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The eleventh annual meeting of the Tri-State Medical Society of
Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee will be held in Chattanooga, Tuesday,
Wednesday, and Thursday, October 24, 25, and 26, 1899. The prospects are
good for a fine meeting. Those desiring to read papers should send the
titles to the Secretary, Frank Trester Smith, Chattanooga.

A Question of Chemistry.— Said Mickey Finn to the patrons of
0*Shaughnessy's bar-room : " Me by is stiddying fwot he calls ke-mist-ree,
but Oi think it 's dom humbug. He said last noit that if he tuk one bottle



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156 The American Practitioner and News.

of oxy-gin an' two of hydero-gin, that thin he could make water. Oi said
nothing, but Oi thought any dom fool knew that without going to a school
to learn it." — American Druggist,

Atropine in Delirium Tremens.— Touvine {Archives Medicates Bel-
giqties) administers atropine to his alcoholic patients in one sixtieth grain
doses hypodermatically. The result is to quiet them, and to put them to sleep
in a few minutes. It is believed that the prompt action of the atropine is
due to its stimulating eflfects on certain centers of the brain, thus inducing
the quiet and sleep.

Another death attributed to *' Christian Science ** treatment is reported
from Needham, Mass., in the case of a child named James Van Alst Heden-
berg. The child became ill with dysentery August ist and died August
1 8th. The case has attracted considerable interest on the part of the physi-
cians of Needham, and it is reported that some action will be taken in order
to apprehend the guilty party, who in this case oflfers the excuse that she
did all she zovX^,— Journal of the American Medical Association,

Danger of the Nasal Douche.— Lichtwitz {Internal, Centralbl f.
LaryngoL, June, 1898) advises that the nasal douche should be used only in
cases where there is increased secretion or crust formation — in fact, where
something has to be removed. The dangers in the use of nasal douches
are as follows : (i) Disturbance in the sense of smell due to the action of
chemicals on the nasal mucous membrane. (2) Headache. (3) Suppura-
tion in the middle ear. — British Medical Journal,

Prevention of Premature Old Age.— Hermann Webber {Ztschr.f.
Diatet. U, Physic. Therap,) says that early senility of the nervous system is
observed principally in the male. Cardiac and arterial degeneration, he
claims, are the chief causes, and recommends that treatment should be
commenced early in life on account of heredity, which frequently plays an
important r61e. Moderation in eating, drinking, tobacco, and sexual pleas-
ures is recommended. Regularity in living, early rising, six to eight hours
in bed— age regulating this — plenty of exercise in the open air, and a mod-
erate amount of mental activity constitute the plan of treatment.

Murphy's Button. — Jordan {Revue de Chirurgie, Supplementary Num-
ber, 1898) states that in Czerny's clinic at Heidelberg Murphy's button is
used in all suitable cases, and that, thanks to this appliance, the duration of
an operation on the gastro-intestinal canal may be much diminished.
Gastro-enterostomy may, it is asserted, be easily performed in fifteen
minutes if the button be applied instead of sutures. The use of the button,
the author believes, is free from danger, provided attention be paid to
contraindications. In his early experience of Murphy's appliance he lost
three patients in consequence of perforation, but since he has used sutures
instead of the button in the large intestine, he has employed the latter in



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The American Practitioner and News. 157

more than a hundred cases without a single failure. It is important, he
points out, to press the two portions of the button closely together. Sup-
plementary sutures will in most cases be found useless. The button,
though it may be passed on the seventh or eighth day, is usually retained
until about the twentieth day. In Czerny's clinic gastro-enterostomy with
Murphy's button has been performed in eighty-three cases — sixty-three of
cancerous and twenty of non-cancerous stenosis of the pylorus — with a
mortality of 12.5 per cent. — British Medical Journal.

The Action of Alcohol. — Professor Att water, of Wesleyan Univer-
sity, who has recently conducted a series of experiments to determine the
effects of alcohol on the human system, has reached the conclusion pre-
viously held by all but the most rabid and unscientific prohibition advo-
cates, that alcohol taken in small and digestible amounts is a food. The
experiments were mainly undertaken with a view to determine the nutri-
tive value of alcohol. This substance was given in various forms, and pure
alcohol was also administered with water or coffee. It was taken with
meals. It was found that alcohol is oxidized in the same manner as any
other food material, and is transformed into heat and muscular energy.
Unlike, however, the fats, starch, and sugar, it does not form tissue, but
gives forth energy. The experiments were not conducted for a sufficiently
long period to demonstrate what the effects upon the human organism might
be of the habitual use of alcohol, yet many writers in the daily press have
assumed that they have proved the innocuousness of alcohol as a beverage.
This is, of course, far from being the case, and the promulgation of any
such belief would be nearly as injurious as is the other more familiar
extreme, advocated so strenuously by intemperate prohibition orators. —
North Carolina Medical JournaL

A New Antitoxin. — Dr. Oscar Loew, one of the vegetable pathologists
of the U. S. Department of Agriculture, has developed to what he believes
is a point of practical use a new germicide, which promises to supersede
the serum treatment now in use in diphtheria, fevers, and many other dis-
eases. Dr. lyoew's work has been carried on for several years, in collabora-
tion with Dr. R. Emmerich, in the laboratories of Munich and this country.

