November 1928

Constitutional Inadequacies: An Introduction to the Study of Abnormal Constitutions.

Author Affiliations

By Nicola Pende, M.D., Professor of Clinical Medicine, Royal University of Genoa, Italy. Translated by Sante Naccarati, M.D., Sc.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nervous and Mental Diseases, Post-Graduate Medical School of New York, New York City. With a foreword by George Draper, M.D., Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University; Chief of Constitution Clinic, Presbyterian Hospital, New York City. Price, $3.50. Pp. 270, with index. Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger, 1928.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1928;42(5):798-799. doi:10.1001/archinte.1928.00130220162009

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Shaw has taken us "back to Methuselah"; Pende takes us back to Hippocrates and Galen. This interesting monograph is a presentation, in the language of twentieth century biology and medicine, of the ancient idea of preponderance of specific humors or elements giving rise to the individual characteristics of a person. By constitution the author understands the hereditary potentialities of the individual protoplasm as modified by individual experience. "Constitution is determined principally by the internal evolutionary destiny assigned to each individual at the moment of conception."

We have no quarrel with this definition except the phrase: "at the moment of conception." Of course, it is clearly established that hereditary factors are present in the germ cells before the moment of conception. Nothing is given to the germ cells in the way of evolutionary potentials at the moment of conception except that which results from an admixture of the two germ cells.

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