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A Victorian Scrapbook

A Scrapbook of Newspaper Articles Compiled by George Burgess (1829-1905)

Victorian Health and Education

A singular physiological fact

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Transcript from original newspaper article: -
A Singular Physiological FactA SINGULAR PHYSIOLOGICAL FACT. – The transference of vitality which seems to occur when young persons are habitually places in contact with the aged, is not a nursery fiction. It is well attested by very competent authorities. “A not uncommon cause,” observes Dr. James Copeland, “of depressed vital power, is the young sleeping with the aged.” This, however explained, has been long remarked, and is well known to every unprejudiced observer. I have occasionally met with the counterpart of the following case: -

I was a few years ago consulted about a pale, sickly and thin boy, of about four or five years of age. He appeared to have no special ailment, but there was a slow and remarkable decline of flesh and strength, and of the energy of the functions – what his mother very aptly termed a gradual blight. After inquiry into the history of the case, it came out that he had been a very robust and plethoric child up to his third year, when his grandmother, a very old person, took him to sleep with her; that he soon afterwards lost his good looks, and that he continued to decline progressively ever since, notwithstanding medical treatment. I directed him to sleep apart from the aged parent, and prescribed gentle tonics, change of air, &c.


A Dr. James Copeland ran a medical practice between 1890 and 1925 in Round Hill, Virginia, America. Could this be the same doctor who made these observations quoted in this newspaper article?