“The great English authority upon the subject of malformation is The Science and Practice of Medicine, by Wm. Aitken, M. D., Edinburgh, and Professor of Pathology in the Army Medical School; the American edition of which, by Professor Meredith Clymer, M. D., of the University of Pennsylvania, has equal weight in the United States.
At page 233 of vol. 1, we find the subject treated at length. The author says, “The superstition, absurd notions, and strange causes assigned to the occurrence of such malformations, are now fast disappearing before the lucid expositions of those famous anatomists who have made the development and growth of the ovum a subject of special study.
It is sufficient to mention here the names, J. Muller, Ratlike, Bischoff, St. Hilaire, Burdach, Allen Thompson, G. & W. Vrolick, Wolff, Meckel, Simpson, Rokitansky, and Von Ammon as sufficient evidence that the truths of science will in time dispel the mists of ignorance and superstition.”
One would think, from the complacent tone adopted by this eminent writer that we were in possession if not of the means of readily solving this intricate problem at least of a clew to guide us through the maze of our difficulties. But, in 1872, after profiting by all the labors and ingenuity of the illustrious pathologists above enumerated, we find him making the same confession of ignorance as that expressed by Magendie in 1838.
“Nevertheless”, says he, “much mystery still enshrouds the origin of malformation; the origin of them may be considered in two main issues, namely: 1, are they due to original malformation of the germ? 2, or are they due to subsequent deformities of the embryo by causes operating on its development?
With regard to the first issue, it is believed that the germ may be originally malformed, or defective, owing to some influence proceeding either from the female, or from the male, as in case of repeated procreation of the same kind of malformation by the same parents, deformities on either side being transmitted as an inheritance.””
H. P. Blavatsky