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March 25, 1956 - Image 10

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Michigan Daily, 1956-03-25
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I I I 1 -11 1 A I I I I I I I I I

Page Two


Sunday, Mardi 25, 1956

Sunday, February 26, 1956



Sound Factual Information
For People with a Problem
Michigan's Heredity Clinic-Pioneering in Research &




A Critical-But Appreciative View







FIRST child may have
born with a harelip.

An uncle may have experienced
complete m e n t a l deterioration
during hi's thirties.
A sister may have given birth
to a Mongolian idiot.
Whatever the specific reason,
thousands of couples every year
are wondering: what are the risks
in having children?
The University's Heredity Clinic
specializes in answering such
questions. Last year it gave hun-
dreds of anxious couples scientific
information to help thnm plan
their families on the basis of facts,
not superstition and rumor.
"WHEN A child is born with a
congenital abnormality," Dr.
James V. Neel, who is in charge
of the Clinic, explains, "some
people feel the next child is cer-
tain to be doomed. Others feel
the abnormality is 'out of the
parents' systems and there is no
more danger."
Neither attitude is correct. Some
defects believed to be inherited
may prove the result of accidental
environmental factors. Few actual
hereditary characteristics are ab-

solutely certain to be transmitted
to a given child.
On the other hand the heredi-
tary makeup of the second child
is derived from the same parental
stock as that of the first. The odds
for or againsta specific heredi-
tary characteristic being trans-
mitted are the same for all child-
ren of the same parents.
Given the identical odds, one
birth does not influence the char-
acteristics of the next, just as one
flip of a coin in no way influences
the next.
MANY COUPLES come to the
Clinic wondering about a de-
fect believed to be hereditary
which has occurred in the family
The Clinic is often able to give
them a fairly accurate answer-
even if they have had no previous
children-to the important ques-
tion: what are the odds?
A typical case, with details
changed to preserve anonymity,
shows how that answer is often
sufficient for an informed solu-
tion to the problem:
A young woman, call her Mary
Smith, came to the Clinic with
this story: two older brothers had
developed a wasting disease of

their leg muscles and were now
invalids. She was contemplating
marriage and 'Was worried not
only for herself but for her pos-
sible children.

A thorough medical examina-
tion was conducted at University
Hospital's Outpatient Clinic, where
the heredity organization has
space. Mary seemed entirely

DR. JAMES V. NEEL ... to Japan and Africa for
a better look at the gene

Phone O -5604
214 So. Fourth Ave.

OPEN DAILY 9 A.M. TO 5:30 P.M. -MONDAY 9 A.M. TO 9 P.M.

Don't Miss these outstanding
Regular 2.98
Choice of white or colored. Large selection of
pink. Stock up now at this terrific price. Com-
pare with nationally advertised brands at 3.95.
REG. $1.50
Pure Silk
Neckties 2~1.50
Mens Dress
Trousers 7
All the new spring shades and styles. These trousers would
usually sell for 9.95. Only a special. purchase made this
low low price possible.4


