Full text: papers communicated to the first International Eugenics Congress held at the University of London, July 24th to 30th, 1912

136Section I.A. Marro. 
The age of complete development corresponds to a maximum of good 
conducts and a minimum of bad, and preserves the same proportion of intelli­ 
gent sons obtained by the complete development of the mother. In the 
period of decline of the father and mother the good conducts of children are 
found in less proportion than in the preceding period and the good intelli­ 
gences in minimum proportion. 
The interpretation of the pernicious consequences of an age too young or 
too advanced in the parents upon the psychophysical characters of the chil­ 
dren cannot present any difficulties. 
In youth the organs are still in course of formation. The incomplete 
development of the skeleton, as well as the other organs, continually with­ 
draws from the circulation of the blood a mass of plastic materials necessary 
for their formation. The chlorotic state of young women who have grown 
up in bad health constitutes a natural condition of the organs at that age 
not only in the female sex, but also in the male sex in a less pronounced 
degree. We can then consider and affirm that the defects of children who 
are born of too young parents are due to incomplete development owing to 
insufficiency of plastic materials. 
If we wish, on the contrary, to discover the cause how the more or less 
advanced age of the parents has a disastrous influence upon the vitality of 
the germs and predisposes the offspring to various forms of physical and 
moral degeneracy, we must seek it in the conditions which accompany the 
passage towards old age. 
During this period we have in the tissues, in place of the development 
and renewal of protoplasm, a tendency to the accumulation of fat; and in 
the whole organism, especially in the tissues of the arterial system, one 
finds a tendency to a deposit in their structure of an amorphous substance, 
which converts these flexible and elastic canals into rigid tubes, whence 
results a gradual slackening of the organic functions (circulation, oxidation, 
and secretion); the blood, no longer attaining to a degree of elaboration which 
it had before, acquires a greater acidity and cannot so quickly relieve itself 
by the ordinary path of the emulctories of the products of waste with which 
it is charged. In consequence of these conditions the organism of old 
people undergoes a species of slow and gradual intoxication, such' as is 
revealed by a gradual slackening of all the functions, and influences in a 
disastrous manner the germs which are in course of development, and 
predisposes them to become creatures destined to degeneration. 
Consequently, this cause of degeneration enters into the common category 
of intoxications.

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