Medicine: Cordless Speech

Every year 2,000 Americans have their larynxes removed because of cancer and have to learn to talk all over again. A few do it with the aid of mechanical devices; more than half do it by learning painstakingly to swallow air and belch it back to vibrate their gullet muscles rather than their missing vocal cords. But 40% of patients give up in despair, never learn to utter much more than grunts.

Last week Surgeon John J. Conley of Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and St. Vincent's Hospital in Manhattan told the James Ewing Society (of cancer researchers) of an added operation that...

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