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JAMA 100 Years Ago
August 11, 1999


Author Affiliations

Edited by Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.

JAMA. 1999;282(6):590. doi:10.1001/jama.282.6.590


Superintendent of Walnut Lodge Hospital;
Editor Journal of Inebriety.

The physiologic action of opium and its alkaloids, with symptomatologies, is becoming more familiar with the increasing frequency of cases and studies of many persons. As in other fields of research, there are vast stretches of unknown lands awaiting discovery, and many new facts in the etiology, progress and treatment to be seen and described. My purpose is to point out a new phase in the symptomatology, and describe a condition which has been noticed, but not defined or studied before. I shall use the term "palsy of the higher psychic centers" to describe in part this condition. The former personality of the person is lost, and he acts from a different point of view; his conduct and thoughts vary widely from former conditions, and he seems to have new purposes and changing motives, foreign to any previous life. These strange inconsistencies of conduct and thought come into legal notice, in the question of responsibility in crime. The apparent cunning, honesty and reasoning are so unusual and foreign to all theories of mental failures that the expert is unable to detect any defined insanity, and yet, he can not doubt that some condition of brain disturbance is present.

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