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February 15, 1941

Preface to Eugenics

JAMA. 1941;116(7):658. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820070108039

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An up-to-date knowledge of eugenics is no doubt a necessity for medical men. Although this constitutes "a new responsibility for an already overburdened profession, it is also a new opportunity for service, perhaps one of the greatest that remains after the conquest of the infectious diseases." Today many couples, Osborn points out, undoubtedly restrict the size of their families because of fear that their children may inherit some familial defect. In the present state of knowledge they must act on insufficient grounds, for doctors are not trained to give advice of this sort and there is no one else to whom they can turn. "Only the doctor sees in intimate detail the interplay of environment and heredity in which disease and defect may develop, and therefore he alone is qualified to diagnose and interpret the results." The problems which these factors present are by no means academic in nature. Even

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