This section is from the "Impaired Health: Its Cause And Cure" (Volume 1) book, by John H. Tilden. Also available from Amazon: Impaired health its cause and cure: A repudiation of the conventional treatment of disease
When a subject showing so much degeneration of the vital processes is unfortunate in becoming acutely infected by any type of septic poisoning, ranging from venereal infection, through the infectious fevers, to infected injuries and surgical operations, his system will prove a favorable culture-medium for the spread of the poisoning. The infectious fevers will develop the worst types. Venereal infections will act very severely, glandular inflammations will spread rapidly, and the system will show little resistance. Treatment will be slow in bringing about a change for the better. Anti-syphilitic medication, without correcting errors in eating, must fail.
Infectious fevers show a great mortality among such subjects. These are the subjects with whom modern syphilitic treatment plays such havoc. The most degenerated of this type are sterile; those who can pass nature's censorship and propagate are curable, and there is no transmission except an acute susceptibility to take on tuberculosis or syphilis, when the habits which lead to degeneracy are formed. A proper environment would lead away from such tendencies; but this influence seldom exists so long as children remain with parents, and parents remain ignorant of the health laws, and continue to practice vitiating habits. Children born. of such parents not only have a tendency to take on parental habits, but they are educated into them.
Postnatal influences cause degeneracies that are often ascribed to prenatal influences and inheritance.
The degenerating habits of the average parents during the gestation period, or during that period when a family is being raised, are quite enough to build a tuberculous or syphilitic diathesis. Excess in eating and excess in venery develop such a state of toxin poisoning that children are born more or less incumbered with flesh, and with such a sensitive state that they have little resistance. They soon develop toxemia; their lymphatic system takes on adenitis and lymphatic inflammations very easily. These are the children who develop borderland symptoms of scrofula, tuberculosis, and syphilis--they can satisfy the physician who is a syphilomaniac with all the thrills of a great discoverer.
Toxin poisoning from excessive eating, enervation from excessive venery and a lascivious mind, and poisoning from stimulants and improper clothing, housing, etc., build a state of body where no, symptoms are lacking for those who are ready to suspect tuberculosis, syphilis, or any degenerate state.
Errors in locating cause are the most tragic features of modern diagnosis. One of the most stupendous blunders of the day in medical science is in giving specificity to disease and ignoring the basic causes which make specific causes operative.
It is easy to graft specificity on a constitutional derangement, such as described above; but without some such cause the body proves a withering desert to the seeds of disease that fall upon it. To be specific and explicit: A child may be born with the tuberculous diathesis, yet it need not, because of that diathesis, develop and die of tuberculosis. Diathesis means susceptibility and inclination to take a given disease. Sterility prevents disease per se from being born.
Parents with vicious habits may deliver an incumbered child across the quarantine line drawn by nature, but nature's health officers are too loyal to evolution to allow the smuggling of infections into life. Degenerative processes must be manufactured on this side of conception.
Children born of parents who are too young are often degenerates. The cause, however, is psychological rather than physical. The first child is often a degenerate, as are only boys in large families of girls, and only girls in large families of boys. But the degeneracy is postnatal and psychical.
Physical degeneracy starts oftener from a psychological influence than from physical influences. However, both often start together, and walk hand in hand to the destruction of health and even life.
A babe is born. It is fed every two or three hours, night and day. It is disturbed in its sleep--in its brainand body-building--by being put on exhibition to every friend who knows so little as to call in person on the puerperal mother, instead of sending a small note of one line conveying good wishes, and one flower (not a bouquet). Good wishes by telephone, or a personal card or note, with one flower, is all the personal attention any mother should receive from a friend, except her own family, for three months after the birth of the child.
Disturbing babies to look at them, kiss them, and shake them up to see how lovely their eyes are, and what exquisite little feet and hands they have, is nothing more than a delicious bit of hysteria and humbuggery practiced much too often for the good of the puerperal mothers and the babies; for right here is where the building of pathology of infants and heredity is begun.
The foundation of nervous irritability and indigestion starts at once, marked by constipation, white curds in stools, colic, and night and day crying.