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Article
December 11, 1897

HEREDITY AND MENTAL DISEASE.

JAMA. 1897;XXIX(24):1225-1226. doi:10.1001/jama.1897.02440500039008

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Abstract

It has been a matter of general belief amongst the alienists that without predisposition of some kind there would be but comparatively few cases of mental disease. But predisposition in this sense means not only brain weakness or ancestral taint of insanity, but every form of physical or mental deficiency that rendered its subject to any extent unequal to the special condition of stress that produced the mental failure. In this sense any individual of the lower races or of savage or barbarous tribes, and to a lesser extent, of the uncultured and primitive populations of the higher races, so far as he is capable of being affected by the more complex condition of the highest civilization, is mentally handicapped and the more liable to succumb to conditions that are harmless to mental health in others better fitted by culture and evolution and especially by the hereditary accustomance to these

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