Cover image for Guinea pig zero : an anthology of the journal for human research subjects
Guinea pig zero : an anthology of the journal for human research subjects
Helms, Robert.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New Orleans, LA : Garrett County Press, 2002.
Physical Description:
ix, 245 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
R853.H8 H45 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



This book examines the medical human research industry from the point of view of the researched. Written by human test research subjects (also known as 'guinea pigs'), the book includes stories about flipping out on Prozac, sleep deprivation and gene therapy. Besides rating test clinics and providing practical advice to fellow human guinea pigs, Helms investigates the history of human test research and provides some illuminating commentary on the goals and motives behind the biomedical enterprise.

Author Notes

Robert Helms has been volunteering the use of his healthy body for medical experiments since 1995. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Guinea Pig Zero is a journal for and by subjects of medical testing. Editor and leading contributor Helms, who used to use Guinea Pig Zero as a pseudonym, sorts these selections into three categories. "Research Unit Report Cards" mainly profiles facilities and outlines studies, relaying the basics--who is doing what and where, the substances subjects ingest for the studies, how much a subject is paid--that human guinea pigs want to know. Some report cards include letter grades, and all name names as appropriate. Helms proudly lists lawsuits filed against GPZ for its forthright evaluations. The articles in "The Treadmill of History" consider such subjects as Alexis St. Martin, who parlayed a fortuitous gunshot wound into a guinea-pig career in the early nineteenth century. The third category is "Literature," including essays, fiction, and poetry about the human guinea pig's world. Spirited writing and quite interesting subject matter distinguish this book that can't help but broaden the scope of just about any collection. Mike Tribby

Publisher's Weekly Review

In 1996, freelance lab rat and activist Robert Helms, under the nom de plume Guinea Pig Zero, began to publish a zine with the same name; in Guinea Pig Zero: An Anthology of the Journal for Human Research Subjects, he gathers together a few dozen contributions (many of which he penned) exploring "this dark little corner of modern science from the subject's own viewpoint." From Donno's tale of going bonkers in a sleep-deprivation study, to Beth Lavoie's discussion of the various poisons to which soldiers in the Gulf War were exposed, to Helms's history of a 1935 test subject strike, these are strange and frightening stories that may make our trust in the medical establishment seem nave. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved