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International Birth Defects Information Systems
Thalidomide Special Issue

International Birth Defects Information Systems

Geno-Terto Eip Tome

Thalidomide Special Edition: Introduction

by W.Wertelecki
Child of Thalidomide by Dr. Josef Warkany
Child of Thalidomide
Etching by Dr. J. Warkany

Thalidomide, in the classic work "Congenital Malformations - Notes and Comments", is in a manner of speaking, a catalyst used by Dr. Josef Warkany to express his views of the role of human teratology in medicine and health.  "Little is known about the normal and abnormal mechanisms that are interposed between conception and birth ... the phenotypes of embryo, fetus and child are the result of continual interaction(s) ... many attempts have been  made ... to study differentiation from the zygote toward the embryo ... other investigations deal with development in the opposite direction ... starting with an abnormal character present at birth, the anomaly ... can be traced back to a period during which its abnormal development first becomes discernible ... ... the latter method ... can contribute to an understanding of certain gene effects ... 
Dr. Josef Warkany
J. Warkany, Mobile,
Alabama, 1990
even lead to prevention of genetically determined anomalies ... (as was shown) in mice with an inherited ataxia that could be rectified ... by treatment of the mother during pregnancy with manganese...". "Studies of interaction between genetic and environmental factors in teratogenesis are of importance because combinations of such factors play a significant role in the etiology of human congenital malformations".
"The surprising feature of thalidomide is that this drug, which appeared completely harmless ... had deleterious effects in minimal doses in prenatal life ... also unusual is that the primate embryo, so extensively used in previous teratologic experiments proved extremely resistant to thalidomide."

More on Dr. J. Warkany

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