Highlights from 26 March 2012

Today’s Highlights: two birthdays

“In contrast to theoretical disciplines, there are in clinical medicine two specific types of researchers. The first group has original ideas and technical skill, and they discover previously unknown biological laws by means of new methods; without them research would have no purpose at all…. The others [are] copycats and hacks who doubt all progress....” (Hermann Knaus, Die wahre Dauer der menschlichen Schwangerschaft [The Real Duration of Human Pregnancy], Vienna, 1970, p. 150)

Without a doubt, the Japanese gynaecologist Kyusaku Ogino belonged to the first group: he used his original ideas and clever approach to solve a seemingly unsolvable problem, that of how to calculate when ovulation will occur, and therefore the ‘dangerous’ days during the menstrual cycle. The only problem was that he worked far removed from Western scientists and wrote in a language ‘no one understood’. As a result, he must share the laurels with Hermann Knaus, who wrote the opening quote. Knaus employed different scientific methods and different original ideas but reached conclusions similar to Ogino’s. To recognise the latter’s 140th birthday on 25 March, today’s Highlight will focus on the almost unknown Kyusaku Ogino: en.muv.org.


Though it’s not quite as far away as Japan, the former East Germany is nearly as foreign to most readers. Few are aware that 40 years ago, on 9 March 1972, the Law on the Termination of Pregnancy was passed, because “equality for women in education and on the job, in married and family life necessitates that they are entitled to make their own decisions concerning pregnancy and whether to carry it to term”. Read more about this progressive law on en.muvs.org.


Visit the Museum for Contraception and Abortion (MUVS), Mariahilfer Gürtel 37, 1150 Vienna, open Wednesday to Sunday, 2 to 6 p.m., or visit our website on http://en.muvs.org/ and our facebooksite http://www.facebook.com/eMUVS.