Medicine: The Bones of History

For doctors who never tire of arguing about the age and origin of diseases, a Washington orthopedist rattled some old bones last week. Exhibited to the District of Columbia Medical Society was a collection of human bones culled with care from the Smithsonian Institution's vast collection by Orthopedist William J. Tobin. Beside each bone was an X-ray diagnosis of what ailed the long-dead patient.

Most striking was Dr. Tobin's evidence on the disputed question of whether American Indians, long before Columbus launched a transatlantic traffic in diseases, suffered from syphilis and tuberculosis. Two...

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