A Contribution to The Aetiology of Manic-Depressive Insanity (1940)

 Causes of Death in Manic‑Depressive Families


The cause of death in the families of manic‑depressives is of some interest in connection with the aetiology of manic‑depressive psychoses, as it throws a light on the manic‑depressive constitution. My material, unfortunately, provides no very firm basis for the drawing of conclusions. Nevertheless it is of interest to set out the principal causes of death among the propositi and those of their parents and children who had died by the time the investigation was made.

The age distribution of the parents and children is given in Tables 13 ‑ 16. In the above table one notices a remarkable fre­quency of arteriopathic illnesses. If one excludes deaths of unknown causation, 29 of the parents and 6% of the propositi died of such illnesses. Cancer and tuberculosis play a compara­tively insignificant role, as also do the respiratory affections which are such an important cause of death in the general popula­tion. The figures agree 11 with those reported by Donner.1


(1) Z. Konstit. lehre. (1926) 12.