This section is from the book "The Human Body: An Elementary Text-Book Of Anatomy, Physiology, And Hygiene", by H. Newell Martin. Also available from Amazon: The Human Body.
Alcohol is a potent agent in leading to the transmission of disease, especially nervous disease, from parent to child. The drunken parent begets no healthy child. This inherited influence manifests itself in various ways. It may transmit an appetite for strong drink to the children, and the drunkard by inheritance is a more helpless slave than his father or mother. But the inherited effects are not confined to the propagation of drunkards only. They produce insanity, idiocy, epilepsy, and other affections of the brain and nervous system in the children of the drunkard, and they in turn transmit predisposition to these diseases to their child. " When alcoholism does not produce insanity, idiocy, or epilepsy, it weakens the conscience, impairs the will, and makes the individual the creature of impulse and not of reason".
State some frequent effects on the offspring of alcoholic indulgence by the parent.
The Sense-organs are also affected: their acuteness of perception is dulled; and many physicians believe that cataract and retinal disease may be produced by drinking. The red congested white of the eye of topers is well known.
The Brain and Spinal Cord are kept in a chronic state of over-excitement. This results in inflammatory disease (de-lirium tremens); later, in fibrous degeneration, leading to certain forms of paralysis or to epilepsy, of which there is one variety recognized by physicians as due to alcohol.