Full text: Problems in eugenics

F. VV. Mott.Medicine and Eugenics.411 
ataxy, which is the same pathological change, affecting a different part of 
the nervous system. 
If there were time I could give logical arguments in favour of this 
hypothesis, but I must be content with saying that since we now know the 
cause of 20 per cent, of the deaths in the London County Asylums is due 
to general paralysis, therefore one very important preventable cause has 
been discovered. Not only is it important as regards numbers afflicted by 
this terrible malady, but it is important because the sufferers from this 
disease are drawn from all grades of society, and as a rule are of civic 
worth; the same cannot be said of the feeble-minded. 
We might add another 5 to 10 per cent, of cases of brain disease 
dying in asylums with softening of the brain due directly or indirectly to 
syphilis. In congenital syphilis it is appalling to think what a number of 
feeble-minded adults there would be from this cause did it not happen 
that when the syphilitic organism invades the brain it is fatal in the great 
majority of cases. The congenital syphilitic offspring of diseased parents 
as a rule die before birth or in early infancy. Still, the bio-chemical test 
that I have referred to shows that a considerable percentage of the feeble­ 
minded may owe their defect to this preventable cause. 
Neuropathic Inheritance. 
Three years ago I initiated a card system of relatives who are at 
present, or have been discharged from, or have died in, the London 
County Asylums. The ball once set rolling has grown to enormous 
dimensions, and I have at present considerably over 3,000 cards, most of 
them referring to persons closely related in the direct line. There are 
at the present time about 750 closely-related persons inmates of the London 
County Asylums; namely, 3'5 percent, of the total population. A priori 
this is a strong argument in favour of the importance of heredity as a cause 
of insanity, for it cannot be supposed that if we took 20,000 people from 
the 4,522,961 inhabitants of London for some random cause we should 
fined 3*5 per cent, of them so closely related, as parents and offspring, 
brothers and sisters.Table I. 
Statistics of 3,042 Related Cases in the London County Asylums. 
Males ...256603926261.334 I9‘2%4-5%29 ’4%46-9% 
Females ................353593899071,708 20-6%3'4%22-8%53-i% 
Total males and females6091197811.5333,042 20-0%3'9%25-6%5'°4%

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