Medical Home Remedies:
As Recommended by 19th and 20th century Doctors!
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The biggy of the late 1800's. Clearly shows the massive inroads in medical science and the treatment of disease.

ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY In fact alcohol was known to be a poison, and considered quite dangerous. Something modern medicine now agrees with. This was known circa 1907. A very impressive scientific book on the subject.

DISEASES OF THE SKIN is a massive book on skin diseases from 1914. Don't be feint hearted though, it's loaded with photos that I found disturbing.




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241                                         R
Hereditary alcoholism is an undeniable fact. ”
Alcoholism strikes a man not only in his own person, but also in his descendants.”Dr. Lunier, Paris.
“In regard to the effects of alcohol upon the descendants, anything which devitalises the parent unfavourably affects the offspring, and clinical experience supports this in the lowered height and impaired general physique of the issue of intemperate parents. It also records the fact that no less than 42 per cent of all periodic inebriates relate a history of either drink, insanity, or epilepsy in their ancestors.”—Evidence given by Dr. Robert Jones, F.R.C.S., Med. Supt. Claybury Asylum, before Inter­ Departmental Committee on Physical Deterioration, 1903.
“Drunkenness is most distinctly hereditary. It seems to me to be a very strong hereditary tendency to a special craving.” Professor
“Alcoholism in one or both parents exerts its influence ... in the production of feeble­mindedness and epilepsy, and also by lowering the normal resistive power in the offspring renders them liable to break down under various stresses later on in life and so become insane.”—Report of Royal Commission on Feeble-minded, 1908.
For many years it has been recognised by every dog-fancier and breeder of horses that the effects of heredity are indis­ putable ; but only comparatively recently has attention been drawn to the large share played by inherited qualities in the formation of the bodily and mental characteristics of human beings. We have, indeed, been extraordinarily slow to grasp the thought that children represent the life and vitality of their parents and of their parents’ parents before them, although we have long known full well that amongst the lower animals this scientific truth prevails, and that there is ample evidence of its being applicable to mankind. Although in the case of human beings thorough investigation of the subject is complicated by various factors, nevertheless, under the name of “ Eugenics “ (the science of good-begetting), a term introduced by that great student of heredity, Sir Francis Galton, F.R.S., modern science has recently opened up a department for the unravelling of these questions which affect human life and personality to so momentous a degree.
All facts show that the antecedent vitality of parents and grandparents markedly influences the lifelong health of a child and its powers of resisting disease ; in other words, the evidence indicates (speaking broadly) that for a child to be really “well-born” at least two generations of healthy men and women must have played their part honestly and well. The Mosaic law insists that the “ sins of the fathers ” affect their descendants “unto the third and fourth generations,” and the observations of modern medical and sociological science certainly tend to confirm this important but much ignored statement.
244           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
It is, of course, impossible for a mere onlooker to connect a special state of health in a girl or boy with what is observable by the outward eye in the physique of the parents, but the skilled physician finds it comparatively easy to understand the causes which account for the condition of body and mind in the children under his care, when the family history is known to him for two or three generations.
Our mental and moral characteristics also, as Darwin remarks,
“. . . are the direct outcome of preceding generations, and we, the living generations, are like the living fringe of the coral reef, resting on an extinct basis formed by our forefathers, and shall, in our turn, form a basis for our descendants.”
The scriptural proverb that “ grapes are not gathered from thorns nor figs from thistles “ is particularly applicable to this situation. That so large a number of more or less mentally and physically incapable human beings should be born year by year is surely a world­wide disgrace, seeing that life is far from being an unmitigated good unless accompanied by an average amount of mental and bodily vigour ; and yet thousands of children have their constitutions partially or wholly under­ mined before birth, while few people even protest or attempt to save them by aiming at a higher standard of thought than that which commonly prevails on this all-important subject.
Healthy Embryonic and Pre-Fatal Life
The individual, Galton tells us, is “the trustee of the germ-cells.”
In order to develop to perfection anything great or compli­ cated in nature, favourable conditions are required, and if we apply this rule to the human body or brain, we shall begin to understand the supreme importance of safeguarding the unborn child from the very earliest moment, remembering that, after all, birth is but an incident in any human life-history, a history which really begins with conception.
At its origin, every life, whether animal or vegetable, passes through a germinal phase of existence, during which period it is by no means passive, but is dependent on being surrounded by healthy and right conditions, if its subsequent development is to be a success. The original protoplasmic
cells, which unite to form the beginnings of the future child, consist of very highly endowed and specialised protoplasm, possessed of the function of “development,” thereby surpassing the powers of any other cell in the body. Now germ plasm may be initially healthy, or it may from the very first be feeble and devitalised ; it may be surrounded before it starts on the journey of life with pure blood (having itself, with all its marvellous possibilities, been nourished by the same good blood), or it may be in a state of poor nutrition, because the blood of the parent (father or mother) is depreciated by proto­ plasmic poisons, by such drugs as alcohol or lead, or by diseases such as diphtheria, syphilis, etc.
