An interesting syndrome called Marfan's disease for the French physician of that name who first drew attention1 to it in 1896 was encountered in a young man in the course of our examination of selectees at this station. The descriptive name arachnodactyly was given to the syndrome by another Frenchman, Achard,2 because of the spider-like appearance of the extended fingers. Of unknown etiology, it has been described as being both familial and hereditary. As the dystrophy affects skeletal muscle structure as well as visceral organs, it has been thought by some to arise from an embryologic defect in the mesoblastic tissue, and by others to be due to faulty secretion by the hypophysis.
In discussing two additional theories of origin, namely germinal and due to "status dysraphicus," Marfan3 concluded that not any are satisfactory and all can be assailed by critics.
Our subject was a youth of 21,
Etter LE, Glover LP. ARACHNODACTYLY COMPLICATED BY DISLOCATED LENS AND DEATH FROM RUPTURE OF DISSECTING ANEURYSM OF AORTA. JAMA. 1943;123(2):88–89. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.82840370001006
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