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September 22, 1917


Author Affiliations

Clinical Professor of Neurology, Washington University Medical School ST. LOUIS

JAMA. 1917;LXIX(12):955-956. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590390005002

It is still quite the custom in professional as well as in lay circles to tag the proverbial neurasthenic a physiologic enigma, or a psychologic joke, or some kind of an ill-defined cross between the two. In view of the various and often fanciful versions of his disorder, there is ample room for some public ridicule. It is too bad, however, that the brunt of it should fall on the head of the poor victim and not on his traducers.

The language of some writers implies that we have gone far enough with the explanation of neurasthenia by calling it a fatigue neurosis; that essentially it is an undue fatigability of the central nervous system with morbidly increased sensitiveness or irritability. Others, impressed with the inadequacy of this deduction, especially in accounting for the psychic conditions, undertake to support a psychogenic theory and are willing to define it as primarily

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