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December 7, 1889


JAMA. 1889;XIII(23):815-817. doi:10.1001/jama.1889.02401190021006

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The dependence of a large percentage of crime upon the abuse of alcohol is a matter of everyday observation, and the relation of cause and effect is no longer seriously questioned. The rôle that alcohol plays in the causation of insanity is for many reasons a much more obscure and difficult problem. The determination of the causal factors in any given case of mental alienation, even in so-called puerperal cases, is at best and necessarily but a summation of the probabilities. The facts upon which the decision is to rest are difficult to obtain and, when elicited, usually point to a number of predisposing conditions and a pleurality of possible exciting causes. In American communities the difficulties are amplified by the transition state of our populace. What to-day are hamlets, in a decade are towns, and in a score of years may be cities. All habits and modes of living

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