Full text: Problems in eugenics

F. W. Mott.Medicine and Eugenics.4i 
relation to a lowered specific vitality of the germ cells. Environment in 
relation to mental energy and will power. 
Nattire.—The study of pedigrees in hospital and asylum patients show­ 
ing the importance of heredity in nervous and mental diseases. The nature 
of the neuropathic tendency; its transmission in different forms of nervous 
and mental disease in successive generations. Its latency and re-appearance 
in stocks. Relation of neurasthenia to the neuropathic taint. Conclusions 
arrived at in relation to heredity and insanity from a study by a card 
system of 3,118 related persons who are at present, or who have been, 
in the London County asylums. Among the 20,000 inmates at present 
resident, 715 are so closely related as parents and offspring or brothers 
and sisters. Nature is always trying to end or mend a degenerate stock 
if left to itself. Analysis of data regarding first attack of insanity in 
464 parents and their 508 offspring; the signal tendency to the occurrence 
of the disease in a more intense form and at an earlier age in the offspring. 
This “ antedating ” or “ anticipation ” in relation to Nature’s process 
of elimination of the unfit. Nearly 50 per cent, of the offspring affected 
20 years earlier than the parent. The same found in uncles and aunts 
with nephews and nieces, only not nearly so marked. Seeing that the 
unfit are at present able to survive; does nature end or mend degenerate 
stocks, or have the lines of neuropathic inheritance only been partially 
cut off by this tendency to “ anticipation ” ? What we want to know is : 
What is the fate of all the offspring of an insane parent or parents; for 
there are a great many facts which show that a disease may be latent and 
re-appear in a stock when the conditions of mating or environment are 
unfavourable? A collection of pedigrees is required which will prove 
conclusively that the offspring of insane parents, who are free from the 
insane manifestations during adolescence, will breed children who will 
not become insane. Supposing it were shown that cases, discharged as 
recovered had the seeds of insanity, by the fact that their progeny were 
feeble-minded, epileptic, or insane, it would be a clear indication of taking 
measures to prevent them handing on the disease. Recurrent insanity—the 
birth of children in the sane intervals. Analysis of pedigrees with a dual 
neuropathic inheritance of maternal and paternal stocks compared with 
single neuropathic inheritance. Conclusion that a child born of neuropathic 
inheritance in both ancestral stocks stands, on an average, the chance 
of being insane four times as great as when only one stock is affected. 
Are there any types of insanity especially liable to be transmitted 
in the same form or another form ? The prediction of the racial 
value of an individual inheritance can only be predicted by a study of 
what a man was bom with—Nature, and what happened after birth_ Nurture.

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