Spina bifida: A new disease

C. O. Leonard, J. M. Freeman

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In the 1950s most children with spina bifida were left to die. In the 1960s most were vigorously treated. In the early 1970s Dr John Lorber presented a retrospective analysis of his results, and published his criteria for selection. Over these three decades the approach to the newborn with spina bifida has swung like a pendulum. More recent series demonstrate that with early treatment more than 80% of children survive; in our experience more than 95% survive. Thus, the English mortality has not been replicated in this country, nor has the English morbidity. Along with an increase in survival have come increasing awareness and attention to the multiple problems faced by these children and the development of new approaches to minimizing their handicap. It should be remembered that there is a distinction between impairment and handicap. Impairment is the amount of fixed deficit. Handicap is the disability superimposed on that deficit by society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-137
Number of pages2
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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