THE Galton Lecture to the Eugenics Society, by Prof. John A. Ryle, on medicine and eugenics, is printed in the Eugenics Review, 30, No. 1. In a carefully considered address, it is pointed out that the eugenic movement needs the fuller support of the medical profession, and that this can only be given when medical men receive a fuller training in human genetics than is now the case. The family doctor is now rarely prepared, even if asked, to give advice connected with eugenic prognosis, although men and women are increasingly prepared to discuss such matters. Practising physicians should be able to keep pedigree records of their patients who show mental and physical defects. Medical education should be altered so as to lay greater stress on animal and human genetics in place of some of the routine zoology and the more specialized biochemistry and biophysics. The constitutional variations which abound should be the subject of closer genetic study. Several chairs of human genetics should be instituted, and associated with them should be research centres concerned with morbid inheritance in man. Wider contacts of the Eugenics Society with medical societies throughout the country would be helpful. The foundation of a National Council is advocated, embodying an alliance between medicine, eugenics and sociology and having appropriate contacts with the Ministries of Health, Agriculture and Labour. The preservation of health as a primary function, with the treatment of disease as a secondary function, should become the new ideal.
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Medicine and Eugenics. Nature 142, 68 (1938). https://doi.org/10.1038/142068a0