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July 1972

Internal medicine at large

Arch Intern Med. 1972;130(1):9-16. doi:10.1001/archinte.1972.03650010003001

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Internists alerted  They include an airline stewardess, nurse, steel mill worker, laboratory technician, bank teller, pharmacist, minister, post-doctoral research fellow, several teachers, some college students, and at least one doctor of medicine.They represent a growing population—estimated at 1,800—of American adults (15 or older) with cystic fibrosis, a disease that once was almost inevitably fatal in early childhood.This inherited disorder (see diagram), usually with chronic involvement of the respiratory and digestive systems, is believed to occur once in every 1,600 to 2,000 live births. About 4,000 to 5,000 new cases are diagnosed annually in this country.How many patients will survive to enter adult life depends in large part on early diagnosis, severity of pulmonary and gastrointestinal involvement, and regular therapy including antibiotics. The National Cystic Fibrosis Research Foundation says average age at death now is between 12 and 14 years.With more cystic fibrosis patients surviving into adulthood,

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