INTRODUCTIONS TO TERATOLOGY - DYSMORPHOLOGY
NOTE: Emphasis is on recognition and not on etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, therapies and prevention. SOURCES are from companion websites, mostly from Clinical Eye Openers (CEO) and Pandora Word Box, concerning images of signs, and medical terminology respectively.
The fall of Eugenics
The rise of Scientific Teratology
Medical Teratology is the newest formal medical discipline. The credit for its emergence largely accrues to Josef Warkany – the adage “rarely so many owe so much to one man” applies. His investigations showed that the unborn can be damaged by environmental factors now called teratogens.*
Warkany’s started his investigations in an era when a perverse dogma held that “birth defects” inherently represented genetic flaws of the victims and their parents. The dogma captured worldwide attention and creation of a plethora of influential “Eugenics Societies”. Some politicians, Adolf Hitler in particular, expanded eugenics to include euthanasia. Warkany’s scientific discoveries combined with his courageous and persistent public advocacy led to the demise of the eugenics dogma and the creation of Modern Scientific Teratology societies in the US, Europe, and Japan. Furthermore, today new medications can be sold unless proven to be safe for the unborn.
(*) “Reproductive Toxicology” represents a related most recent companion discipline with distinct perspectives
It is beyond dispute that most developmental disorders result for a combination of impacts and mechanisms of genetic and environmental nature. While genetic societies no longer advocate eugenics as their mission, their evolution has modest links with scientific teratology societies.
W. Wertelecki, M.D.