through the window of a team car.

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Or it could be a brain tumor. About 1. Davis Phinney was among the few.

Here was a handsome, outgoing pitchman for cycling in the United States who had to quit his job as a TV announcer for bike races because he could no longer hold a microphone. He was facing a disease that would steal his independence. His son was 9, his daughter 6. Phinney had no place to hide. In public, people sometimes thought he was drunk because he moved slowly and slurred his words.

At home, he felt uncomfortable, his body turning rigid as if locked in a suit of armor and his left hand shaking so violently that he often sat on it to keep it still. In , the family decided to start over, trading life in Colorado, in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, for one in Italy, in the foothills of the Dolomites.

View all New York Times newsletters. They relied on their Carpenter-Phinney bike camps to pay the bills as they settled into a house in Marostica, Italy, a medieval town with cherry trees, green hills and vineyards.

By Peter Foy

There, the family worked together to help Phinney manage his disease. In Britain, a tremendous demand for more hospitals was created, and for the first time a hospital devoted solely to treatment of the eye, the Royal Infirmary for the Diseases of the Eye in Cork Street , was opened in Black But it was not just the nature of the epidemic itself in fact this was not a new disease, as there had been earlier epidemics among civilian populations , but the political and nationalist energies stirred by it that led to new interest in diseases of the eye and a new respect for practitioners who began to specialize in this field.

King George the III backed the first eye hospital, and between and , many new ophthalmic hospitals were founded not only in London but in Dublin and Edinburgh Davidson This imperative financial fact fueled intense attention to the possible causes as well as treatment of eye diseases and prevention of blindness. Both newborn and adult infections of the eye were later recognized as also caused by trachoma, a disease that can be spread either through sexual contact or contact with infected hands, towels, etc.

But even the anatomical features of diseases of the eye had not been much studied before the epidemic. Meanwhile, the moral implications of what came to be recognized as a venereal epidemic presented a conundrum: should blindness, traditionally romanticized and identified with poetic insight, instead be seen as morally just punishment for sexual sin? As more British surgeons began to specialize in diseases of the eye ophthalmology remained a largely surgical specialty until after the mid-nineteenth century , it became desirable to promote the primary importance of the eye, and thereby the professional prestige of those who devoted their practice to its care and treatment.

Blindness, in turn, was represented as the most pitiable of all afflictions. Lawrence had not only praised French science but drawn unfavorable comparisons between the research facilities supported by the post-Revolutionary government and the severely limited support for research in Britain Jacyna. Other surgeons who specialized in treatment of the eye also eulogized the eye and in the process elevated the treatment of blindness to a high moral enterprise.

Although reviewers often attacked such sentiment, the early textbooks on diseases and treatment of the eye undoubtedly promoted both the authority of specialists and literary discourse that represented vision as the primary sense. Hearing, or the loss of hearing, by contrast, though first taken up as literary subject during the Victorian era, was still represented as an eccentric topic, as opposed to the universal interest assumed for vision and blindness [Carpenter ].

In a German, Hermann von Helmholtz , invented the instrument which was to transform the practice of ophthalmology—the ophthalmoscope. Helmholtz, though trained as a physician in the Royal Friedrich-Wilhelm Institute for Medicine and Surgery in Berlin , was primarily interested in physics, especially the science of optics.

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He did not regard himself as the inventor of the ophthalmoscope, saying to his father that the idea of the instrument was so obvious, it did not require any more knowledge than what he had learned about optics in high school. But Albrecht von Graefe , later to become well-known as the inventor of a new operation for the treatment of acute glaucoma, immediately recognized the revolutionary significance of this new instrument:.

The new instrument allowed the examiner to see inside the living eye for the first time in history.


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The new instrument was demonstrated at the First International Ophthalmological Exhibition, which was held in London in and attended by ophthalmologists from all over Europe. With the ophthalmoscope, British physicians for after the Medical Act of , practitioners were increasingly qualified in both medicine and surgery were able to detect not only diseases of the eye, but indications of illness elsewhere in the body, such as hypertension not otherwise able to be diagnosed until the invention of the syphgmomanometer in , diabetes, heart disease and brain tumors.

In time, they were also able to measure precisely the refractive errors of the eye with the ophthalmoscope and to prescribe spectacles with lenses ground to correct those specific errors, rather than prescribing lenses largely on the basis of the age of the patient. It was the ophthalmoscope that allowed von Graefe to invent the new surgical procedure known as iridectomy, or removal of a part of the iris in order to enhance drainage of excess fluid from the eye and thus lower intraocular eye pressure in the treatment of acute glaucoma.

But British ophthalmologists did not necessarily rush to learn how to use the ophthalmoscope. For the last few years, he stated, every parent bringing an infant suffering from ophthalmia neonatorum to the Sheffield General Infirmary had been presented with a card that read:. Delay is dangerous, and one or both eyes may be destroyed it not treated immediately. Snell The words in italics were printed in red to emphasize the gravity of the disease. The now established profession of ophthalmology in Britain still lagged behind that profession on the Continent. Sally Mitchell, is a cultural history of medicine intended for the general reader as well as for faculty and students of Victorian literature and history.


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