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Dr. Langdon Down first called the attention of the profession to the fact that contracted arches and high vaults were common among idiots. Later on Dr. W. W. Ireland contributed largely toward our knowledge of and interest in these deformities. Both of these gentlemen have charge of large English institutions for the feeble-minded; both of them, but more especially Dr. Down, believed that these deformities were pathognomonic of idiocy. Dr. Ballard contended that inasmuch as these deformities were very common among idiots and, as is frequently observed, idiots suck their thumbs, therefore the high vaults and contracted arches were caused by thumb sucking. Later on we shall see that these signs are no more proof of idiocy per se than that Hutchinson's teeth are characteristic of inherited syphilis. Congenital syphilis is a constitutional disease interfering with the development and growth of the body, hence the arrest of development of the
TALBOT ES. EVIDENCE OF THE SOMATIC ORIGIN OF INEBRIETY. Read in the Section of Neurology and Medical Jurisprudence, at the Forty-third annual meeting of the American Medical Association, held in Detroit, Mich., June, 1892. JAMA. 1892;XIX(14):392–394. doi:10.1001/jama.1892.02420140006001b
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