Medicine: Happy Accident

As a boy, Thrace-born Alexander Symeonidis wanted to study art. When his family went broke, he studied medicine instead, because it promised to pay more. A former professor of pathology at the University of Athens, and now a pathologist at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Md., he gets artistic satisfaction in turning out carefully stained slides, which he excitedly refers to as "beautiful."

Last week Dr. Symeonidis, 39, had something special to get excited about. The National Cancer Institute announced that he had found a clue to the cause of eclampsia, a disease occurring in pregnancy that causes one-fifth of all...

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