Polio Place

A service of Post-Polio Health International


The number of movies, videos and radio clips with content related to polio in the early days is limited.

Due to advances in technology, the number of multi-media sources for polio and post-polio is constantly increasing.

This section describes what is available and, when possible, links to the content.

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Sunshine Coast Post-Polio Support Group

A brief report from Australia's Channel Seven News on the Sunshine Coast Post-Polio Support Group as they celebrated thier 20th anniversary in 2011.  Members discuss the late effects of polio and the need for recognition and assistance from the government.

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Syndrome can attack polio survivors years later

This 2016 broadcast was produced by Upstate Medical University for their HealthLink on Air radio show. Summary: Polio epidemics are a thing of the past in the U.S., wiped out since the 1950s by vaccines. But some survivors of those epidemics are stricken decades later by post-polio syndrome, which brings back the weakness and pain they battled in their youth.

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Teens recruit Elvis in the fight against Polio

In this film, released in World Immunization Week (April 24-30, 2016), University of Cambridge historian Dr Stephen Mawdsley describes how the vaccine’s success was threatened in the USA by ‘vaccine hesitancy.’ In 1957, as many as 30% of people still had no inoculations, and a third of all new cases were in teens.

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The Iron Lung

From the Rose Melnick Medical Museum at Youngstown State University, this 2011 video demonstrates an Emerson negative pressure ventilator from the early 1960s and briefly discusses some of the history regarding iron lungs.

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The Last Child: The Global Race to End Polio

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The Polio Crusade

From WGBH American Experience video series is this 2009 film, a one-hour documentary from filmmaker Sarah Colt that looks back at the 1950s--when the disease was ravaging young lives--and chronicles the Salk and Sabin quest to create a vaccine. Based in part on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky, the film interweaves intimate personal accounts of polio survivors, historians, authors and journalists with the stories of the ardent crusaders and scientists who raced to eradicate the dreaded disease.

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The Role of Exercise in Post Polio Syndrome: Limbs, Speech and Swallowing

This 2014 podcast from Mary Spremulli, CCC-SLP examines the role of exercise in managing the late effects of polio, particularly in regards to new problems with breathing, swallowing or speech. Current evidence suggests that exercises are often beneficial provided that the exercise program is designed for the individual following a thorough assessment and is supervised initially by knowledgeable health professionals.

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The Shot Felt 'Round The World

This 2010 documentary, directed by Tjardus Greidanus and produced by Steeltown Entertainment Project, chronicles the development of the polio vaccine by Dr. Jonas Salk.

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Unconditional Surrender

This 1956 film presented by the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis focuses on the development and production of the polio vaccine by Eli Lilly. From the Prelinger Archives at the Library of Congress.

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Update on PHI-funded Research - Antonio Toniolo, MD

Antonio Toniolo, MD, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy, investigated polio survivors diagnosed with PPS, their family members, and control individuals. The three poliovirus types were searched for in blood leukocytes, cerebrospinal fluid, and other tissue samples. 86% PPS patients were poliovirus-positive vs. 3.7% of controls. Type 1 poliovirus was most prevalent. Results suggest that slow-acting poliovirus can persist in PPS patients. Data show that poliovirus is not transmitted to family members of PPS patients, a finding of obvious interest.

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