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Article
May 8, 1909

THE INSANE DIATHESIS

JAMA. 1909;LII(19):1469-1471. doi:10.1001/jama.1909.25420450001001
Abstract

Early recognition of temperamental qualities which in the child, youth or adolescent indicate the existence of a predisposition to insanity, may enable the family practitioner, by timely and judicious advice, to counteract or correct the defect and so happily lessen the liability to, or entirely prevent the development of, the disease.

The phenomena which the condition presents may be readily accounted for by assuming a defect or defects in the neurons, the cell units of which the nervous system is composed, of such a nature that stimuli from the environment may not properly reach the neurons of the cortex, or, having done so, the impression made there may not be sufficiently deep and lasting or, in other words, well elaborated. Keeping in mind this conception of neuronal defect, it is easy to understand how certain individuals fail to respond to educational influences, moral or intellectual or both.

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