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April 1945


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine, Stanford University School of Medicine.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1945;75(4):215-221. doi:10.1001/archinte.1945.00210280003001

Nearly half a century ago there appeared the first report (Marfan, 1896)1 on a developmental anomaly which was well described as a congenital deformation of the four extremities characterized by long and slender bones. The names applied to the condition have been: spider fingers, arachnodactyly or arachnodactylia, dolichostenomelia, and hyperchondroplasia (by way of contrast with achondroplasia). Subsequently other congenital disabilities have been associated: dislocation of the lens, cardiac defects and feeblemindedness. More than 200 cases are said to have been reported in the literature, and the condition is indeed not rare, since 4 patients have been called to my attention by members of the staff within the last two years. Judging by a survey of a dozen reports in print,2 one is surprised by the scarcity of anthropologic measurements, since these would certainly permit the earlier and more accurate recognition of cases now clinically missed. In some of

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