The treatment is similar in some respects to the serum treatment, but
depends on a different principle, the basic idea being the presence of a class
of ferments known as enzymes, which are produced by the same bacteria
that produce the disease. It is because of the production, or rather over-
production, of a certain enzyme that a disease, such as typhoid, will ** run
its course ** and then die out of the system. The bacteria in this case, it is
stated, are simply killed out by the ferment they produce. The object of
the new treatment is to produce a pure enzyme which, introduced into the
human system, will kill the disease germs without injuring the patient.
This differs from the principle of inoculation for smallpox and other dis-
eases, where the object is to give the patient a mild type of the disease to
render him immune to the more virulent type.



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158 The American Practitioner and News.

Dr. Loew and Dr. Emmerich have studied and cultivated the e|izymes
of various diseases, and, it is claimed, have found that the enzymes of cer-
tain bacteria will kill not only their parent germs, but also the germs of
cholera, typhoid fever, anthrax, diphtheria, black plague, staphylococci, and
probably gonococci. An enzyme that will be fatal to tuberculosis is being
sought, though the bacillus of tuberculosis seems to be incapable of pro-
ducing an enzyme that is fatal to itself. This is also true of the black
plague, and for this reason the serum of black plague was applied without
success in the cases recently developed in one of the laboratories in Vienna.

The enzymes are very unstable products, and for this reason quickly
deteriorate, but Dr. I^oew believes he has found a method of preserving
them in shape for use. The further development of this form of treatment
is awaited with interest by scientists. — Sanitarian.

As Others See Us. — Professor Mosso, of Turin, the eminent Italian
physiologist, has been visiting this country, and, according to the Rome cor-
respondent of the I^ancet, has sent home some of his impressions. Speak-
ing of the physical development of Americans, he says in the letter quoted :
" It is enough to look at the passers-by in the American streets to be con-
vinced how much more developed and strong they are than our compa-
triots. The boys and girls, in point of physique, are far superior to ours.
. . . America teaches us by the plainest and the most impressive of examples
that physical education may be carried to perfection without any military
object." It has been so much the rule with us to consider the average
American physique as not quite what it should be that it is refreshing to
have such testimony from a competent foreign observer. It is probable
that we have been given too much to self-depreciation. It has been as
much too common to underestimate ourselves in some respects as to glorify
ourselves in others. The average American may be less plump than his
British fellow Anglo-Saxon — if it is correct to call him so — but in bone and
muscle and nerve he is in all probability at least his equal, if not, taking all
classes together, his superior. This is, of course, mentioned only as an
anthropologic fact. — Journal of the American Medical Association,

Society for the Abolition op Vivisection.— Some of the members
of the Liverpool Anti-vivisection Society, considering that the English
National Anti-vivisection Association is not radical enough in its aims or
drastic enough in its programme, have formed a branch of the British Union
for the Abolition of Vivisection. The first annual meeting of this branch
has just been held, and the chairman dilated at great length upon the peril
to society that all and every part of the practice of vivisection had become.
The speeches made by eminent men at the opening of Liverpool School of
Tropical Diseases were referred to with disapproval, and the Union*s oppo-
sition to every form of experimentation on animals, or to any arrangement
between anti-vivisectors and experimenters, even in the matter of giving
hospital charity, loudly proclaimed. The Liverpool correspondent of the



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The American Practitioner and News. 159

British Medical Journal says that now that this society has thrown oflF the
mask it would be as well if it would style itself the Society for the Abo-
lition of Medical ^^ncoXion,— Medical News,

Increasing Duration of Life in Chicago. — The April Bulletin of
the Chicago Board of Health makes the following startling announcement :
** Measured by the average age at death of all who died in the city of Chicago
thirty years ago and those who died last year, the average duration of life
in this city has more than doubled during a single generation; that is to
say, in 1869 there were 6,488 deaths recorded, with the age of each decedent
given. The aggregate of the ages footed up 90,336 years, or an average of
13-9 years for every individual decedent, old and young. Last year there
were 22,897 deaths similarly recorded, with an aggregate of 672,540 years
of life, or an average age for each decedent of 29.4 years. This is an
increase of 1 1 1.5 per cent.