Dr. Wiglesworth,1 after studying 3450 cases of insanity during a long series of years, stated that alcoholism is a fruitful cause of idiocy, mental defect, insanity, and other nervous diseases in the offspring. He considers there is
“. . . a direct poisoning of the germ plasma itself by the alcohol circulating in the blood, and a consequent direct injury to the cells of which this structure is composed, and which by reason of the injury are prevented from developing into a stable organism. If the alcoholic poisoning of the germ cells and ovum have reached a certain degree of intensity, imbecility and even profound idiocy may be expected to result ; while if of a less degree, the injury may manifest itself in the various forms of adolescent insanity, when adult life is developing, or has been attained.”
Dr. Potts,2 from whose paper we make the above quotation, goes on to say :—
“In this connection we may reflect that when a toxin finds many victims in utero some of those who escape premature death must only just do so, and can scarcely have an average mental and physical endow­ ment. Some of these individuals may pass as normal up to a certain age, when, in consequence of their original poor stock of vitality, early mental or physical decay will appear.”
Memoir by Elderton and Pearson
Any investigation into the question of heredity, which claims to be scientific and in the least conclusive, must obtain data which are thoroughly exhaustive as regards each case under review. Otherwise entirely wrong conclusions may be drawn.
1  Journal of Mental Science, October 1902.
2   “The Relation of Alcohol to Feeble­mindedness,” British Journal of Inebriety.
246            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
Unfortunately the subject has become obscured by the recent publication, from the Galton Laboratory, of a paper by Elderton and Pearson in which it is sought to show that parental alcoholism has practically no evil effect on offspring.
If any result is to be obtained from the higher mathematical methods as claimed by Elderton and Pearson, it must be by applying these to adequate data and premises. This has not been done by these writers.
Throughout the investigation they absolutely ignore Galton’s well-known law that the contribution of the parents to the physique and mentality of a child is about one-half of the whole, that of the grandparents one-quarter, that of the great-grandparents one-eighth, and so on. When one parent only is considered, this of course gives us only one-quarter of the whole hereditary forces at work, and ignores the other three-quarters ! Consequently no conclusions whatsoever ought to have been drawn from such imperfect data as they present to us !
The inquiry purports to differentiate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic parentage, yet, as Dr. Sullivan points out,1 there is no indication as to whether the alcoholism had set in before the offspring were born. In the case of children of fourteen it is requisite to know the habits of the parents fifteen or more years previously, yet this simple precaution has been entirely over­ looked. Moreover, parents who are chosen by the Memoir to represent the effect of abstinence are not teetotalers, but are, in many cases, merely “ sober.” Now such individuals possess no claim whatever to pose in a scientific experiment or test as representing the effect of true abstinence upon the offspring !
Again, as Dr. Maurice Craig 2 points out, no value can be attached to an investigation on children under fourteen, because “ it is during the next two decades that symptoms of degeneracy usually appear.” It is “ when the real work of life begins that the child of the alcoholic parent first shows visible signs of early nervous exhaustion, morbid fears, and more serious mental disorder.”
Another striking example of the inconclusiveness of their
research is that while asserting that the “general health of
the children of alcoholic parents appears, on the whole, to be
slightly better than that of sober parents ” (we suppose they
1 Lancet, July 2, 1910.                               2 Ibid., June 25, 1910.
mean the children of sober parents !) they nevertheless state that there is a higher death-rate amongst these so-called “healthier” families than among the offspring of sober parents.
For these and other reasons it appears to us that Elderton and Pearson’s own comment on their research concerning eye­ sight may justly be applied to their whole investigation on alcohol, viz. that “the relationships” investigated are “too entangled for any definite conclusions to be drawn from the statistics.”
The fact is, the only one way in which this comparison can be properly made is by obtaining data from some source which can provide instances of genuinely abstaining families for three or four generations. These should then be compared with people in similar circumstances of life amongst whom it can be proved that drinking habits have prevailed for the same period. A careful investigation into the health and total life-history (say up to thirty years) of persons born with these two types of ancestry would be of great value.
Paternal Influence on Offspring
Although, as we have stated, some of the hereditary forces that influence a child come from more remote sources than the actual parents, nevertheless it is, of course, also true that these latter hold in their hands much power for good or evil as regards the vitality of their offspring. It is customary to consider that the greater share of the responsibility belongs to the mother, although this is questioned by some authorities. In any case, the share of the father is undoubtedly large. For instance, Professor Adami describes a series of thirty-two cases in which the fathers suffered from lead-poisoning, whilst the mothers were free from such condition. The offspring were affected adversely as to mortality, and showed signs of mental and other disturbances in a way that was very striking. Again, a case which is typical of hundreds of others is reported by Dr. Norman Kerr, in which first was born a son and then a daughter, who both mentally and physically were excellent specimens of vigorous humanity. After the birth of the daughter the father fell into habits of dissipation and rapidly became an habitual drunkard. He had four more children, of
248           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
whom one was defective in mind, while the remainder were complete idiots.
Dr. Mott has published the following instance 1 :—
Example of Drunken Father and Insane Offspring
Father. Born 1830. No family history of insanity, fits, or nervous disease. Chronic drunkard from boyhood. In asylum 12.6.76 to 11.7.76 ; and 19.1.92 to 8.2.92.
Mother. No history of insanity in family.
Daughter. Born 1860. Admitted to asylum
6.10.74. Discharged
and re­ admitted on subsequent occasions. Still in asylum.
Daughter. Born 1859. Admitted to asylum 24.10.74. Discharged
and re­ admitted on subsequent occasions. Still in asylum.
