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rapidly changing, and frank and open discussion was now taking the place of secrecy and silence. The fall in the human birth-rate was a world-wide phenomenon affecting nearly all civilized coun.tries. In Germany the movement set in later than in France or England, but having once begun the fall had been exceptionally rapid, so that the rate of increase of population in Germany was now very little greater than in England. It would be conducive to the permanent peace of Europe if the birth-rates of all fully developed countries with circumscribed territories were to continue to fall until their populations arrived at a condition approaching equilibrium, for all .through the world's history overflowing populations had been a fruitful cause of political unrest and war. Had the birth .control movement spread to Germany earlier it is very possible that the present awful catastrophe might have been averted. The War originated in Germany's mad dream of world supremacy, and this was directly fostered and en-couraged by her rapidly increasing population. A country with a stationary population was much less likely to be aggressive than one with an overflowing population. With regard to the cause of the declining birth-rate, the view was expressed that this was due to the voiitional limitation of the size of the family. This was largely influenced by social status.
Birth control was a form of self-control, and was now practised more or less by nearly all social grades except the very lowest.
It was notorious that the birth-rate in the slums was nearly double that in the well-to-do residential districts. There was a very close correlation between a high birth-rate on the one hand, and poverty, overcrowding and infant mortality on the other. These were facts of primary importance which had been too long ignored. It was to be hoped that this terrible war, which was making the world face realities, would bring the truth home. Over-maternity was a very definite evil. Maternity was rightly regarded as the crowning glory of womanhood, and parenthood was capable of bringing the highest joy and happiness into married life. Married couples who too lightly regarded the blessing and privilege of parenthood made a great and foolish mistake, which in after years might be a bitter regret when it was too
late. But it was impossible to shut one's eyes to the evils of over-maternity. Excessive and too frequent child-bearing might drag a woman down and change the happiness and joy of motherhood into weariness and drudgery. Referring to birth control clinics, such as those in Holland, which had official recognition, the lecturer said there was much to be said in favour of a sympathetic woman doctor being appointed to give proper advice to poor mothers in suitable cases. This was the natural and common-sense remedy for the great evil of drug taking and abortion. The true criterion of morality was laid down by Paley : “I the tendency of the action to promote or diminish the general happiness ? ” It is submitted that birth control tends to promote the general happiness in that it tends to reduce poverty, squalor, overcrowding, insant mortality, and the misery of over-maternity. Also it raises the standard of living and enables children to receive a better start in life. The mere fact that it may be abused is not suthcient ground for condemning it. The attitude of the Church of England was formerly entirely hostile, but now modified. That there is a necessity for birth control in many cases is recognized, but “artificial means” and “appliances” are still condemned. The writer submits that the best means to be adopted is a medical rather than a clerical question. Medical authorities differ as to the harmlessness of birth control methods. Opinions of Tavlor, Bergeret, Furbringer, Champneys, &c.; results of inquiry instituted by writer; summary of nearly eighty replies received ; the great majority regard certain specified methods as harmless. Cases where birth control is desirable on medical grounds, e.g., health of the mother, constitutional taint in one or both parents. It was shown that the medical aspect was very important and further study most desirable. Birth control has come to stay and has got to be reckoned with. We shall be glad to have expression of opinion on this important subject from our readers.
COMING EVENTS. The Central Association for the Care of the Mentally Defective will hold a short special course for teachers of mentally defective children at Leeds from
Particulars may be obtained from the Hon. Secretary, Miss Evelyn Fox, Queen Anne's Chambers, Tothill Street, Westminster, S.W.
The annual holiday course of the Scottish League of Gymnastic Teachers will be held in Glasgow during Easter week, commencing on April 2. Particulars may be obtained from Miss Sheila L. Train, Southend, Campbeltown, Argyll.
The London School of Dalcroze Eurhythmics, 23, Store Street, W.C.1, will hold a holiday course from April 15 to 27. Particulars may be obtained from the Dirctor, Mr. Percy B. Ingham, B.A.
At the Royal Sanitary Institute, 90, Buckingham Palace Road, S.W., lectures in connection with women health visitors, tuberculosis visitors, school nurses, and school teachers, will be held at 6 p.m. on the following dates : April 5 : “Care of Infants and Young Children,” by Miss Constance Barker; April 8 : “ Elements of Home Nursing," by Dr. Kate Marion Vaughan; April 10 : “First Aid Treatment of Injuries, Ailments and Accidents," by Dr. A. Beresford Kingsford; April 12 : “ Prevention of Communicable Disease ”; April 15 : “ Tuberculosis," by Dr. R. Veitch Clark; April 17: “Venereal Disease,” by Dr. Jessie Campbell; April 19: “ Methods of Teaching Hygiene,” by Miss Constance Barker.
The National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality continue the course of advanced lectures on Infant Care on Mondays at 5.30 p.m., at i, Wimpole Street, W.1: April 8: “ Respiratory Disease in Infancy and Early Childhood," by R. C. Jewesbury, M.D.; April 15: “ The Clothing of Infants and Children,” dy Miss M. B. Synge; April 22 : “ Acts and Regulations relating to Mothers and Children under School Age," by T. Shadick Higgins, M.D.
The Council of the National Association for the Prevention of Infant Mortality and for the Welfare of Infancy, 4, Tavistock Square, London, W.C.1, have arranged for a special course of lectures and practical demonstrations on Infant Care, and suitable for medical officers, nurses, midwives, health visitors, teachers, voluntary infant welfare workers, committees of nursing associations, school care committees, &c., to be held at Aylesbury, on Wednesdays, April
10, 17, 24, and May 1, commencing each day at 11.30 a.m., and concluding at 3 or 3.15 p.m., so as to allow for early return to London, On Saturday, May 11, lectures will commence at 10.45 a.m. and finish at 4 p.m.
