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Article
September 18, 1926

DEGREE OF MENTAL DEFICIENCY RESULTING FROM CONGENITAL SYPHILIS

Author Affiliations

Assistant to the Commissioner on Mental Diseases BOSTON

JAMA. 1926;87(12):907-908. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02680120017004
Abstract

Various factors have produced the prevailing opinion that congenital syphilis is of serious import as a cause of mental deficiency. In the main, this thought is traceable to early writings on the subject just subsequent to the introduction of the Wassermann reaction and preceding the standardization of the technic. The greater part of these reports are from the medical literature of Europe and consist chiefly of small groups of selected cases. The inclusion of these reports with others gave an incidence of 7.8 per cent for congenital syphilis in the feebleminded.1 Doubt of these early reports prompted the assembling of data based exclusively on American statistics. Here the defects mentioned did not exist, as the reports, for the most part, embraced entire institution populations tested between 1910 and 1925. Five and three tenths per cent of the feebleminded in this country were found to have congenital syphilis. The comparison

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