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Scientists have launched two large studies to test a medical treatment that, if proven effective, could have an enormous impact on the leading cause of death in American hospitals.The treatment is aimed at sepsis, a condition in which the body’s inflammatory response rages out of control in reaction to an infection, often leading to organ damage or failure. There’s no proven cure for sepsis, which strikes well over 1 million Americans a year and kills more than 700 a day.In early 2017, Dr. Paul Marik announced that he had started using a treatment that he says was saving the lives of most of his sepsis patients. The claims were so audacious, Marik says, some doctors called it snake oil.“There obviously was enormous resistance at the beginning,” he says, “but it seems that with time, people started thinking about it and saying, ‘maybe this isn’t as outrageous as we first thought.’ ”

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