Medicine: Mice, Men & Mongolism

Twice in every 1,000 births, some unhappy mother finds that she has borne a child suffering from an affliction which has been misnamed "Mongolian idiocy." In the 85 years since mongolism was defined, authorities have disagreed widely as to its cause. No speculation seemed too absurd. Mongolism, said some, looking at the slanted eyes of its victims, was racial evidence of "the Mongol in our midst." Others, more responsible, argued that it was caused by "advanced maternal age," exhaustion of the womb, ovarian disorders, an upset gland (any gland would do) or, finally,...

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