Son. Born 1862. Admitted to asylum
29.6.77. Discharged
and re­ admitted and discharged
on two subsequent occasions.
Daughter. Born 1869. Admitted to asylum
2.1.92. Discharged
and re­ admitted.
Still in
Born 1872.
to asylum
Died of
Son. Daughter. Daughter.
Not been in asylums.
Facts like these can only be explained by admitting that the condition of the health of the father has a marked influence on that of his offspring.
Possibly in this case there may have been a strain of initial mental defect in the father, which, when transmitted, was increased by the poisonous action of alcohol.
Only an insignificant number of drinkers’ children are physically and mentally normal : 17·5 per cent according to Legrain, 6·4 per cent according to Demme, and 11·7 per cent according to Demoor, etc.
Arrivé found tuberculosis in 10 per cent of drinkers’ children, but only in 1·8 per cent among the children of healthy parents.2
Professor Laitinen’s Research on very Young Offspring
By far the most important research on offspring that has as yet been attempted is that of Professor Laitinen, who reported in 1909 that he had carefully investigated the physical condition, during the first few months of life, of
1  Brit. Med. Journal, Oct. 28, 1905, “Heredity and Disease,” by F. W. Mott, M.D., F.R.S., Pathologist to the London County Asylums.
2  Alcoholism and Morphinism in Relation to Marriage, by A. and F. Leppmann, Berlin.
20,008 children (belonging to 5845 families). He divided their parents into three groups :—
(1)  Abstaining parents — those who had never since
marriage taken alcohol.
(2)  Moderate parents—those who took no more than a
single glass of Finnish Beer a day.
(3)   Drinkers—those who took more than the single glass
per day. Statistics concerning the number of living and dead children born, the weight at birth, the weekly growth for eight months afterwards, etc., showed that the children of abstainers possessed an advantage over those born to moderate drinkers ; and that the children of the moderates had an advantage over the children of the drinkers. Thus, the date at which the teeth appeared was taken as one of the tests. The abstainers’ children cut their first teeth at an average age of 4·1 months, the moderates’ children at 4·9 months, and the drinkers’ children later than six months ! At the end of eight months 27·5 per cent of the abstainers’ children were toothless, 33·9 per cent of moderates’, and 42·3 of drinkers’.
Maternal Influence
It is undisputed that the ultimate character and physique of a child is very greatly affected by the mental and physical condition of the mother. The Mosaic law insists strongly upon the importance of the observance of wise and careful regulations in regard to maternity ; and the temperate habits of the Jews, together with their obedience to certain rules laid down as necessary for married men and women, have resulted in the production of a magnificent race, possessed of greater average vitality and greater mental and moral force than is enjoyed by some of the nations of to­day who pride themselves upon being advanced in their civilisation, but who, nevertheless, are far behind the Jews as regards the health and consequent happiness of their children.
That maternal influence plays a large part in this matter has been recently enforced by scientific investigation, which establishes the fact that when the system of the mother is poisoned with a metal like lead, frequent miscarriages occur, while of the few children who are born, a high proportion are
250           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
feeble and devitalised. Alcohol, lead, and other protoplasmic poisons are all to be dreaded because of their power of under­ mining the vitality of the unborn child. Alcohol has been shown to pass in considerable quantities as such into the fœtus. Can we wonder if dire results follow ? As a matter of fact, numbers of these children are born more or less malformed or debilitated, or they are still­born or non-viable.
On the other hand, observation shows that the general vigour and level of health of children born to abstaining and in other respects healthy mothers is higher than the level of the health of children in parallel families the parents in which indulge in alcohol. It is true that at birth many children of alcohol-taking parents appear fat and well nourished, but the stamina of such children and their power of resisting disease frequently proves to be feeble, whereas the children of abstain­ ing mothers are in this respect better off.
Dr. Sullivan, “in a personal investigation carried out some years ago, ascertained that of 600 children born of 120 drunken mothers, 335 died in infancy or were still­born, and that several of the survivors were mentally defective, and as many as 4·1 per cent were epileptic”1 This same authority reports a case like that of Dr. Kerr, in which the older children of a family were ordinary normal human beings, whilst the younger ones were neurotic, impulsive, and distinctly degenerate. The mother had become an inebriate before these younger ones were born. These are no isolated cases, as all who study the matter know full well.
To the medical expert it is evident that the question of maternal inebriety is one of national urgency. A community that cares for the general efficiency of its members will obviously safeguard the health of its women, inasmuch as these, from the very fact of their maternal functions, may either themselves become the resuscitating and repairing element in the race, or else may provide many of these very elements of deterioration which are so greatly to be dreaded. With this in view, the growth of alcoholism amongst women calls for legislative action from those who are sincerely interested in the future of the nation.
“ A strong sidelight upon the prevalence of drinking among women was
Alcoholism, chap. on “Alcoholism and Degeneration.”
thrown at the annual meeting of 1906, held in Liverpool, by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. It was stated that during the twelve months the five inspectors employed by the local branch had dealt with no fewer than 10,288 cases, 10,007 being cases of ‘general neglect’ ; and it was added that in the experience of the committee, ‘ the primary cause of the misery, cruelty, and neglect revealed is drunkenness, a crime by no means confined to the male parent, but largely shared by the mother.’ ”
Influence of Parental Alcoholism on the Nervous Systems of Children
The brunt of the evil heritage caused by alcoholism falls upon the nervous system of the next generation.
