IN A lecture published in the Lancet in 1902, Gowers1 spoke of "death" as having two aspects. There is death of the whole body, somatic death, but there is also death of parts of the body.Some of them may slowly die, while the life of all the rest goes on without impairment. They may die from many causes, some early, inevitably, from a grave defect of vital endurance ; some much later, the failure being only slightly premature ; and some at various times, apparently from various causes. When the failure is early it is often due only to a defect in vitality, a defect which seems to be inherent, the tendency thereto inborn. We do not, indeed, apply the word "death" to this slow decay of the elements ; we speak of it as "degeneration," but the process is in many cases, perhaps in most, an essential failure of
ELWYN H. HEREDODEGENERATIVE DISEASES OF THE RETINA: An Attempt at Classification. Arch Ophthalmol. 1946;35(6):662–669. doi:10.1001/archopht.1946.00890200677006
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