There are still people who use "congenital" and "inherited" as synonyms, and who speak of inherited (meaning congenital) syphilis, forgetting that the parent is merely the carrier of a foreign body, a spirochete, to the fetus, and that there is nothing genetic in the process. Many accept the appearance of a disease or abnormality in successive generations as absolute proof of heredity: it is not, as is shown in "miner's phthisis," in which the exposure to the same environment is the cause, and not heredity. I shall use J. Arthur Thompson's definition of heredity. He says "by inheritance we mean all the qualities or characters which have their initial seat, their physical basis, in the fertilized egg cell; the expression of this inheritance in development results in the organism. Thus, heredity is no entity, no force, no principle, but a convenient term for the genetic relation between successive generations, and
BURR CW. HEREDITY IN EPILEPSY: A STUDY OF ONE THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND FORTY-NINE CASES. Arch NeurPsych. 1922;7(6):721–728. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1922.02190120042003
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