Owing, first, to the deterioration of the germ cells, and, secondly, to the impoverishment of the system of the mother during the important months of pregnancy, children of such parentage frequently possess an enfeebled nervous organisation at birth. It may be impossible to recognise this immediately, although even during infancy impaired nerve vitality frequently shows itself in convulsions, meningitis, and other debilities.
With regard to mental development, many children of alcoholic parentage show signs of stupidity, mental deficiency, moral instability, and lack of normal control, whilst others exhibit idiocy, epilepsy, and hysteria, together with various unbalanced cravings.
The characteristic mental trait of the child of the inebriate mother is a warped or stunted intelligence accompanied by impulsive, uncontrolled actions. Parental intoxication tends to produce “impulsive degenerates” and moral imbeciles.
Mönkemöller found in the reformatory school of the town of Berlin hereditary taint due to parental alcoholism in 67·2 per cent of all the pupils.
Moreover, it would appear that it is not only in the case of parents who are habitual drinkers that the offspring are affected thus adversely. In a recent thesis on the subject,1 the author, a doctor, shows the close connection between the alcoholic conditions of the parents and the consequent detriment to the offspring. In these asylums, out of 2554 admissions, 1053 (i.e. 41 per cent) were the offspring of drunken parents, i.e. 933 had drunken fathers, 80 had drunken mothers, and 40 had both parents drunken. Concerning about 450 of these children
1 Dr. Eugene Trousson, L’Intoxication alcoolique chez les enfants.
252           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
no information could be gathered, while the remaining 451 were said to have “ sober ” parents. The investigation did not include, however, the habits of grandparents with regard to alcohol, and by the law of averages it is probable that some of these other children had grandparents who took alcohol freely, influencing thereby the mental development of their grand­ children. During the present century there will be, in England at any rate, a considerable number of both parents and grandparents who are total abstainers from all alcoholic liquids, and it will be of interest to note whether they possess as offspring children who are idiots and epileptic, or whether their families can claim freedom from this disaster.
With the four great classes of mental deterioration in children we now propose to deal, indicating where the alcohol factor in the parents appears to have an influence.
(1)  Idiocy and imbecility.
(2)   Epilepsy.
(3)   Feeble­mindedness.
(4)  Mental deficiency as shown in school-work.
1. Idiocy and Imbecility a result of Parental Alcoholism
According to the authority of Drs. Shuttleworth and Fletcher-Beach, parental alcoholism is a factor in 161/3 per cent of the cases under their care at the Royal Albert and Darenth Asylum for Idiots and Imbeciles. Analysis of 2380 of their histories shows that consanguinity, consumption, epilepsy, mental disease, etc., in the parents, form other factors, the history of intemperance being associated with one or more of these in the percentage above stated.
It may be noted in passing that this 16 per cent refers only to actual intemperance in one or both parents, which at the time when the investigation was made, some years ago, was the only point at practical issue. In the light, however, of our present knowledge of the action of even small doses of alcohol upon the nervous system (see Chap. V.), it is not unwarrantable to suggest that probably the depressing action of even ordinary doses of alcohol upon the developing brain of the unborn child is more profound than is at present recognised, and that hence alcohol may be a more potent cause of idiocy than the foregoing figures represent.
2. Epilepsy often caused by Parental Alcoholism
There is very strong evidence to show that parental alcoholism is one of the most frequent causes of epilepsy in children.
Epilepsy and imbecility often go hand in hand, but if for the moment we deal with epilepsy alone, we find that alcoholic mothers possess a far larger number of children afflicted with epilepsy than do the ordinary mothers of the same social position.
In an investigation by Dr. W. C. Sullivan as to the health of 219 children who had alcoholic mothers, it was found that 4·1 per cent became epileptic, whereas in the general mass of the population the frequency of epilepsy averages below ½ per cent. Other writers have found that from 12 to 15 per cent of the surviving offspring of alcoholics become epileptic.
Dr. Legrain 1 personally followed up the descendants of 215 drunkards, and found that in these descendants epilepsy, insanity, and other nervous disorders were extremely common. He also found that the families rapidly died out—a large number of the children dying young.
Alcoholism in Parents a cause of Insanity in their Children
It will be noted in the paragraph above that, in addition to suffering from idiocy and epilepsy, the children of alcoholics often become insane. This, after all, is only what may be expected when we once learn to recognise the extreme sensi­ tiveness of the nervous system to drugs, and its peculiar susceptibility to the poisonous effects of alcohol.
3. Feeble-Mindedness
Public attention is at this moment being directed to the “problem of the feeble-minded,” and those experts who have devoted most attention to the subject regard alcohol as certainly one of the causative factors in that deterioration of brain-tissue which lies at the real root of the mental inability and feeble­ mindedness of so many human beings.2
1  Social Degradation and Alcohol, by Dr. Legrain.
2  It is estimated that in England, Scotland, and Wales in 1908 there were 149,628 feeble-minded persons apart from certified lunatics.
