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To the Editor:—
Your editorial on Elie Metchnikoff 203: (139, 1968) is an excellent précis of the great man's life and work.One aspect of his life which has always fascinated me is the rare combination of a superb intellect, a scientific creativity, and a psychopathological condition. You reaffirm, with respect to his psychopathological condition, a life-long pattern of manic-depressive behavior, intense emotionality, wide mood swings from optimism to pessimism, and suicidal attempts. Although it would be presumptuous to make a diagnosis from such distant information, it is suggested that he could be considered what psychiatrists now call an oral character. The uncanny relationship this conjures up is that his great discovery, phagocytosis, is the biological counterpart of the psychological problem of the oral character, the devouring of the love object.I am suggesting a clue which I would hope someone with the proper background of medical history and the
Crawshaw R. Elie Metchnikoff. JAMA. 1968;203(10):893-894. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140100075029