I... I

sound. But to answer her question
it was necessary to go into the
family history minutely.
W HEN POSSIBLE, the Clinic
W ascertains family histories by
correspondence. In this case it
seemed more desirable to send one
of the Clinic's two trained social
workers into the field to inter-
view members of the family
Some recalled a similar diffi-
culty in Mary's maternal grand-
father, who had died at an early
age, and medical records confirm-
ed that he had also suffered from
the disease.
The evidence added up to the
fact that the defect Mary was
concerned over was "sex-linked,"
so-named because it is carried on
the "X" chromosome, one of the
two which determine a baby's sex.
Such characteristics are trans-
mitted by both men and women,
but usually only manifest them-
selves in male carriers.
Mary was told, therefore, that
she was in little danger of de-
veloping the disease herself. How-
ever, the odds were even that she
was a carrier, since her mother
had been one and transmitted the
defect to her brothers.
If Mary was a carrier, half her
sons might be afflicted. On the
basis of this information, Mary
and her fiance decided to adopt
children. Their two adopted sons
are healthy and normal.
its work against a formidable
background. Dr. Neel gives "a
very rough estimate" that between
one and three million Americans
suffer from serious inherited de-
The cause of a particular defect
is not always clear. 'Almost any
trait can in part be influenced by
heredity. Almost all can be alter-
ed by environment," he explained.
Drawing the line as to just
where hereditary factors end and
environmental ones begin is "as
complex a problem as we have
to wrestle with in biology."
Estimates can be made, how-
ever. Geneticists believe, for ex-
ample, that one-half the cases of
blindness and deaf-mutism are at-
tributable to hereditary factors.
For some defects the pattern of
inheritance is clear-cut and has
been ascertained, though it can
never be predicted with certainty
for a given case. These include
certain nervous disorders, some
abnormalities of the blood, de-
fects in vision and hearing and a
variety of imperfections of the
teeth, hair and nails.
Some of these defects are trans-
mitted primarily by parents ex-
hibiting the characteristics, others
may show up in children with only
a distant, if any, family record for
the disease.
BUT IN the bulk of abnormalities
in which heredity is a large
factor, the exact role of inheri-
tance is either indefinite or not
yet clearly understood.
Schizophrenia, for example, has
been proven to be 15 times more
prevalent among children who
have a schizophrenic parent than
among those who do not.
Geneticists are quick to qualify
such 'statistics by pointing out
that the individuals studied all
grew up in the home environment
-and living with a schizophrenic
parent may be as important a,
factor as being born of one.
Scientists generally agree, how-
ever, that tendencies toward dia-
betes, some specific types of can-
cer and heart disease, and manic-
depressive insanity are apt to be
greater among individuals with

MET YOU first on the beaches
of Perpignan. You came from
Wellesley. I loved you for your
freshness, your interest in people,
your independence and you good
sense. I didn't know then that I
should have the chance to meet
you in your own surroundings but
I considered how agreeable the
prospect would be.gh
The next time I saw you was on
an ocean liner, when you passed
me wearing Bermuda shorts and
knee socks and the breeze was
blowing through your short curls.
In these surroundings, again, you
were somethingz fresh and young.!
Perhaps I didn't realize how young.
Now I have lived in proximity to
you for over six months and the
time seems to have come for a
MY impression of you on the
campus from the start has
been confused by the haunting.
feeling which I could never com-
pletely eliminate that I was always
seeing the same one of you. It
was some time before I realized;
that here, unlike anywhere else in
the world, girls, far from disliking
to be seen wearing the same
clothes, go out of their way to
achieve that very result.
The result would be less disturb-
ing if the sought-for appearance
were an ideal of beauty. But each
change of season has brought a
more hideous uniform which stales
your charm.
Whatever may have been the
position two or three centuries ago,,
it is now generally recognized that
girls have longer hair than boys,
but the distinction on the Ameri-
can campus is becoming hard to
make. The male undergraduate
makes every sacrifice to try to
retain the distinction but however
closely he has his head shaved
you still succeed in your attempts
to be mistaken for one.
Writing in the 2nd century A.D.
Apuleius thought with horror of
how the beauty of women could be
changed to uglinesseif they cut
their hair. In this century those
women who were considered to
have betrayed their country had
their hair shaved off as the great-
est public degradation and ignom-
iny a woman can suffer. What is
a European to think when he sees
you collectively on campus but that

addressing you, dear co-ed, it
would have been "the clothes you
wear and should not wear." It
should be emphasized from the
start that the shape of a sack was
designed for its function of con-
taining miscellaneous goods, gen-
erally of a vegetgble or carboni-
ferous nature, most -conveniently.

somehow you are submitting to a It was never intended as a model
similar degradation in taking a for the garb of the highest creation
college education, and wonder at of God.
your courage in enduring sucho
self-imposed unotti anctiveness. The Yet I see nothing day long but
"little boy" look went out in the coats cut clearly out of three ob-
1920's, or should have. Why revive longs and pulled together at the
it now. You look so much nicer as back by a belt which works simply
a woman. on the principle of gravity, and
by hanging low gives a distant
W HEN Chesterton wrote his !suggestion of a waist. (Editor's
"Ballade for a Grande Dame" Note.: Mr. de Deney is refering to
he spoke of "the clothes you wear what is commonly known as "The
or do not wear." But had he been Polo Coat.") They are ugly: hor-

These are the last refuge of the
sloppy dresser.
Of heavy, clumsy wool, they
hang untidily around the ankles
and are invariable dirty. They can
be replaced perfectly with tight
neat ankle socks, and should be.
Sneakers are used for athletic ac-
tivities. They should be worn at no
other time. Even if their continual
use is not bad for the feet, it is
offensive to the eye.
I am sure. you can defend all
that I have attacked on grounds
of comfort. But in this, as in
everything else, there are other
people to consider. Why should
you be comfortable if it will make
you look so unattractive. Were you
only to pay more attention to what
suits you, as an individual, you
would succeed in rasing your own
self-respect, and also that of the


-Daily-John Hirtzel

ribly ugly. Change them.

