Archie Cochrane file photo [13486]

Archibald Cochrane

Given NameArchibald
Born12 Jan 1909
Died18 Jun 1988
CountryUnited Kingdom


ww2dbaseArchibald Leman "Archie" Cochrane was born in Kirklands, Galashiels, Scotland, United Kingdom. In 1917, his father was killed in Gaza, Palestine during WW1. Between 1922 and 1927, he studied at the Uppingham School in Rutland, England, United Kingdom. Between 1927 and 1930, he studied at King's College in Cambridge, England. In 1931, he did some research on tissue culture under N. Wilmerat at Strangeways Laboratory in Cambridge. Between 1931 and 1934, he studied psychoanalysis in Berlin in Germany, Vienna in Austria, and the Hague in the Netherlands under Theodor Reik (who was Jewish and had to relocate out of Berlin as the Nazi regime gained influence). Between 1934 and 1936, he studied medicine at University College Hospital, London, England. Later in the same year, he joined the Medical Research Council's Pneumoconiosis Unit at Llandough Hospital in Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom and pioneered the use of randomized controlled trials to help medical professional make informed decisions. During the Spanish Civil War, he served as a member of the British Ambulance Unit in the International Brigades. During WW2, at the rank of captain, he served as a medical officer of the Royal Army Medical Corps. In Jun 1941, while in action in Crete, Greece, he was captured by the Germans. While in captivity, he continued to serve his function as a medical officer in prisoner of war camps at Salonika in Greece and in Hildburghausen, Elsterhorst, and Wittenberg an der Elbe in Germany; because of his rudimentary understanding of the German language, he also performed some translator duties while at the camps. As a camp doctor, he treated many prisoners of war of various nationalities who had tuberculosis and other diseases; it was around this time he performed his first trial, conducting a non-random trial involving 20 prisoners to convince the Germans that a yeast supplement in the diet would help alleviate the edema problem. He also served as a chaplain at the camps, and learned rites of various religions in this function. After the war, he studied the epidemiology of tuberculosis at the Henry Phipps Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States between 1947 and 1948. Returning to Wales in 1948, he joined the Medical Research Council Pneumoconiosis Research Unit in Penarth. In 1960, he was appointed David Davies Professor of Tuberculosis and Chest Diseases at the Welsh National School of Medicine in Cardiff, and would hold this position until 1969. Also starting in 1960, he was named the director of the Medical Research Council Epidemiology Research Unit in Cardiff; he would hold this position until 1974. In 1972, he published "Effectiveness and Efficiency - Random Reflections on Health Services"; this less-than-100-pages monograph ultimately led to the development of the Cochrane Library database of systematic reviews, the establishment of the United Kingdom Cochrane Centre in Oxford in England (1992), and the international Cochrane Collaboration (1993). Between 1974 and 1986, he completed 20-year and 30-year follow-up studies of Welsh mining communities. He passed away in 1988.

The Cochrane Collaboration
National Institutes of Health of United States Department of Health and Human Services

Last Major Revision: Oct 2011

Archibald Cochrane Timeline

12 Jan 1909 Archibald Cochrane was born in Kirklands, Galashiels, Scotland, United Kingdom.
18 Jun 1988 Archibald Cochrane passed away.

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