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BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?

24 Sep 20 - 12:56 PM (#4073000)
Subject: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Mrrzy

Mom took it for depression when pregnant with me but not, apparently, till after my long bones had budded. Had abortion been legal, that would have been her choice. But for the depression, it worked *great* she said.

Anyway, interesting article here about a reporter involved in breaking the story.

There used to be lots of people my age with visible effects, but now, not so much.


24 Sep 20 - 01:41 PM (#4073004)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Jack Campin

I once knew somebody affected. Lively woman despite the stumpy arms. I hope that was all that was wrong, there can be internal organ damage that only catches up with you after decades.

It's been used since (knowing the risks) for neuralgia caused by leprosy. Not sure if it still is.


24 Sep 20 - 01:56 PM (#4073006)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Senoufou

Oh yes, I remember this well. A sculpture called 'Alison Lapper Pregnant' was put on one of the plinths in Trafalgar Square in London. The poor lady had been born with stumps for arms and legs, but managed to give birth to her child. The statue was intended to honour her courage.


24 Sep 20 - 01:59 PM (#4073007)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Backwoodsman

On a visit a few years ago to the former ‘Leper Colony’ of Spinalonga Island, off the North East coast of Crete, our guide told us that Thalidomide was regarded as a ‘miracle drug’ for the treatment of Leprosy sufferers.

One of the most moving days of my life.


24 Sep 20 - 02:38 PM (#4073010)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Senoufou

That's very sad Backwoodsman. It just goes to show that all new drugs/vaccines etc must be thoroughly tried and tested before they're released for use in the population.
This is why I'm not expecting a Covid19 vaccine to appear anytime soon. It will need extensive tests over time before we can vaccinate people safely.


24 Sep 20 - 03:28 PM (#4073019)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Helen

By sheer coincidence, while sitting in a cafe yesterday with my sister she was having a chat to someone she knows who, I am guessing, would have been a Thalidomide baby. I haven't seen anyone else around the area for a number of decades, but I remember we had a university lecturer when I did my first degree back in the '70's. He was one of the best lecturers we had.


24 Sep 20 - 05:29 PM (#4073028)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: leeneia

I learned only recently that thalidomide did damage between Day 6 and Day 16 of a pregnancy. (Don't quote those numbers without checking, but that's about it.) Thus it was hard to spot the connection, because many, many mothers took thalidomide at other times and delivered normal babies.

Going further back, I can remember reading in the 50's or 60's that harmful chemicals cannot cross the placenta and reach a fetus. Dream on.


24 Sep 20 - 06:47 PM (#4073038)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Tattie Bogle

I find that timescale very hard to believe, sorry, Leeneia. Are you talking about from date of conception - or as pregnancies are usually calculated, from date of last menstrual period (LMP)? Even if from conception, that would make your later date only 2 days after the first missed period. Most women who had affected babies took Thalidomide to help with pregnancy sickness, which would usually only start 10-14 days after the first missed period (or 24 -28 days from conception).
A quote from Wikipedia also (though they also do not specify which date they are starting from!)
"The severity and location of the deformities depended on how many days into the pregnancy the mother was before beginning treatment; thalidomide taken on the 20th day of pregnancy caused central brain damage, day 21 would damage the eyes, day 22 the ears and face, day 24 the arms, and leg damage would occur if taken up to day 28. Thalidomide did not damage the fetus if taken after 42 days' gestation."
I did look after a number of children with physical disabilities(Phocomelia)presumed resulting from their mothers having taken thalidomide during their pregnancies during my house surgeon job in Brighton, Sussex in 1971. The drug was withdrawn from use in the UK in 1961, but remained available in other countries until much later on.
Most of these children lived in a special home for children with such disabilities rather than in their family homes: I guess things might have been managed differently now.


25 Sep 20 - 04:50 AM (#4073062)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Acorn4

Watched a programme on the episode a while back.

Apparently the scandal was brought to light by a young up and coming journalist called Rupert Murdoch.

Strange how things turn out.


25 Sep 20 - 05:34 PM (#4073109)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: leeneia

Well, maybe I remembered wrong.

"Thalidomide causes damage to the forming embryo in a short time sensitive window also known as the “critical period.” The time sensitive window extends between days 20 and days 36 after fertilization (34–50 days after last menstrual cycle;"

You can find the source by copying this and googling it.


25 Sep 20 - 07:56 PM (#4073122)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Tattie Bogle

That time-scale fits better with what I was saying, Leeneia.


26 Sep 20 - 02:34 AM (#4073142)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Jos

That would mean that Leeneia's Days 6 and 16 are counted from the first missed period - always assuming that the woman has a 28-day cycle, which is often not the case.


26 Sep 20 - 03:52 PM (#4073231)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: keberoxu

"Contergan" was the brand name in the German-speaking
pharmaceutical market, where one still speaks of
the Contergan babies or the Contergan lawsuits.

The great classical-music bass-baritone
Thomas Quasthoff is, famously, a 'Contergan' survivor.
When asked by a reporter if other such survivors look up to him
as some sort of role model,
Quasthoff, who is nothing if not plain-spoken, answered that
he is envied and resented, rather than admired,
by his fellow survivors.


26 Sep 20 - 07:43 PM (#4073257)
Subject: RE: BS: Who remembers Thalidomide?
From: Noreen

Acorn4: you are wrong there, the investigative journalist who exposed the Thalidomide scandal was Sir Harold Evans, who died aged 92 just a couple of days ago.
Sir Harold Evans was a "thoroughly nice and popular man", unlike the person you mentioned above.

Sir Harold Evans death: Thalidomide campaigners pay tribute to journalist