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December 28, 1895


JAMA. 1895;XXV(26):1142-1143. doi:10.1001/jama.1895.02430520028006

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The opinion that a neurotic inheritance is the chief predisposing cause to insanity is now very generally held. Some alienists are disposed to go even further, and declare that it is mainly to the orignal constitution of the brain that we must look for the first and chief cause of mental breakdown, the ordinarily assigned causes being none of them, in themselves, sufficient to bring on insanity. It can scarcely be called into question that what is called rather indefinitely " the neurotic inheritance" does render the brain more liable to be affected by such proximate causes, and the belief is now general that, whether we can discover the fact of such inheritance by outward and visible sign or not, its existence and evil influence are indisputable. Indeed, the opinion has by a recent writer been rather dogmatically expressed in the statement that " the condition common to all mental disturbance is

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