Medicine: The Cow-Lung Concoction

It may save "preemies" from early death

When John and Jacqueline Kennedy lost their newborn son Patrick in 1963, most Americans had never heard of the disorder that took the life of the President's child: hyaline membrane disease (HMD). In fact, the major cause of HMD had been discovered only four years before by a Harvard research team. The disorder is largely confined to prematurely born infants; in the U.S. it strikes 20,000 "preemies" annually, and, despite improved treatment, still kills more than 3,000 of them.

Hyaline membrane disease occurs because the infant's lungs do not produce enough of a vital substance: pulmonary...

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