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June 12, 1972

Gleanings from Science

JAMA. 1972;220(11):1492. doi:10.1001/jama.1972.03200110070015

About a year ago, an editorial1 treated this same subject. That time, the news was bad; not so this time. Reassurance comes from reports about bone healing in a case of congenital pseudarthrosis and about mercury concentrations in tuna and swordfish.

Lavine et al,2 having demonstrated experimentally that bone healing is stimulated by an electrical current passed through a bony defect, applied the method successfully in a case of congenital pseudarthrosis involving the tibia. The patient, a 14-year-old boy, had been observed since his birth and had undergone various orthopedic treatments of his lesion. When he was 4 years old, a posterior bone graft had healed the defect. Then, at age 11, he had sustained a fracture through the old pseudarthrosis site. Thereafter, second and third operative procedures and casting had failed to promote healing.

As an alternative to amputation of the patient's leg, two platinum electrodes were