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This paper is a clear, concise, and literate exposition of some medical aspects of severe mental retardation. The problem is viewed from the vantage point of a physician at a residential institution, although the discussion is "aimed at an intelligent lay audience." Such a general overview will be appreciated by those inexpert in biochemistry, cytogenetics, and central nervous system teratology. What the author considers, he summarizes well, with careful emphasis.
It is hard to criticize omissions in such a short paper. The author was obviously limited in space. But, he gave environmental factors short shrift. It is hard to believe that deprivation—social, cultural, emotional, and educational, a major cause of mental retardation in the United States—is not entitled to more than half a page. No mention is made of the relationship between malnutrition and developmental delay.
In conclusion, the author stresses monistic