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November 26, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(22):1311-1314. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.02450220049010

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One of the problems actively discussed in biology is the origin of the atrophies and hypertrophies which mark both evolution and its reverse phase, degeneracy. The fact was early recognized by biologists that man is a compound animal in whom certain structures are endowed with their own nervous system, which is under control of the central nervous system. As has been pointed out by E. S. Talbot ("Degeneracy: Its Scope, Causes and Effects"), every vertebrate is an aggregate whose internal actions are adapted to counterbalance its external actions. Hence preservation of its movable equilibrium depends upon its development and the proper number of these actions. The movable equilibrium may be ruined when one of these actions is too great or too small, and through deficiency or need of some organic or inorganic cause in its surroundings. Every individual can adapt itself to these changeable influences in two ways: either directly,

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