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February 4, 1905


Author Affiliations

Professor of Nervous and Mental Diseases. Jefferson Medical College; Neurologist to the Philadelphia Hospital. PHILADELPHIA.

JAMA. 1905;XLIV(5):355-358. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500320019001b

In the writings of some of the earlier authors, notably Pinel, Spurzheim and Esquirol, we find that they recognized the affection now so widely known as dementia præcox. This recognition was, to be sure, vague and imperfect; the affection was naturally confounded with other dementias, paretic, organic and alcoholic and yet these early writers were aware that there was a form of idiocy which was not congenital, and which supervened only after the organism had attained a certain degree of development. Spurzheim, for instance, speaks of an "accidental idiocy," while Esquirol speaks of "accidental and acquired" idiocy; thus the latter says that there are children who are very well at birth, who increase in stature at the same time that their intelligence develops and who are very sensitive, lively, irritable, passionate and possessed of a brilliant imagination, a developed intelligence and an active spirit. This activity, not being in