J. W. Ballantyne

Manual of Antenatal Pathology and Hygiene

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J. W. Ballantyne
   - Manual of Antenatal Pathology and Hygiene

Excerpt from Manual of Antenatal Pathology and Hygiene: The Embryo

The companion volume to this, which appeared in 1902, dealt specially with the diseases of the f?tus; this is concerned with the pathology of the embryo, and, to a small extent, with the morbid tendencies of the germ. The two volumes are intended to give the reader an idea of the whole extent and variety of the pathological processes of antenatal life.

The pathology of the embryo is practically synonymous with the subject of Teratology, or at least with that part of it which deals with single as distinguished from double monsters. Now, Teratology may be studied in three different ways: a simple description may be given of the various monstrosities, with regard to their anatomy, physiology, social and economic results, and the like; or teratological phenomena may be used for the purpose of explaining embryological problems or as a means of clearing up difficulties in the domain of f?tal physiology; or, finally, the whole subject may be approached from the side of causation, and attention be focused upon the genetic aspects of abnormal formations. While not neglecting the first and second methods of study, I have endeavoured to specialise the third plan; for, after all, the most important matter is to reach a solution of the problem of causation, because, if that be reached, there begins to be hope that preventive treatment may be discovered. In my opinion, therefore, Chapters VII. to XII., which discuss teratogenesis on general principles, are the most important of all.

The greater part of this volume, then, is given to the consideration of the pathology of the embryo, and only three chapters at the end are set aside for the pathology of the germinal period of life. This fact requires a word or two of explanation. I had originally intended to treat the pathology of the germ, which may, roughly speaking, be regarded as synonymous with double monsters and morbid heredity, on the same scale of completeness as that of the f?tus and embryo; but this, I soon found, would have entailed the writing of a third volume not much smaller in size than the present.

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