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Wortis, S.B. (1944). Borderlands of Psychiatry: By Stanley Cobb. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1943. Pp. 166. Price, $2.50.). Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 25:175.
(1944). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 25:175
Borderlands of Psychiatry: By Stanley Cobb. (Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1943. Pp. 166. Price, $2.50.)
Review by: S. Bernard Wortis
This series of essays on borderland neuro-psychiatric problems is highly recommended. Dr. Cobb estimates that there are about 700, 000 patients in mental institutions, 3 to 5 million aments and dements in the community, and additional borderland patients—so that altogether there are 6 million neuro-psychiatric patients in the United States.
The volume is then devoted to several clear, short chapters on various subjects. The first, concerned with the Body and Mind problem, insists that the old dichotomies 'functional and organic, or mental and physical' are not only wrong, but tend to prolong obsolete ideas. Dr. Cobb insists that every symptom is both functional and organic. The second chapter is devoted to a discussion of the Parallel Evolution of Speech, Vision and Intellect. The comparative anatomy and psychology of these functions is discussed in terms of the learning process and the development of symbolic function correlated into language (euphasia) and learned skills (eupraxia). Dr. Cobb then goes on to discuss Speech and Language Defects on the basis of lesions at various levels of integration. Another chapter is concerned with the function of the Frontal Areas of the Human Brain, and contains a good summary of the newer experiences with Frontal Lobotomy.
Two excellent chapters are devoted to The Anatomical Bases of the Emotions and Psychosomatics. Here the functions of the thalamus and hypothalamus, the autonomic nervous system, smell and emotions, and the variety of emotional expression are discussed in view of newer knowledge in these fields. There is good evidence to show that the hypothalamus is not a 'centre of emotion' but a motor way station where emotional expression is integrated into muscular and glandular patterns. Other chapters integrate recent knowledge concerning Consciousness, Fits, and Psychoneuroses to present-day psychiatry.
The volume is a gem. It presents the meat of the problems briefly and clearly. Every medical student, practitioner, and certainly every neuro-psychiatrist should read this book.
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