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March 28, 1908


JAMA. 1908;L(13):1042. doi:10.1001/jama.1908.02530390040010

Professor Karl Pearson,1 than whom there is no higher authority on biologic statistics, finds that his researches on the incidence of pulmonary tuberculosis rather favor the presumption of heredity being a leading if not a dominant factor. It is impossible, he admits, to assume, with the present insufficient data, that any disease is inherited in the same sense that physical and mental characteristics are inherited, but if inheritance of a consumptive tendency or diathesis is not assumed, it is difficult to explain the facts, or to see how any one escapes with the actual universal distribution of the infection, especially in dense populations. Few individuals, he says, who lead a moderately active life can escape an almost daily risk of infection. Another fact pointing the same way is that the average age at the onset of the disease is practically the same in all cases, whereas with the infection