254            ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
“Examining out of many family histories 150 cases of mental defect, in regard to which he was able to satisfy himself that he had collected historic data, Dr. Tredgold, physician to the Littleton Home for Defective Children, found in 46·5 per cent of the families a history of well-marked alcoholism ; in 38·5 per cent of the cases combined with neuropathic inheritance.” 1
As a result of a personal medical research into the histories of 250 feeble-minded children, Dr. Potts 2 found that there was a distinct history of alcoholism in the ancestry of 104 of the cases. 18 per cent of the cases had a phthisical history in the family in addition to the alcoholic inheritance, and in 11·8 per cent of the cases there was an insane and alcoholic inheritance combined. Dr. Potts 3 says : “ It is quite plain that in combination with other bad factors alcoholism is a most unfavourable element, while maternal drinking and drinking continued through more than one generation are potent influences in mental degeneracy.”
In addition to those whose feeble­mindedness is quite apparent, we have in our midst thousands of children more or less mentally deficient, many of whom are attending our day-schools, and are the despair of their teachers, by whom they are known as “dullards.” These supply the ranks of the criminal and vicious who fill our reformatories, workhouses, and gaols, and their numbers are reinforced by a large contingent of other children who, although fairly bright at their lessons, are nevertheless morally defective.
People recognise that it is the duty of the Legislature to deal with such facts as these, but we would point out that it is no less the duty of science to indicate the cause or causes of this state of things, in order that measures which are really preventive and remedial may take the place of those which, for want of fuller knowledge, are at present in vogue. It is not sufficient to spend money freely in striving to isolate these “ degenerates nor even in attempting to educate their permanently impaired (and consequently more or less hopeless) brains ; some scheme is needed whereby their creation shall be checked, and such flagrant deterioration of nerve tissue be prevented from occurring. In as far as this deterioration is
1  Royal Commission on Feeble-minded, vol. viii. p. 135.
2  Evidence before Royal Commission on the Care and Control of the Feeble-minded, 1908.
3  The Relation of Alcohol to Feeble­mindedness.
due to the taking of a drug or drugs, we contend that the State ought certainly to interfere and strive to improve the social habits of the community, when these habits threaten to undermine national efficiency and vitality.
4. Mental Deficiency as shown in the School-Work of Children
In a study of the mental deficiency of ordinary children undertaken in 1901 for the New York Academy of Medicine by Dr. MacNicholl, the effect of alcohol as a factor in the causation of such deficiency was strikingly shown. Fifty-five thousand school children were examined. Of these 58 per cent were below the required standard of, intelligence, 17 per cent being actual “dullards,” 25 per cent “very deficient,” and the other 16 per cent merely deficient.
The habits of the parents with regard to alcohol is reported in 20,147 cases :—
Children of drinking parents . .       6,624
,, ,, reported dullards            53 per cent.
Children of abstaining parents . .     13,523
,, ,, reported dullards            10 per cent.
The family histories of 3711 children were traced through three generations. This was done in great detail with regard to the taking of alcohol. Of the children of abstaining parents and abstaining grandparents only 4 per cent were “dullards,” whereas of the children of abstaining parents but drinking grandparents, 78 per cent were “dullards.”
Dividing the 3711 children into two classes, viz. those free from hereditary alcoholic taint, and those with hereditary alcoholic taint, we note very striking contrasts :—
(1)   Of those free from hereditary alcoholic taint— 96 per cent were proficient,
4 per cent were dullards, 18 per cent suffered from some neurosis or organic disease.
(2)  Of those with hereditary alcoholic taint— 23 per cent were proficient,
77 per cent were dullards.
Of these dull children more than one-third were very deficient.
256           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
Of these same children with hereditary alcoholic taint,
76 per cent suffered from some neurosis or organic
“At a discussion on this subject at the Vienna Congress
against alcoholism, a medical man stated that the teachers in
wine­growing districts of Lower Austria know that a supply of
very bad scholars in any one year denotes a good vintage six
years previously.” 2
Alcohol and Infant Mortality
In connection with the outcry about our declining birth-rate, attention is being turned to the grievous waste of infant life which occurs during the first few months after birth. It is a curious fact that, although our knowledge of disease and its prevention has resulted in the lowering of the general death-rate, it has failed to lessen the appallingly high death-rate of infants, which has not decreased materially during the last twenty-five years. Several factors are at work in causing this mortality, overcrowding, insanitary dwellings, hand-feeding in place of breast-feeding, alcoholism and disease, all being to blame. The part played by alcohol is unfortunately a very considerable one, it being both directly and indirectly re­ sponsible for the death of many infants, because of its power of directly inducing :
(1)  Lowered vitality of offspring,
(2)   Deficient lactation on the part of mothers.
With the first of these effects we have already dealt in the earlier portion of this chapter. As regards the second, inas­ much as it concerns a piece of research-work not yet confirmed or repeated, and still under criticism, we have preferred to quote from the original author, Professor Bunge, of Bâle, in full, leaving to him the full responsibility of the theory promulgated.3
2. Deficient Lactation.—A very large number of infants die annually, or have their health permanently injured, because
1   “A Study of the Effect of Alcohol on School Children,” Medical Temperance Review, Aug. 1905.
2  Alcoholism and Morphinism in Relation to Marriage. Drs. A. and F. Leppmann.
3   “Die zunehmende Unfähigkeit der Frauen ihre Kinder zu stillen.” G. von Bunge.
they do not receive the mother’s milk, which in a normal woman ought to flow in sufficient quantities to provide for the child’s sustenance for six or nine months after birth.
So important and so serious to the race is this failure in the maternal economy that it has led to a prolonged investigation by Professor Bunge, who considers that a normal woman ought to be able to suckle her child for nine months.
