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BOOK REVIEW Is My Baby All Right? By Virginia Apgar, M.D., and Joan Beck. New York: Trident Press, 1973. Pp. 492. Illus. $9.95. When the National Foundation considered as to where it should next turn its attention after having so gloriously solved the problem of prevention of poliomyelitis, the scientific advisers of Mr. Basil O'Connor concluded that rheumatoid arthritis and birth defects were the conditions most immediately demanding intensive research. Temporarily both fields were given study, but eventually the Arthritis Foundation took over that field and the National Foundation limited its drive to the problems of birth defects. Perhaps an objective view would suggest that much more has now been done with birth defects than has been accomplished for arthritis. Implicit in the modern partnership of the scientists and the public in organizing against heart, cancer, and other medical problems is the selection of scientific advisory boards to guide research, medical care, and lay participation for public education and the collection of funds. This meant for the National Foundation a complete reorganization of its existing committees and a problem of public education that was staggering. Here was a field in which little was known, even to the scientists. When the scientific leader of the National Foundation, Dr. Thomas Rivers, died, his personal selection for the scientific directorship, Dr. Virginia Apgar, succeeded him. She was already well known in the field through her development of the Apgar Test, or "Newborn Scoring System." These tests are applied to all newborn infants 1 minute and 5 minutes after birth to permit immediate evaluation of the infant's physical condition. The system was devised by Apgar when she was professor of anesthesiology at New York Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, where she participated in the delivery of more than 17,000 babies. A happy partnership indeed is that of Apgar and Joan Beck in creating for the public audience this extraordinarily fascinating guide to the field of birth defects. Mrs. Beck has written many newspaper columns on child development. She is a qualified graduate in journalism and has had many awards for her competency . In the development of this book the authors have been able to call on the scientific advisory board of the National Foundation, which includes in its membership pediatricians, biologists, public health authorities, and others. I believe the title of the book is badly chosen. One should not choose the title of a book until it is completed—just as one cannot name a baby until it is born. The title of this book is the question that informed parents ask nowadays after an infant is born. Perhaps the title was chosen in the belief that it would help to draw a large audience of prospective mothers, but the book is more pointed than the question indicates. The book is definitely concerned with an Perspectives in Biology and Medicine · Summer 1973 | 655 explanation of why children with birth defects get that way. It provides special chapters on such subjects as sickle cell anemia, birthmarks, and 25 other distinctive defects. A final chapter on genetic counseling and sources of help is most practical. The list of sources includes not only the national organizations involved , but also governmental agencies. Helpful would have been mention of the special centers developed throughout the nation with the participation of the National Foundation. Because of the scientific distinction of Apgar, the book is accurate and the facts presented dependable. The experienced scientific writing of Joan Beck is easily understandable and attractive. Sometimes books of this type contain glossaries which aid readers in understanding difficult scientific terms; this one explains each term as it is used. The book will be helpful to any reader interested in securing the information that it supplies. Scientists, including biologists and physicians (especially obstetricians and pediatricians), should have this book easily available because of the immediately helpful knowledge that it supplies. Morris Fishbein, M.D. 5454 South Shore Drive Chicago, Illinois 60615 OVER THE GREEN GLADE Over the green glade fantastic forms of life Feed on the sun, on dust, and on each other, Feel cold and warmth, scent out atoms of earth, Lust and languish, bring forth and die away...


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