//ed.note: alert blog follower Renan Snowden noticed that 'high tension'
in an earlier edition should have been translated as 'hypertension'. As
always, our editors are grateful to keen observers like Renan.//
(Hurriyet Newspaper, 28 December 2012)
Yaras village...doesn't look all that tense...
In the 1970's Prof. Nihat Bilgunturan of Hacettepe
University determined that short people with short
fingers living in Yaras village of Tirebolu district
in Giresun province, were dying before age 50 from
hypertension. Prof. Bilgunturan wrote an article about
the matter, prompting a German team from the Max-
Delbruck Center, where Prof. Friedrich C. Luft is the
chief, to come to Giresun and take blood samples from
The leaders of the project, Dr. Sylvia Baehring and
Dr. Atakan Aydin, noted that this disease is not
confined to Turkey. They went to Yaras village and
listened to the life stories of the villagers who have
health problems. An American writer named Russ
Hodge participated in their study and wrote a book
about it called "Short Finger Knights".
The book begins by chance 150 years ago in Yaras
village, relating the life of an ill grandmother there
and moves on to tell the life stories of the short-
statured, short-fingered villagers, all experiencing
hypertension. Enter the scientists who visit the
village and take some of the villagers back to Berlin
for treatment. The book captures the excitement of
the first-time-ever flights of the villagers, as well.
Yaras, in Tirebolu district, on the coast