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normality in offspring, in the first instance, with possible constitutional subnormality in preceding generations, and only when such means of explanation have been exhausted, to search for likely external causes, such as alcoholism, poor hygiene, illness, etc.

Both Vogt and Scharffenberg emphasize the uncertainty of any connection between alcoholism in the parents and idiocy in their offspring. The first mentioned characterizes the statement by Dahl cited above as "quite exaggerated." Scharffenberg, known as one of the leaders of the Norwegian prohibition party, is "very doubtful in regard to any such relation and holds that both idiocy and alcoholism have been indications of degeneracy in the very cases upon which the assertion has been founded that the alcoholism of parents leads to feeble-mindedness in the children." As a reason for this conception, Scharffenberg calls attention to the fact that while the ratio of "feeble-minded in Norway (1900) was 22.64 males and 18.55 females per 10,000 inhabitants, the corresponding ratio for Denmark (1901) was, respectively, 14.6 and 11.7." He adds: "Norway has thus a considerably larger number of idiots than Denmark, although the Danish consumption of alcohol in the last 50 years has been more than twice as large as the Norwegian."

Bunge's investigation of the reason for the diminished ability of women to nurse their children has excited no little attention. He believes to have demonstrated that the most potent cause of this is parental alcoholism. But the very condition whose causes are sought has not been proved to exist. Several other investigations appear to show that the capacity in question is not diminishing. The manner in which Bunge collected his material and still more the inadmissible manner, from the point of view of method, in which he handled it, are of such a kind that the author himself must stand for the conclusions drawn. Bunge believes, for example, to have shown that when the capacity for nursing is lost, it cannot be regained by succeeding generations. But if parental abuse of alcohol to a large extent incapacitates daughters for nursing the children, and their daughters, in turn, cannot win it back, then it would be possible to explain the condition existing in Dalarne (province of Sweden), for instance, where almost every mother suckles her child, and this notwithstanding the fact that fathers and forefathers in the last century during the period of home distillation used and misused spirits to a tremendous extent.

How far a preconceived opinion concerning the relation

between alcoholism and degeneracy of offspring, coupled with a lack of acquaintance with statistical method of calculation, can carry an otherwise supposedly trustworthy physician, is capitally illustrated by Bezzola's statement in regard to the connection berween births of idiots in Switzerland and the use of wine. In their Eugenic Laboratory Memoirs XIII., Pearson and Elderton have subjected the investigation in question to a criticism which is as withering as it is amusing.

The results

Pearson and Elderton have published a series of studies which, in regard to the method of biological research in heredity generally as well as to the question of alcohol and heredity in particular, may without exaggeration be designated as epoch-making. of their investigations may be summed up as indicating definitely that, broadly speaking, no tangible difference is found between the physiological and psychical condition of children coming from homes where the parents use alcohol immoderately, and of children whose parents have moderate alcohol habits or are abstainers. But a definite reply is not made to the question whether the parental abuse of alcohol may damage the offspring; in other words, whether the first mentioned group of children might not have been superior to the second, if their parents had not used alcohol immoderately.

It should be clearly understood that the existence of a causative relation between alcoholism of parents and subnormality in their children has so far not been fixed by any of the investigations proceeding from the Galton laboratory (Pearson and Elderton). No more do they yield any means of differentiating the various kinds of relations which one may suppose to exist between parental alcoholism and subnormality in their children. Four different relations of this kind can be conceived:

(1). An actual hereditary relation. A certain psychic peculiarity in regard to intellectual abilities in the domain of instincts or of will, which in a given environment has caused alcoholism in the father or the mother, may reveal itself in the child and within the same or similar environment give rise to a later appearance of alcoholism. This form of hereditary alcoholism is frequently called a "hereditary craving for drink;" and one frequently comes upon the unsubstantiated and highly improbable explanation of this phenomenon, that the craving for drink in the son or daughter, instead of being an expression of the same psychic peculiarity which led the father or mother to drunkenness, has been induced by the

drunkenness of the parents. In line with this direct form of "hereditary alcoholism" may be placed an indirect form in which the alcoholism of the parents might be an expression of a psychical defect, assuming a different expression in the offspring; for instance, that of feeble-mindedness, nerve and mental diseases, criminality, etc.

(2). Alcoholism in the home may occasion an environment injurious to the children. Moral depravation, neglect of intellectual training, retarded physical development, increased liability to infection, early abuse of alcohol, etc., may result from it.

(3). Parental alcoholism may have a toxic effect on the organs of heredity.

(4). Alcoholism in the mother may have a weakening (toxic) influence upon the physique and thereby upon the embryo.

Even if all these forms of relation between "alcohol and heredity" did occur, and as to those mentioned under 1, 2 and 4 there can no longer be but one opinion, still, a negative result may be reached, according to Pearson and Elderton, in regard to the eventual existence of a difference in quality between the offspring of alcoholic and non-alcoholic parents...

