The author traces the history of appendicitis through the successive stages of its evolution--from the early anatomic descriptions of the appendix by Leonardo da Vinci and Vesalius to Louyer-Villermay's recognition of the fatal course that appendiceal inflammation may take; through the confusion of typhlitis and perityphlitis, until Reginald Fitz at the end of the last century classified its pathology and the disease appendicitis was born. The author has described the efforts of the early surgeons as they grew to understand the symptomatology of appendicitis and to realize that only by early operation could the tragic outcome of delay be averted. Credit is given to those whose contributions have advanced the frontiers of surgery-- Lawson Tait was the first to diagnose and remove a diseased appendix in 1880 in England and Abraham Groves the first on the North American continent, in 1883, in Ontario. Within a decade, the early surgical treatment of appendicitis became established. The writings of men like Charles McBurney and John B. Murphy are shown to be as pertinent today as they were at the turn of the century.
The purpose of this study was to find out if cryostorage of human semen affects the sex ratio of births resulting from artificial insemination (AI). A survey of the available literature over the last 10-15 years was undertaken. The sex ratio of 3950 births after AI with frozen semen was compared to that of 3086 births resulting from AI with fresh semen and to the total number of births in Iceland during the 10 year period 1972 to 1981, 44.623 births. The normal predominance slightly decreased in births resulting from AI, both with fresh and frozen semen, 50.4% for AI with fresh semen and 49.8% with frozen semen. The difference between the two types of AI in sex ratio is not significant statistically but the two types of AI combined give a probably significant reduction of the sex ratio (P less than 0.05), compared to the general population. It is concluded that cryostorage of semen has not been found to affect the sex ratio at birth but the practice of AI during the last decade might in some way cause a slight reduction of the secondary sex ratio.
We analyzed published data from 1980-85 on maternal age specific rates of Down syndrome in nineteen malformation monitoring systems. In the comparisons, we used maternal age specific Down syndrome baseline rates collected in Sweden using multiple sources and from a period before intense prenatal diagnosis. We supposed that no real maternal age specific risk difference exists between different populations, and that ascertainment of cases is independent of maternal age. With these suppositions, most programs had an ascertainment level of 70-90%, and some had about the same but none had a higher ascertainment level than that in the Swedish baseline. Marked differences in maternal age distribution in the populations studied resulted in a 12.3% standard deviation of the average population Down syndrome rate. The highest theoretical rate (estimated from actual maternal age distribution and Swedish baselines) was found in Spain (20% above average), the lowest in Czechoslovakia (24% below average). The estimated average effect of prenatal diagnosis was a decrease of only 6%, but in Denmark it was 25% and in Sweden and France:Paris 13%.
The birthweights of 664 Hindu and 132 Moslem babies were compared with those of 486 European babies born at the same hospital. The mean birthweight of the Europeans was 3362 g, compared with 3146 g for the Moslems and 2960 g for the Hindus. The Asian women were smaller than the European and tended to have a shorter length of gestation. Forty-four per cent of the Asians and 46% of the European mothers were of social classes I and II; 28% of the Europeans and 2% of the Asians smoked. There were no significant differences between Asians and Europeans in the effects of maternal size, parity, gestational age and fetal sex on birthweight. After adjustment for these variables and for cigarette smoking there was no significant difference in birthweight between the Moslems and the Europeans, but the mean birthweight of the Hindus was about 190 g lighter than that of the Europeans. Hindus from East Africa had lighter babies than those from India.