Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 78.djvu/396

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It is stated that 60 per cent, of the crimes of violence are due to drink. All these various activities which are due to alcohol tend to break up homes, and indeed Cushny has stated that if alcohol were a new synthetic drug imported from Germany and a few cases of alcoholism had been discovered as resulting from it, there would be such an outcry against it that it would be forever prohibited. A much more valuable drug, cocaine, he says, has nearly come to this fate on account of a few isolated cases in which the cocaine habit has been formed. The writer is not a teetotaler, and yet he does not think that any one can listen to an exposition of the effects of alcohol without being willing to join in a movement for its entire prohibition, provided such a prohibition could be really effective. The trouble, of course, with such movements has been that prohibition has not in reality prohibited.

The English medical journals have of late contained several articles regarding the relationship between alcohol and insanity, and also between alcohol and heredity. Dr. Mott, who is both a physician and a pathologist, quotes from Dr. Branthwaite, that 62 per cent, of the alcoholics committed to reformatories under the English Inebriates' Act, are found to be insane or mentally defective. However, Dr. Mott is very unwilling to believe that alcohol is the cause of insanity in any such proportion. He attributes the statistics mentioned above to the marked intolerance of the mentally defective for alcohol. Dr. Mott has made many autopsies in connection with his service at the Charing Cross Hospital and the Claybury Insane Asylum. In the general service of the Charing Cross Hospital he has found cirrhosis of the liver in about 7.7 per cent, out of a total of 1,099 adult autopsies, whereas at the Claybury Insane Asylum, out of 1,271 adult autopsies he has found only 1.8 per cent, of cirrhosis of the liver. In the asylum he has had only one case of cirrhosis of the liver with ascites, and this person had been convicted 400 times in the criminal courts before having been declared insane.

Among the hospital patients, on the contrary, there were many cases of cirrhosis of the liver with ascites. Mott therefore comes to the conclusion that a person who can drink to a condition of advanced cirrhosis of the liver has inherited an inborn stable mental organization. Such individuals he finds may exhibit no previous mental symptoms beyond a weakened will and a loss of moral sense. He says there can be no doubt that neurasthenics, epileptics, imbeciles, degenerates and potential lunatics possess marked intolerance for alcohol, and failure to discriminate between what is hereditary and what is the result of alcoholism has been the cause of much confusion. Those who are alcoholics and show only weakened will-power and failing memory do not necessarily become permanently insane.

Hodge has given dogs alcohol from puppyhood to maturity in such