Medicine: Cleft Opinion

One baby out of every 800 is born with a cleft palate. Uncorrected, the condition makes normal speech impossible. Rival schools in medicine and dentistry have long argued over the best time and the best way to perform surgery to help these handicapped children. Most orthodox surgeons favor operating at about 18 months—to prevent the development of bad speech habits and to ward off nose and throat diseases.

In the current Journal of Pediatrics, an outspoken young (33) Chicago dentist, Dr. Touro M. Graber, charges that early surgery often does more harm than good. Dr. Graber's basic argument: physicians generally have tended...

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