Medicine: Capsules, Aug. 25, 1980


During the 1940s and 1950s as many as 4 million women took the synthetic hormone DES (diethylstilbestrol) to prevent miscarriages. But by 1971 doctors had unequivocal evidence that the drug produced worrisome cervical abnormalities in the women's female children. Now, after a five-year study of DES daughters, a team at Boston's Beth Israel Hospital has encouraging news: two types of DES-linked cervical lesions in these offspring apparently disappear in time and do not seem to be precancerous.

Beth Israel researchers observed 178 DES daughters, some of them from puberty. Initially, 121 had cervical ectopy, a condition in which misplaced...

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