At the Royal Sanitary Institute, 90, Buckingham Palace Road, S.11., April 24 at
5 p.m., a discussion on “ Housing : Planning and Materials, Per
and Semi-permanent,” will be opened by Mr. F. Baines, M.V.O., F.R.I.B.A., Principal Architect H.M. Office of Works; and on “Fitments and Conveniences," by Mrs. Sanderson Furniss, Secretary of the Housing Sub-Committee of the Women's Labour League, the chair being taken by Sir Henry Tanner, C.B., I.S.O., F.R.I.B.A.
The Seventy-fourth Annual Meeting of the Shaftesbury Society will be held in the Kingsway Hall, Kingsway, London, 11.C., on Saturday, May 4, at 3 p.m., when the Earl of Shaftesbury, K.P., will preside. Reserved tickets may be obtained on application to the Director of S.S. & R.S.U., at 32, John Street, W.C.1.
The Annual Meeting of the Auxiliary of the Student Christian Movement will be held at the Student Movement House, 32, Russell Square, W.C.1, on Saturday, May ii, from 2.30 to 6.30 p.m.
The next conference of the Issociation of Head Mistresses will be held on June 7 and 8, at King Edward's High School, Birmingham.
The Council of the Student Christian Movement are arranging for a series of summer conferences to be held at Swanwick, in Derbyshire, from July 9 to 27. Particulars may be obtained on application to Headquarters at 32, Russell Square, W.C.1.
The Summer School of the Froebel Society and Junior Schools Association will be held during the first fortnight in August. Application should be made to the Secretary, at 4, Bloomsbury Square, W.C.1.
The St. Andrew's Provincial Committee for the Training of Teachers are arranging for a summer school from August i to 29. Particulars may be obtained from the Director of Studies, Mr. James Malloch, 77, North Street, St. Andreirs, Scotland.
ON CHILD LIFE AND
Under this heading are gathered quotations from the works of those who have formed ideals or dealt
with actualities relating to child life and child welfare. It is hoped that many of our readers will assist in the compilation of this page by sending any helpful thoughts which they may have found of service in their own experience or discovered in the course of their general reading.
A MONTHLY JOURNAL DEVOTED TO CHILD WELFARE.
SECOND CHILDHOOD: A STUDY OF THE
HYGIENE OF OLD AGE.
By SIR HERMAN WEBER, M.D., F.R.C.P. Lite Member of the Consulting Committee of the King Edward VII Sanatorium;
Author of "Means for the Prolongation of Life”; Joint Author of "C ato. therapy and Balneology."
THERE is great difference in different persons with regard to the beginning of “old age.” Some are old with 40, others are comparatively young with 70. We may roughly say that old age begins when the vital organs commence to become inadequate to the perfect performance of their functions, in the majority between 55 and 65.
Characteristics of Old Age. Old age often looks like disease, and Terence, as quoted by Dr. Parkes Weber, even said : “Senectus ipse est morbus ”; but in reality
1 It is not inappropriate that a study of the characteristics of old age and 'mean's for the healthy prolongation of life should appear in a journal primarily devoted to a consideration of medico-educational problems relating to the developmental periods of human existence. This article is of unique interest and exceptional value, for it is contributed by a veteran physician who is now enjoying a fair measure of vigorous life in his ninety-fifth year.-EDITOR, THE CHILD.
old age in itself is not a disease, and may be quite free from disease. The main changes of the organs and tissues are atrophy or wasting, from imperfect supply of blood by the blood vessels, which with increasing age lose their elasticity. This change in the blood-vessels is likewise a kind of wasting. Often, however, the walls of the bloodvessels, already before the average commencement of old age, become thickened and inelastic, a condition designated “arterial sclerosis, and thus disabled to conduct a sufficient quantity: of blood to nourish the tissues. Thus the phenomena of disease are not rarely mixed up with old age pure and simple. This arterial sclerosis may set in rather early in life from heredity, or from injudicious eating, drinking, or smoking, and thus cause premature old age. Professor Metchnikoff attributes the senile shrinking of the tissues to the action of macrophags (large absorbing cells); but we are, I think, justified in assuming that these macrophags attack only cells of weak vitality, and have no power over those well supplied with blood by healthy blood-vessels. This fact that the condition of the vital organs depends on the state of the blood vessels has led to the well-known saying, "A man is as old as
“ his blood-vessels.” The atrophy of the cells of the different organs of the body is naturally associated with the decay of the functions. Thus the atrophy of the brain cells and fibres leads to the various mental defects of old persons, such as loss of memory, imperfect perception, and transmission of impressions, &c. By the atrophy of the lungs, parts of the walls of the smallest air spaces, the alveoli become absorbed, the surface for the aeration of the blood becomes diminished, the resisting power of the lungs is impaired, and the liability to disease is increased. In a similar way the muscles and all the organs of the body become atrophied—some earlier, some later.
Prevention of Premature Old Age. It is in the nature of man to become old, but he must not allow himself to become prematurely old. We must fight against premature senility or old age as against a disease. The best way to do this is by keeping all the organs of the body in constant action, and by moderation in food and all sensual enjoyments. In order to maintain the organs and tissues in a sound condition and prevent their atrophy we must constantly supply them with healthy blood; since the blood is carried to the organs by the heart and blood-vessels, we must keep these in full vigour by the various forms of exercise. Those who perform regular manual labour earn by it the benefit due to exercise ;