This is an abstract by the author of a paper published in the Journal S. S. Korsakora, Nos. 1, 2, 1902, and read at the second Congress of Russian Psychiatrists, January, 1902. It is especially concerned in refuting Kraepelin's conception of dementia præcox. To begin with, as one and the same disease may lead to various and different terminations, Serbski considers it impracticable to base any classification on the factor termination—that is (here), on dementia,—for, according to Kraepelin, this issue is not invariable—some cases recover. The general characteristics of the disease, as they are given, impress one as being markedly vague; such qualifying adjectives (which occur often in the description) as “generally,” “often,” “not infrequently,” “sometimes,” lead him to infer that the signs to which they are applied are inconstant, not essential. Even signs relating to disturbance of attention and impairment of judgment are said not to be invariable, but conditional, in dementia præcox. While there is a close connection between katatonia and hebephrenia, and some cases of katatonia should be classed with dementia præcox, this does not apply to all cases. Katatonia as a syndroma may be met with in the course of various mental disorders. Such objective signs, again, as automatism, negativism, stereotypy, are not pathognomonic of dementia præcox or any given disease; they may be observed in many diseases. Serbski would restrict the name dementia præcox to those forms of mental disorder the fundamental traits of which are: (1) the onset of the disease takes place not later than the adolescent age; and (2) the development into a condition of mental enfeeblement of varying degree takes place rapidly or definitely.
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