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June 29, 1940

The Genetics of Schizophrenia: A Study of Heredity and Reproduction in the Families of 1,087 Schizophrenics

JAMA. 1940;114(26):2591-2592. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810260077036

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This book presents the results of a study of 1,087 schizophrenic probands and their families. The material, obtained in a German population, by painstaking investigation of schizophrenic patients in the Herzberge Hospital of Berlin between 1893 and 1902, although unselected, was rigorously classified. All blood relations were exhaustively surveyed and discriminately diagnosed. Statistical, classificatory, demographic and social analysis yielded figures for fertility, mortality, disease expectancy and genetic data.

The author, in his foreword, states that the principal aim of the investigations was to offer conclusive proof of the inheritance of schizophrenia and to establish a dependable basis for the clinical and eugenic activities of psychiatry. Analysis of the data reveals hereditoconstitutional factors having a decisive influence in the origin of schizophrenia, as the following conclusions indicate:

  1. Families affected by schizophrenia show a progressive and uninterrupted social decline.

  2. Germinally affected and overt schizophrenic individuals show a lowered marriage and

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