I SUPPOSE it is too late to alter
the way you cover your lower
extremities. When you are tall and
slender and wear the right things
to match, you sometimes please in
knee socks. But there can never
be any excuse for bobby socks.


-Daily-John Hirtzel
AN ENGLISHMAN'S IMPRESSION: "The 'Little Boy' look went out in the 1920's. Why revive it now?

(Continued from Page 2)7
cases of the disorder in their fam- p
ily records. t
Such facts are not new, though
many of them are newly-discov- i
YET IT is only since 1941 that
any large-scale program of i
advising would-be parents has b
been in operation. il
In that year Dr. Lee R. Dice, m
now director of the University's t
Institute of Human Biology, of t
which the Clinic is a part, found- d
ed the Heredity Clinic. It was the t
first center for genetic counseling e
in America. g
Since that time some 10 other
centers have been estabWshed, t
many after detailed investigation b
of the University's Clinic. Two
other professional geneticists serve A
with Dr. Neel: Prof. William J. s
Schull and T. Edward Reed. Eight f
more workers, mostly in research, g
round out the Clinic's staff.- s
The geneticists' time is divided g
about equally between teaching
in the zoology department and g
medical school, public service, t
which includes counseling, and ,
research. 1

THE MOST elaborate research
project they are now partici-
pating in is a study in Japan of
he amount of genetic change or
"mutation" resulting from the
atomic bomb. The human organ-
ss is in delicate balance, and
an change is likely to be for the
"The genetic effects of an atom-
c bomb are a little like an ice-
erg," Dr. Neel commented, "most-
y hidden. We don't know how
much is under water. We-do know
here's a great deal," that many
imes the number of abnormalities
detected among the first genera-
ion of survivor's offspring can be
xpected to show up in future
Dr. Neel has made five trips
o Japan in connection with the
bomb studies, Prof. Schull two.
Dr. Neel recently returned from
Africa where he is conducting
tudies into abnormalities in the
ormation of the protein hemo-
lobin, the oxygen-carrying sub-
tance in red-blood cells which
ives them their color.
From the studies the investi-
gators hope to learn more about
he genetic control of the forma-
ion of proteins, a mystery at

You look much nicer as a woman."
Than 0
Other public service functions
of the Heredity Clinic include
work with babies who are being
considered for adoption. Examin-
ations are conducted for signs of
disease found in the child's family
Opinions as to the probable
racial background of a baby are
sometimes sought by adoption
agencies which require such in-
formation before placing the
child in a home.
ONE OF the Clinic's more sen-
sational cases came several
years ago when two Michigan
families suspected their three
year-old daughters had been
switched in the hospital where
they were born. The Clinic was
called in and it verified the sus-
picions through comparisons of
the inherited "Rh" blood types of
both sets of parents with those of
the children.
The comparisons ruled out one
set of parents as the possible
mother and father of the girl they
had raised and loved for three
years. Nothing in the Clinic's
tests contradicted the idea that
the children had been switched.

Fortunately for a happy solu-
tion, one of the girls had been
boarded out to an elderly couple
when her "parents" were divorced.
Her real parents welcomed her
into their home and kept the girl
they had raised. The whole story
received national publicity when
written up recently in Reader's
BUT MOST of the work of the
Clinic never makes- the news-
papers and popular magazines. It
is done quietly in a crowded little
two-story frame house tucked
away on the far north side of
campus, where interns at the
Hospital were housed for many
While some of the Clinic's work
is dramatic, most of it is labor-
ious-compiling statistics, exam-
ining patients, drawing up quest-
The quiet atmosphere is some-
what in keeping with the results
of the Clinic's work. For while
dealing with . the elements of
heredity-in which the future of
the human race quite literally re-
sides-the aim is not revolution in
the nature of the species, just
sound, factual information foi
people with a problem.


f a ''i "


1, Ai


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