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April 3, 1915


Author Affiliations

Instructor in Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; Attending Physician, Vanderbilt Clinic NEW YORK

JAMA. 1915;LXIV(14):1141-1147. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02570400023008

Fit morbus hereditarius et transit a patre ad filium Paracelsus, 1529.  In relation to clinical psychology and its proximate interests, psychopathology, juvenile delinquency and even pedagogics (Heilpädagogik), the problem of congenital syphilis looms up with increasing importance as the results of recent studies are examined and older data pondered anew; for we find not only that syphilis in the ascendants may account for nervous and mental abnormalities covering the entire gamut of neuropsychic disturbance—from mere nervousness to complete idiocy—but also that timely and active treatment may improve or even cure1 such neuropathy or mental enfeeblement, or arrest the progress of deterioration. The subject, besides, is rather singular inasmuch as the diagnosis is not easily inferred, the facts being purposely or not purposely withheld, or come upon by means of barest clews. With a little more knowledge of the effects of inherited lues, many a nervous symptom, neurosis and aberrant characteristic

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