2015

The Historical Background of our Newborn/Infant Work

I often refer to Dr. Frymann’s brilliant cranial osteopathic research from 1966 with 1250 hospital newborns. She was my mentor, and her paper is the forerunner of all of our newborn work. I also need to honor two other doctors who were instrumental in the cranial newborn/infant work.

In 1948 and 1954 Dr. Beryl Arbuckle published groundbreaking newborn cranial research in the osteopathic literature. She was the first person to write about the work at birth. Learning directly from Dr. Sutherland, she practiced in Philadelphia. When I arrived there in 1983 after she had passed, patients often asked me if I had studied the infant work under her. I have often felt her spirit guiding me during my entire 35-year infant journey.
Also Dr. Rachel Woods published her newborn work in 1973. She and her osteopathic husband also studied directly with Dr. Sutherland. Their reference articles can be seen at the end of our infant research found on the homepage.

We have to remember that at the time they made their discoveries, they took a lot of ridicule from the professional community because they were pioneering something very new that no one understood. They questioned conventional wisdom and challenged widespread medical assumptions. Only special people can withstand that pressure. Everyone knew that the cranial bones did not move, and that the central nervous system cannot be altered at birth.

I also salute Dr. Virginia Apgar, who created the APGAR score in 1953. She was one of the first women in medicine at Columbia and wanted to be a surgeon. But her male colleagues told her that a woman would not have a future as a surgeon. As an anesthesiologist who never married or had a child, she noticed that unstable newborns were left alone at birth in a corner to survive with all of the attention paid toward the mother. It was after the Second World War in the baby boom years. A prevailing thought was that if you lost your baby at birth, you could always have another later.
Her novel score forced the medical profession to acknowledge the health and well-being of each neonate and literally brought in the profession of neonatology. I copied the computation of her simple score as the framework for the Baby Brain Score. I figured that if it worked great worldwide for the vital signs to bring newborns safely into the world, it would work great globally to monitor brain function for quality of life issues. I am so grateful for her work. For a great read, Google: The Score The New Yorker October 2006.

We salute these four women for taking the heat and having the courage to speak their truth. Today we humbly and gratefully stand on their shoulders to make a difference for all the world’s newborns.

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One Comment

  1. I am a nurse practitioner. How I wish I could have been involved in integrative health care. But my MD collaborators were emphatic. “You can’t mix real medicine and folk medicine!” Now that I am semi-retired it is good to see movement in this holistic direction.

    Born in 1949, I was one of Dr. Arbuckle’s patients. I was born premature, with cleft lip and palate. Dx at birth: cerebral palsy and probable severe developmental delays. My mother’s PCP, Galen Young Sr. DO referred me to Dr. Arbuckle. My mother made the weekly and later biweekly trip from near Harrisburg to Philadelphia. A year later the Cooper Cleft Palate personnel were dumbfounded. “Whatever you are doing keep it up! This mouth that was too small for surgery now is suitable for repairs There is no way we would have thought that was possible!” I was under Dr. Arbuckle’s care until I was five.

    Dr. Young’s son told me that is father cried when he read the newsclip about my graduation from the University of Penna.

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