“Setting out from purely scientific researches, carried out without the least idea of their tendencies, or the slightest preconceived idea, I have for the last thirty years occupied myself with chemical researches on the composition of milk. I have compared human milk with the milk of the other mammals, and these researches have made me perceive that the composition of milk is one of the greatest marvels of living nature. I have seen with what circumspection nature had adapted the composition of milk to the needs of each species of mammal ; how it has known to mingle the component parts of the milk in a precise relation to the wants of the nursling, so that it may grow and become identical with that of its parents. Then needs are very different in the different mammals, especially in proportion to the fact that the rapidity of increase of the different species in itself is very,variable. . . . Human is more complex in composition than the milk of all the other ma7nmals. We find therein a substance, namely lecithine, which serves for the construction of the brain, because the weight of that of the child’s is relatively the highest.
“These indications suffice to show that we could not replace the milk of one species of mammal by another without injury to the nursling ; and notably that we could not replace human milk by the milk of the cow. All practical experience is unanimous on this point. Consequently all imaginable attempts have been tried artificially to make cow’s milk to resemble human milk ; water has been added, and sugar, etc., without ever attaining the end desired.
“ Many physicians are of the opinion that if artificial feeding is care-fully carried out children get on as well as they do with maternal lactation. That is quite unlikely. If we wished to verify the truth of that assertion, we should not content ourselves with comparing the development of the children at the first year of their lives. We ought to pursue the comparisons during the whole course of their lives. No such researches exist. But even if we admit that, by a careful direction of artificial lactation, the children might be as prosperous as if they had been fed by the breast, we should nevertheless have to confess also that among the majority a careful direction will never be possible, simply because we can never replace the powerful instinct of maternal love by a feeding-bottle. It is only when the mother carries her infant on her breast that these cares can be sufficient. Such is the wish of nature ; the infant ought to remain close to the mother. The mother is thus forced to take care of the infant as she does of herself, and even more, to sacrifice herself to it.
“Statistical data plead in favour of this principle. It has, for in­ stance, been ascertained in Berlin that in the case of infants fed by cow’s milk, the mortality in the first year of life is six times as high as it is among those fed by breast milk. It is possible that the situation may be
258           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
better in other cities ; but we may, however, affirm that, in all civilised peoples, in good or bad years, hundreds of thousands of infants are killed by feeding on cow’s milk, and even more than killed, let us say tortured, by a slow death.
“ The question may be put : Why women do not effectively suckle their infants? Some put forward the difficulty of so doing ; others are prompted to it by bad husbands. But these only form a very small minority. The number is greater of those women whom professional occupation keep from lactation. But these also form a minority. The majority of the women who do not suckle their infants are composed of those who cannot, physically speaking, do so. The quantity of milk is not sufficient ; artificial feeding must be superadded, and, at the end of some weeks or months, the source of the milk is completely dried up. This inability to suckle is in constant increase. In the towns of Germany and Switzerland more than half of the women are already attacked by this inability.1
“ I have made it my task to find out the causes of this inability by means of statistical procedures. I first of all found it to be hereditary. When a woman is unable to suckle, it is almost without any exception that her daughter cannot do so, and the power appears to be lost for all the next generation. If we inquire of a woman who has suckled her infant successfully for nine months or more, if her mother had equally been able to suckle, the reply is almost without exception in the affirmative. If we ask a woman who has not been able to suckle her infant for the full time, we find that already her mother has not been able to do so, in the majority of cases, but not in all. There are some cases, and these are not rare, where the mother having been able to suckle, the daughter has not been able to do so. Here we are close to the causes of the incapacity, and shall find it in the father, and we at once encounter alcoholism. In 78 per cent of these cases, in my statistics, the father is an immoderate drinker. On the other hand, in the families where the mothers and daughters can suckle their infants, drunken­ ness is rare ; in other words, that the daughter of a drunkard is in a position to be able to properly suckle her infant is a rare case. The rule is, that if the father is a drunkard, the daughter loses her power of suckling.”
The extreme importance of this subject cannot be over­ estimated, and it is much to be desired that a similar research should be established in other countries in order to determine whether in general a deficient activity of the mammary gland can be traced to parental inebriety.
Milk Sugar—a Non-Fermentable Sugar.—For many years physiologists have been puzzled as to why Nature chose to put into the milk of animals a sugar which is probably the most indigestible of all sugars. Cane sugar, beet sugar, glucose, and malt sugar are the ordinary sugars found in nature, and are readily attacked by all the ordinary yeasts,
1 By “inability” Prof. Bunge means inability to suckle for nine months.
thereby producing alcohol. Now lactose or milk sugar is the one sugar that the yeasts do not attack.
“ The young animal—in the case of the human, the baby— is constantly taking micro-organisms into its mouth and into its digestive canal, and we know that wherever there is dust there are these microbes, and there are various forms of yeast which cannot possibly be kept out of dust. . . .
“ Nature, in her very great wisdom, has ordained that the one sugar which yeasts do not attack should be the sugar present in milk—lactose, which, even if it fermented at all, would pro­ duce a rather innocent body called lacticeid, and would not ferment into alcohol. And so it is that if bacterial fermentation does occur in the baby’s mouth or stomach, Nature has ordained that the product of that fermentation shall not be alcohol.” l
Indirect Effect of Alcohol in causing Infant Mortality.
