Gin Lane: did Hogarth know about fetal alcohol syndrome? (1/8)

Medical historians have searched for evidence that the characteristics of fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) were recognized long before its modern description in 1973. This search has often focused on the 'gin epidemic' in 18th century London, and especially William Hogarth's Gin Lane, which some authors allege reflects an awareness of the facial characteristics of the syndrome. While the 'gin epidemic' undoubtedly resulted in the increased birth of weak and sickly children, claims about Hogarth's awareness of the stigmata of the FAS are unfounded. The birth of weak and sickly children, and the high infant mortality rates associated with this period, long preceded the 'gin epidemic' and were primarily due to disease, starvation, exposure, and deliberate infanticide.  (+info)

Incidence of cancer among bookbinders, printers, photoengravers, and typesetters. (2/8)

OBJECTIVES: To to study the risk of cancer, particularly of lung cancer and bladder cancer, among workers in the printing industry according to different occupations. METHODS: This is a population based retrospective cohort study. The cohort comprised 1332 men and 426 women employed in the printing industry in Iceland according to a published union registry. A computerised file of the cohort was record linked to the Cancer Registry by making use of personal identification numbers. Expected numbers of cases of cancer were calculated on the basis of number of person-years and specific incidences of cancer sites for men and women provided by the Cancer Registry. RESULTS: Among the men (36 217.5 person-years at risk) there were 125 observed cancers versus 123.66 expected, standardised incidence ratio (SIR) 1.01, 95% confidence interval (95% CI) was 0.84 to 1.20. The SIR (95% CI) for liver cancer was 1.97 (0.55 to 5.20) and the SIR for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was 2.26 (0.96 to 4.41). No excess risk for cancer was found among women (8631.0 person-years at risk). The SIR (95% CI) for liver cancer was 4.21 (0.47 to 15.20) and for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma it was 4.99 (1.61 to 11.63) among the typesetters. A survey on smoking habits among active and retired union members showed that they smoked less than a random sample of the general population. CONCLUSION: The cancer site most often reported to show excess risk among printing industry workers has been the lung and the urinary bladder; however, this was not found in the present study. This may be explained by difference in smoking habits among union members compared with the general population. There is a high occurrence of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, particularly among typesetters, which warrants further studies.  (+info)

Emergence of modern human behavior: Middle Stone Age engravings from South Africa. (3/8)

In the Eurasian Upper Paleolithic after about 35,000 years ago, abstract or depictional images provide evidence for cognitive abilities considered integral to modern human behavior. Here we report on two abstract representations engraved on pieces of red ochre recovered from the Middle Stone Age layers at Blombos Cave in South Africa. A mean date of 77,000 years was obtained for the layers containing the engraved ochres by thermoluminescence dating of burnt lithics, and the stratigraphic integrity was confirmed by an optically stimulated luminescence age of 70,000 years on an overlying dune. These engravings support the emergence of modern human behavior in Africa at least 35,000 years before the start of the Upper Paleolithic.  (+info)

From the Cover: A Howiesons Poort tradition of engraving ostrich eggshell containers dated to 60,000 years ago at Diepkloof Rock Shelter, South Africa. (4/8)


Syphilis in art: an entertainment in four parts. Part 1. (5/8)

It is widely recognised that the history of art reveals the contemporary attitudes of societies and artists to changing patterns of social and sexual behaviour. This collection of artistic creations shows that representations of syphilis in art, over more than five centuries, are consistent with this view. The first quarter century of the morbus gallicus in Europe, starting in 1493, coincided with the spread of Renaissance influence, including printing. A host of pamphlets with woodcut illustrations reflected public alarm at the epidemic proportions and severity of the new disease, with its disabling and sometimes deadly consequences. Also revealed in these early works are the astrological and theological beliefs of disease causation as well as identifiable and serious attempts at public education. These twinned themes of understanding and educational endeavour recur together throughout the centuries and take many forms as man attempts to outline and influence attitudes and so improve his medico-social health. Attitudes to causation changed with experience so that by the beginning of the 17th century the morbus gallicus is no longer a mere contagion but recognised socially and represented artistically, as a morbus venereus. Its clinical presentation had changed remarkably from the alarming early days; and so too had its prevalence--from epidemic to endemic proportions. We find that the artists of both the 16th and 17th centuries, while somewhat reticent about syphilis, are nonetheless at pains to suggest that sex is not without its serious side effects. Their artistic exhortations suggest women as the source of the disease, so that we find Venus shown as both ideal love and the source of contamination. Such attitudes contrast strikingly with what follows. The 18th century is characterised by the sophisticated elements of European societies taking an irreverent or satirical view of sex and syphilis. In England this is reflected in the works of Hogarth and other notable caricaturists. The fierce castigation of men and their follies is matched by more understand and rational attitudes towards women. But it does not last. Indeed it seems almost to invite the studied censoriousness of the 19th centrury with women again stigmatised as a source of degradation and disease. In essence this collection of examples of syphilis in art illustrates wide variations in attitude and behaviour from alarm to tolerance and from intolerance through liberality to licence and much the same again, over nearly five centuries. Just occasionally an artist seems to be ahead of his times.  (+info)

U-series dating of Paleolithic art in 11 caves in Spain. (6/8)


Visual evoked potentials in rotogravure printers exposed to toluene. (7/8)

Visual evoked potentials (VEPs) from stimulation by checkerboard pattern reversal were examined in 54 rotogravure printers exposed to toluene (all men, aged 22-64 years, duration of exposure 1-41 years). A control group consisted of 46 subjects (23 men and 23 women; aged 22-54 years). Compared with controls the exposed group showed more frequent responses with reduced reproducibility or absence of some waves, or both; the mean P1 wave latency was prolonged and mean amplitudes N1P1 and P1N2 were reduced. The VEPs were abnormal in 24% of workers. The frequency of abnormal VEPs correlated positively with the duration of exposure to toluene and also with the degree of alcohol drinking. No association was found between measurements of VEP and electroencephalogram (EEG) or electromyogram (EMG) examinations. A VEP measurement was made in 78% of the exposed workers two years after the first examination. No statistically significant difference between the two results was found. This suggests a marked stability of the observed VEP changes. These changes can be interpreted as a subclinical sign of dysfunction of the central nervous system (CNS) related to exposure to toluene and also to alcohol consumption.  (+info)

Wormholes record species history in space and time. (8/8)