In view of the overwhelming evidence research has brought together concerning the hereditariness of transmitted qualities and the laws governing it, and in view of the fact that the possibility of acquired qualities being hereditary seems more uncertain than ever, it cannot be denied that in regard to the latter the burden of proof lies with those who conceive of such a possibility and not with those who doubt it. . . .


That a state of acute intoxication is capable of affecting the offspring injuriously is most improbable already for the reason that an alcohol solution of half of one per cent., which corresponds to the alcohol contained in the blood in case of extreme intoxication, does not even influence the mobility of the spermatozaa unfavorably.

In what degree chronic alcoholism may exercise a blastophoric influence, is a question that the present results of research are not capable of answering.

To speculate under such circumstances about alcohol as a cause of the degeneracy and dying-out of whole nations is at all events unjustifiable when one bases its action upon a supposed action from individual to offspring. That alcohol, through its social

consequences, for example among savages, may bring a whole people to the brink of destruction is certain. In regard to the civilized people of Europe, and not least the Swedish, impartial research of their relation to alcohol seems to favor the hypothesis that the "organs of heredity"—perhaps through selection-have acquired a faculty of protecting themselves against alcohol rather than correctness of the current conception of these organs as especially exposed to all the poisons circulating within the body and thereby surrendering the race to all manner of destructive powers.

Thus, the question of "alcohol and heredity," may for the present be summed up by saying that, so far as hereby is meant the power of alcohol to injure the organs of heredity, research has not hitherto succeeded in showing that such an affect is produced. Moreover, the facts that have been gathered and critically worked over do not seem to support the probability of such a power; but its possibility cannot be denied.

Chapter VII.

Alcohol as a Cause of Physical and Mental Disease.

These two questions are considered: In what manner does the long continued consumption of alcohol affect the health of the individual injuriously? To what extent among the population does alcohol cause a deterioration of health and consequent diminished ability to work, illness and premature death? In seeking answers to these questions, the "moderate" use of alcohol is not considered, as the term implies a use that does not have a traceably bad effect upon health. There are persons, to be sure, who react in such a manner to a minute quantity of alcohol that one may believe it imjurious to them in the long run. In such cases it is usually the question of a psychopathic condition. This supersensitiveness to alcohol has its counterpart among persons who at once feel bad effects from drinking coffee, smoking, etc.

That a continued immoderate use of alcohol may give rise to numerous symptoms of disease and to changes in the organs which can be objectively demonstrated, is well known. But, as a rule, it is only when a complexity of different symptoms has appeared, or when a single symptom can be viewed in the light of a previous abuse of alcohol, that it is possible to determine the etiological relation between alcohol and disease in the individual case.


same is true in regard to the changes in the organs observed in the dead bodies of persons who have abused alcohol. For from the pathologic-anatomical point of view, alcohol does not seem to cause any specific changes.

Certain diseases of the liver, kidneys, heart, stomach, etc., are often mentioned as being caused by alcohol. Still, they do not invariably occur in alcoholic persons and are found entirely apart from any abuse of alcohol. The role of alcohol in producing a hardening of the arteries, and the exceedingly common ailments caused by it, has recently been industriously discussed by scientists; and it seems quite certain that the importance of alcohol in this relation as well as in connection with several other conditions of ailment has hitherto been over-estimated rather than under-valued. The only thing that at the present time can be maintained with reasonable certainty is that the abuse of alcohol clearly predisposes to some ailments; for instance, cirrhosis of the liver, which is much more common in drunkards than in others, and that it lowers vitality generally and particularly the power to resist certain infections, such as inflammation of the lungs.

The relation between alcohol and tuberculosis also constitutes an obscure chapter. It has generally been accepted that persons who abuse alcohol are more susceptible to and more easily overcome by tuberculosis of the lungs than others. Direct observation, properly sharpened to detect obvious sources of error, has not yielded any reliable information about this question. Nor have the statistical investigations made, furnished conclusive evidence. In order to gain proper insight by aid of statistics, it is necessary not only to investigate in large numbers persons afflicted with tuberculosis in regard to their drink habits, but also, which is far more difficult, to extend the inquiry to those who abuse alcohol, and find out the relative frequency of tuberculosis among them.

Although the effect of the abuse of alcohol is of such a nature that, from a pathologic-anatomical point of view, it does not seem to justify the designation of certain specific physical diseases as conditioned by alcohol, its influence upon the nervous system is decidedly more characteristic. Alcohol occasions some nervous and mental disorders which, as a rule, are well-defined. In this category belongs alcoholic poly-neuritis, delirium tremens and alcoholic hallucinosis, the two commonest forms of alcoholic mental disease, are well defined. More debatable in regard to its etiology

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