—Briefly summarised, the indirect effect of alcohol in leading to infant mortality is as follows :—
(a)  Money is wasted by the parents on alcohol, although re­ quired to buy good food and milk for the mother and the child. There is a popular belief that stout and porter taken by a nursing mother lead to an increased secretion of milk, and so it happens that many a woman takes these liquids in the honest faith that they are helping her to feed her child. The real truth is that although malt liquors stimulate for a time a secretion of extra milk, this secretion is of a watery nature, and is therefore of inferior nutritive value to the child. For in­ stance, cows are frequently fed upon malt grains in order to increase the amount of milk they supply regardless of its quality.
(b)  The inertness of body and mind induced by alcohol leads to maternal laziness and neglect, whereby dirt and semi-starva-tion prevail in the home and often lead to illness and death.
(c)  The drowsiness and lethargy of the alcohol - taking mother is recognised as a frequent cause of the overlaying of infants. Thus Dr. Templeman states : —
“ There can be no doubt, too, that drunkenness on the part of parent! is a very important factor in the production of our infant mortality. Apart from the effects of this on the child in utero, there is another aspect as a rule, in one and two-roomed homes, and in a large majority of cases to which I could allude, viz. deaths from overlaying. These cases occur,
1 Professor Osborne, M.B., C.C.H., D.Sc.
260             ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
in families in which the parents are of dissipated and dissolute habits, and living amidst squalor and filth. Of 461 cases which have come under my own observation as Surgeon of Police during the past twenty years, no fewer than 219, or 47 per cent, occurred between Saturday night and Sunday morning, a fact which speaks for itself,”
In an investigation Herbert Davies, M.A.,
Comparison of Cases of Suf­ focation of Infants by overlaying with cases of arrest for drunkenness according to days of the
onducted by Dr. Hugh R. Jones and B.Sc, it was shown that during the twenty-five years, 1863-87, out of every 1000 children born in Liver­ pool, 9 died during infancy by violent means, whereas the rate for all Eng­ land is only 3. “When we came to
investigate the causes of this deplor­ able state of things, we were led irresistibly to one conclusion. We found that the rate of infant mortality varied with the rate of drunkenness as measured by the apprehensions for drunkenness per 1000 inhabitants. We further found that the death-rate of infants from violence varied also with the rate of intemperance.
“ Take again the question of infant suffocation. If the deaths from suffocation (all England) be classified according to the day of the week upon which they occur, it will be seen that more than twice as many are referable to Saturday night than to any other night of the week. If we examine the apprehensions for drunkenness in Liverpool in a similar manner, a parallel series of figures is obtained and if the two series be
Fig. 31.—The dotted line indi­ cates arrests for drunkenness, and the thick line deaths from suffoca­ tion.
plotted as curves, the identical form of the two curves is very apparent.”1
In 1903-4 the mean annual number of deaths of children in London from overlaying was 612. The large majority of cases occurred on Saturday and Sunday nights.
1 “Excessive Infant Mortality in Liverpool and its Prevention.” Liverpool Med, Chir. Journ., 1894.
The Question of Parental Alcoholism studied in Animals
Of great interest in this connection are the facts published by Professor Hodge with regard to the influence of alcohol upon the progeny of animals.
The investigations were made with the dogs already alluded to (p. 95), and so striking were his results that he considers them to be “ the most definite of the entire research.”
To the two dogs who were given alcohol with their food, 24 puppies were born, many of which were deformed or dead. In fact, out of 24 puppies in four consecutive litters only 4 proved viable ; and finally, after giving birth to 3 perfectly formed but dead whelps, the mother, in spite of very prompt assistance and the best care, died also. On examining her body, it was found that the womb was in a state of fatty degeneration.
Matters were very different on the side of the normal pair. Out of 45 puppies born in eight consecutive litters, 41 were “viable and exceptionally vigorous.” Three puppies had hare lips.
After alluding to another similar series of experiments on other dogs, the author continues :—
“In the matter of non-viability these puppies (of the dogs who took alcohol) seemed as inexplicable as many cases in man. They simply would not put forth the least effort to make a “live” of it. I spent hours milking into their mouths, but to no avail. Examination of the brains of a number of these pups failed to show any trace of medullation ; whereas normal pups killed at birth were found to possess medullated fibres in the sensori-motor areas. This seems to be the only clue to their lack of vigour. “ 1
Professor Hodge quotes in the following table the “ strikingly similar results of Professor Demme, obtained from comparative observations upon alcoholic and non-alcoholic families “ :—
10 Alcoholic Families.
10 Normal Families.
Number of children
Idiotic ....
Epileptic, choreic .
0 (2 backward)
Normal ....
10 = 17 per cent
54 = 88·5 per cent
Physiological Aspects of the Liquor Problem, vol. i. p. 374.
262          ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
Researches as to the Effect of Alcohol upon Hens’ Eggs
In 1894-1903 Dr. Féré made experiments upon the influence of alcohol on hens’ eggs hatched in incubators. Alcohol was applied as a vapour or by means of injection, and in every case there were control specimens hatched in other incubators without being subjected to such toxic agency. His results showed conclusively a large percentage of abnormalities in the chickens hatched under the influence of alcohol. This appeared in the form of deformities, monstrosities of body, and feebleness and lack of intelligence and of instinct (conditions comparable to the idiocies and imbecilities of mentally deficient children), while a large percentage of the chickens were found dead or still­born. Eggs hatched under normal conditions did not present anything approaching the above proportion of abnormality.
