Full text: Problems in eugenics

14Section I.A. Marro. 
and following on faulty development of the foetus, such as cretinism, con­ 
genital goitre, nasal deflections, strabismus, plagio-cephaly, hydrocephaly, 
dental malformation, etc., showed a large number of alcoholics and epileptics. 
The explanation of the pernicious consequences to the psycho-physical 
characters of the children of parents too young or too advanced in age 
does not present much difficulty. 
At the younger period the organism is still in process of formation; 
the incomplete development of the skeleton, as of all the other organs, continu­ 
ally absorbs a mass of plastic materials necessary to the formation of off­ 
spring. So we may consider that the faults of children born of too ycung 
parents are due to an incomplete development because of the insufficiency of 
plastic material. 
We must, on the other hand, seek in the conditions which accompany old 
age for the reason why it has a disastrous influence on the vitality of the 
germinal elements of the parents and predisposes the descendants to various 
forms of physical and moral degeneracy. 
During this period we have in the tissues, instead of a development and 
renewal of protoplasm, the tendency to an accumulation of fat; and in the 
whole organism, chiefly in the tissues of the arterial system, we find the 
tendency to a deposit in their structure of an amorphous substance which 
converts the supple elastic canals into rigid tubes; and from this a general 
slowing up of the organic functions (circulation, oxidation, secretion) results; 
the blood, not reaching the degree of elaboration which it possessed before, 
acquires a greater acidity, and cannot by the ordinary excretory channels 
so quickly get rid of the catabolic products with which it is charged. 
By reason of these conditions the organism of older people undergoes a 
sort of slow and gradual intoxication, which, at the same time as it shows 
itself in the individual by the gradual languishing of all his functions, 
influences in a disastrous manner the germs which develop within him, and 
predisposes them to become beings condemned to degeneracy. 
Consequently this cause of degeneracy enters the general category of intoxications.

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