Full text: Problems in eugenics

R. Dupuy.Medicine and Eugenics. 
Hands of male sexual inverts are often identical with those of women, the 
first finger being longer than the ring finger. As to the other senses, we find 
both backwardness and perversion; absence of sensibility (frequent burns), 
inability to recognise the shapes of certain things (absence of idea of 
“ relief ”) or the consistency of certain stuffs, and difficulty in distinguishing 
heat and cold at a given point, difficulty in grasping, etc. We must, how­ 
ever, remark that one sensorial deficiency is often compensated by an 
extraordinary development of another sense. Backward people frequently 
have sensory hallucinations. 
To sum up, it is very difficult to establish a classification of backward 
children based on their sensory anomalies, for sensory anomalies are often 
found in otherwise normal children. Sensory anomalies, moreover, when 
anything short of complete (blind and deaf mutes) are only part and parcel 
of backwardness of body and mind. 
The diagnosis of infantile backwardness does not give us very great 
difficulty; to estimate it quantitatively is a more delicate matter, but more 
difficult still is it to diagnose the cause. Is the backwardness of cerebral 
origin due to internal secretion? If it is of cerebral origin, is it due to a 
lesion, to physiological disorder or to intoxication ? To decide these things, 
we must have accurate information as to the history of the child. Was it a 
full-time child, was it normal at birth, had it any symptoms of meningitis, 
when did it start its dentition, when did it begin to speak or walk ? In the 
case of an older child, when did puberty appear? What was the incident 
which first suggested arrested development? This information is often 
lacking, and the doctor is then reduced to suppositions. Parents, whose 
love is blind, have never taken careful note of the state of their child, so 
cannot remember it. Often there is nothing to be got out of them. We 
may learn something from the state of the pulse, the arterial pressure, the 
examination of the urine, the radiography of the bones, etc., but we shall 
not get any certainty from these. 
The treatment of combined organotherapy which is a very touchstone 
of diagnosis, gives us valuable information by the results which it brings 
about. It fails in cases of pure cerebral lesion, that is in cases of atrophic 
backwardness, and it brings about notable changes in the mixed or 
dystrophic forms. 
The treatment of dystrophic backwardness rests upon the finding of 
clinical examination. These are intoxicated subjects who either eliminate 
their mineral substances or retain others, who suffer from anaemia, excess of 
leucocytes, and a habitual low arterial tension. These peculiarities are 
regular, whatever be the prominent feature of backwardness. Conditions 
which are apparently different bring us back therefore to the same causes. 
We shall not speak of prophylactic treatment which is suggested by the 
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