Other Researches
“ When guinea-pigs are subjected to the continuous use of alcohol during pregnancy morbid changes are found in the brain of the offspring. There is also a marked stunting and deficiency of growth and weight. There is a much greater tendency to disease and death.” 1
Professor Laitinen has studied, with especial care, the effect of very small doses of alcohol (one-tenth of a cubic centimetre per kilogram of the animal’s weight) given daily for eight months to rabbits and guinea-pigs. Fifty-one per cent of the offspring of the alcoholised animals survived, whilst of the “ control ” cases, to which only water was given, 62 per cent of the offspring lived.
His results with regard to weight may be tabulated as follows :—
Aveight of
Newly Born.
increase of
weight of
Newly Born.
Average daily increase of | Weight.
Water and alcohol
given to parents Water alone given
to parents
79 grms. 87·9 ,,
7·13 grms. 9·46 ,,
73·4 grms. 77·3 ,,
4·3 grms. 5·2 ,,
1 The Hygiene of Mind, Clouston.
Concerning the above facts, and other equally important investigations on other branches of the subject, Prof. Laitinen says :—
“We are evidently forced to the conclusion that all these various methods of research point in one direction only, and have demonstrated the injurious effect of even the smallest quantities of alcohol. “
The Influence of Heredity upon Inebriety
The question is sometimes debated as to how far the tendency to inebriety is inherited. Proof is wanting as regards the existence of a distinct inebriate diathesis which is handed on and cannot be resisted, and by means of which the drinker suffers early elimination from the race. On the other hand, careful scientific investigation shows that the children of inebriates tend to inherit (see p. 251) a faulty or­ ganisation and an impaired type of nervous system, which often leads to their also falling victims to the “ craving” for alcohol, especially when surrounding social and industrial conditions encourage indulgence in its use.
In order to elucidate the influence of heredity as a direct or indirect cause of inebriety, a prolonged investigation, lasting thirteen years, was undertaken by a committee of doctors in America, the results of which have not yet received full publication. In a preliminary statement, Dr. Crothers, their chairman, reports that the histories of 1744 cases of inebriety have been obtained, which may be classified as follows :—
Distinct history of heredity . . . . . . . .    1080
Disease, injury, shocks, strains, and infection .      390
Starvation and poisoning . . . . . . . .180
Exposure, ignorance, mental contagion . . .        85
Causes too complex for classification . . . . .          9
He says :—
“The heredity of inebriety is established from such studies beyond all possible question and doubt. The central conclusion, which cannot be stated too strongly, is : that the injury from alcohol to the cell and nervous tissue is transmitted to the next generation with absolute certainty in some form or other. It may not always appear in the drink and drug symptoms, but the injury breaks out again in some neurotic trouble, defect, or predisposition.
“Part of the tragedy which surrounds this question of heredity is due to the fact that some children inherit from parents accustomed to
264           ALCOHOL AND THE HUMAN BODY chap.
moderate drinking a food craze and abnormal hunger which never seems to be satisfied. This early provokes dyspepsia and inebriety.
“Another class is born with a precocious sexual instinct, which seeks gratification apparently without limit or control.”
Often there appears to be a passing over of inherited pre­ dispositions from one to a third or fourth generation, the descendants being liable to instability and lack of will-power, and to “ invalidism ” of all grades and types ; persons, namely, whose lives are a perpetual struggle against some bodily or nervous difficulty.1
Whether the actual taste for alcohol is ever inherited is at present a somewhat open question ; but in face of the fact that so many other “ cravings ” haunt the life of the descend­ ant of alcoholic parents, it seems not unlikely that he should possess a sense of “ need ” for the sedative effect of the drug.
Special Inheritance of Nervous Instabilty.—As pointed out by Dr. Clouston, there are, unfortunately, in the British Isles thousands of persons who have inherited from alcoholic parents an impaired type of nervous system which makes its owner more susceptible to the action of alcohol than would be a normal person.
These persons possess but feeble brains and their will-power is below normal ; for them, therefore, any alcoholic drink is liable to be a dire mistake, since it may arouse a craving which has so far lain dormant, but which, when once awakened, cannot be controlled by the feeble will-power at their command. Many of these persons drink because they simply have no will-power to abstain.
Conclusion.—That alcohol affects disastrously the minds and bodies of innocent unborn children must be the undoubted conclusion of those who weigh the evidence of this chapter ; and the question arises as to whether any opening exists whereby the appalling force of hereditary influence can be mitigated.
It must always be borne in mind that the upward trend of evolution is in favour of the effacement of morbid and wrong tendencies ; that all things being equal, the good surmounts the evil, and that it is health which strives to have the last
1 Note to Second Edition, 1908.—The committee under Dr. Crothers are continuing their work, and have accumulated over 3000 cases which confirm in every particular the points enumerated above.
word. Hence the existence of an alcoholic tendency in a family is not to be regarded as implicating all its members, but merely means that being forewarned they should be able to counteract any special dangers which may have been inherited, by assiduously cultivating habits of right living and by the careful avoidance of the use of alcohol in any form— this being a danger which they are forbidden to brave.

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