The article, "Gesell tests on African children" by M. Geber, et al. (Pediatrics, 20:1055, 1957), gives support to observations made by many of us in this country who have been working with both Negro and white children. It is undoubtedly true that Negro infants are, on the average, more capable (especially in motor activity) than white infants of the same age. This is probably, as Geber suggests, due to genetic and cultural factors. It may be more evident in some African tribes than in others.
A study of colic in infancy was undertaken as part of the Yale Rooming-In Project. The longitudinal records of 98 infants who were study subjects were analyzed with respect to incidence, duration, and severity of colic. Forty-eight of the infants were classified as fussy or colicky and 50 as contented. Because I had formed the clinical impression that allergy was an important contributing factor in the causation of colic, careful family histories were taken for all of these infants with particular attention to allergic disease in any member of either parent's family. An adequate family history was obtained in 95 of these infants. These data were analyzed both according to the incidence of allergic disease and according to the severity of allergic disease in family members. Among the relatives of the 45 "fussy" or "colicky" infants 7.3 per cent had severe allergy, 17.7 pen cent had mild allergy and 74 per cent had little or no allergy. Among the relatives of the 50 contented infants 7.6 per cent had severe allergy, 14.7 per cent had mild allergy and 77 per cent had no allergy. The family histories included a total of 957 relatives. The 45 families of the babies who were fussy or colicky were divided as follows as to amount of allergy among the relatives. In 7 families there was much allergy, in 30 families there was some allergy and in 8 families there was little or no allergy. The [See Table I in Source PDF] families of the 50 contented infants were divided as follows, in 7 families there was much allergy, in 33 there was some allergy and in 10 there was little on no allergy.
The literature on "infantile colic" or "paroxysmal fussing" is reviewed. The frequent occurrence of a regular evening fussy period in two groups of infants is reported as indicative that this is a normal physiological event of the first few weeks of life. The longitudinal records of 98 infants who were study subjects of the Yale Rooming-In Project were analyzed with respect to incidence, duration, and severity of "paroxysmal fussing." Forty-eight of the infants were classified as "fussy" and 50 as "contented." The "fussy" babies typically began to have their paroxysms in the second week of life and ceased to have them at about eight weeks. Almost all of them were more fussy in the evening hours than in the morning. The rationale of various methods of treatment is discussed. The "fussy" group was similar to the "contented" group as regards details of feeding, birth weight, weight gain, sex, educational level of the mother, and family history of allergy. Of the 48 "fussy" infants, family tension was judged to be an important contributing cause in 22 cases, allergy in six cases; both allergy and family tension together in nine cases; in 11 cases there was no apparent cause. "Paroxysmal fussing" or "infantile colic" is possibly one of the earliest somatic responses to the presence of tension in the environment. The particular degree to which any infant reacts is probably determined by constitutional factors.