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March 1921


Author Affiliations

Assistant in Neuropathology, Harvard Medical School; Assistant Pathologist, Department of Mental Diseases of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts BOSTON

Am J Dis Child. 1921;21(3):240-246. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1921.01910330031003

The ever persistent effort of nature unassisted to return successive progeny more and more to a normal constitution by combating interceding infections and other adverse influences, is an old and well known fact, especially well known in the course of syphilis. In congenital syphilis this phenomenon has been observed and studied mainly from the somatic viewpoint. The marked improvement in physical condition of each succeeding child born to a syphilitic parent over the preceding one is a matter of every day obstetric experience. From observations on the psyche of congenital syphilitics, and a comparison of mental reactions in children nearer and farther removed from the source of infection, one is convinced that there is a similar progressive degradation of the syphilis toxin affecting the brain cells.

It has been the custom1 in the neurosyphilis clinic of the Psychopathic Department of the Boston State Hospital and other psychopathic hospitals2

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