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International Birth Defects Information Systems
Book Review - Thalidomide
International Birth Defects Information Systems
Geno-Terto Eip Tome

Awareness: Preventing Another Thalidomide Catastrophe

A booklet by 16 Japanese experts, edited by Dr. M. Kida offers comprehensive data and interpretation of the severity of the impact of Thalidomide on Japanese children. ("Thalidomide Embryopathy in Japan", 1987, Ed. M. Kida, Teikyo Univ School of Med Press).

In 276 pages, as often is the case with Japanese reports, an account in full detail is given based on 137 patients drawn from a sample of 309 registered cases. The photographic atlas and summary tables provided are quite interesting. Perhaps the most valuable feature of this work is the presentation of the broad spectrum of malformations induced by Thalidomide summarized in part below.

23% Short stature
08% Dwarfism
74% Limb defects
58% Upper limb only
15% Lower limb only
28% Nerve Palsy
23% Duane Syndrome
12% Strabismus
41% Ear Malformations
40% Hearing Impairment
85% and limb defects
60% Abnormal EEG
47% Arrhythmia
26% Hearing loss
76% Vertebral defects
59% Scoliosis

Notable is the concurrent presence of hearing and limb defects. Isolated limb defects are rare.

Another elegant review of Thalidomide embryopathy is found in "Congenital Malformations"
by Josef Warkany.

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