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December 19, 1936


JAMA. 1936;107(25):2053. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770510043012

Sir William Gull in 1868 referred to "a peculiar form of disease occurring mostly in young women, and characterised by extreme emaciation." This condition, which involves a refusal to eat, has since become known as anorexia nervosa. Ryle,1 in the Schorstein Memorial Lecture delivered at the London Hospital October 15, discussed the present state of knowledge of this disorder. His analysis was based on a personal experience of fifty-one cases seen during sixty-one years of consulting practice. "In common with other psychoneurotic disorders," he states, "the incidence is higher in the middle and upper classes.... Motive and opportunity and perpetuating causes are more frequent in homes where circumstances do not demand active physical occupation and where sensitive natures and solicitude flourish side by side." There was specific mention of nervous heredity in only nine cases in the whole series. These included one instance of a drunken parent and two