Treatment of Fissure op the Nipple.— Maygrier and Blondel
(^BulL et Mem, de la Soc, Obs. ei Gyn, de Paris ^ November 10, 1898) report
favorably on the use of orthoform for cracked nipples. It belongs to tlje
same chemical family as cocaine, which was tried for the same thing by
Hergott. Cocaine has the drawbacks, first, of being apt to produce toxic
effects ; secondly, of exerting a tendency to suppression of the milk secre-
tion. Indeed, one of the authors has used it for this purpose. Orthoform
is a powerful local anesthetic whose action is more enduring than that of
cocaine, lasting on an average twelve hours. It has no effect, however,
when applied to the unbroken skin; and it must be kept continuously
applied to the wounded surface. A slight burning sensation is felt for a
few seconds when first applied. Orthoform has the further advantage of
being antiseptic, so that it does not require sterilizing before use. It pro-
duces a marked effect in hastening the cicatrization of the fissures. The
authors tried it in forty cases ; all, without exception, experienced a more
or less marked relief. They employed it in three forms : the powder with
a moist dressing, the powder with a dry dressing, and a saturated alcoholic
solution. For the first the powder is applied to the fissure, and ster-
ilized gauze is placed over it and covered with a piece of protective. For
nursing, the dressing is removed and the breast wiped with a sterilized
compress ; when the nursing is finished, the whole dressing is put back.
The second plan consisted simply in the .substitution of dry compresses for
the wet. The third plan is to apply a few drops of a saturated solution of
orthoform in eighty per cent alcohol ; a dry compress is then placed over
it. They found the last plan the best ; the analgesia is effected much more
quickly ; the burning sensation is less and of shorter duration, and to the
beneficial action of the orthoform is added that of the alcohol. Cicatriza-
tion was generally complete in four to five days without any interference
with suckling; by other methods cicatrization takes ten to twelve days
even when nursing is suspended. — British Medical Journal,



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i6o The American Practitioner and News.

Special ZTotices.



Sanmetto in Genito-Urinary Diseases and as a Re-builder. — I have used
Sanmetto in a great number of genito-urinary diseases, also as a rebuilder of strength
throughout the genito-urinary tract, always with the happiest results. This is the
first and only testimonial I have ever given in twenty years' active practice of med-
icine. G. H. Eckert, M. D.

Marion, Ind.

Uterine Derangements. — I have used Aletris Cordial in my practice for over a
year, and to say that I am pleased with it does not nearly express the degree of my
satisfaction. Aletris Cordial fills a long-felt want with me. Symptoms attending
uterine derangements have always been perplexing to physicians, but with thip
remedy the trouble vanishes as dew before the rising sun.

Georgiana, Ala. L. M. McLbndon, M. D.

Nervous Prostration. — My son, aged twelve, had been growing nervous over
the shock of his brother's death, and seemed to derive no benefit from any remedies
used in his case. Had him to the seashore, change of surroundings, and every thing
that could be done for his benefit ; he still grew thinner and worse all the time. I put
him on Celerina, and had marked benefit before the first bottle was used, and he has
almost entirely gotten over it with the help of another bottle I got for him. I con-
sider it a very nice and efficient nervine, just the thing for the children and nervous
and delicate persons, where there is great prostration. I shall use it freely.

Moosic, Pa. N. P. Frassoni, M. D.

Warnkr's Pocket Medical Dictionary. — Warner's Pocket Medical Dictionary
is an up-to-date work in every sense of the word. The latest medical terms have all
been added; 10,400 words, terms, and phrases are spelled, pronounced, and defined.
The definitions are concise and comprehensive ; type bold and easily readable ; paper
and binding neat and especially serviceable ; bound in flexible leather, round comers,
colored edges. Complete tables of arteries (6 pages), bacilli, spirilli, streptococci,
micrococci, bacteria (11 pages), muscles (24 pages), nerves ^12 pages), dose table (14
pages). This latter comprises a complete list of all drugs, with their doses arranged
in apothecaries' measure, and their metric equivalents. Every one of its 413 pages
is well written, and will prove a valuable addition to the library of quick reference
books of any physician. It will be sent to any address upon receipt of 75 cents, stamps
or money order. Address, W. R. Warner & Co.,

Philadelphia.

A Want Felt and Filled. — If the doctor had never accomplished any thing
more definite in his life-work than the relief of pain, than amelioration of human suf-
fering, he would not have lived in vain. It is all very well to say that pain is phys-
iological ; that it is the cry of the nerve for more blood, yet its continuance can not
be borne by the patient, even by the most heroic Spartan. Long continued pain is
dangerous, and while, of course, we never wish to obtund and remove it so completely
as not to be able to ascertain its cause and remove the same, yet the best interest of
our patient requires from time to time the administration of that which is opposed to
pain. Remedies like opium, which relieve the pain and at the same time are exhila-
rating and alluring in their effects, are most ofttimes dangerous in the remote demor-
alization which they produce upon our patient. A remedy for the relief of pain which
does not tie up the secretions, which carries with it no exultation and no fascinations
which tend in the direction of developing drug habits, is a desideratum. Five-grain
Antikamnia Tablets certainly meet this necessity. Antikaninia is also more prompt
and decided in its action in labor than opium, and has none of the unpleasant after-
effects. It may be continued in smaller doses to control after-pains, and rather favors
than interferes with the secretion of milk.



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THE



American Practitioner and News.



'NEC TENUI PENNA:



Vol. XXVIII. Louisville, Ky., Septhmber i, 1899. No. 5.



Certainly it is excellent discipline for an author to feel that he must say all he has to say in the
St possible words, or his reader is sure to skip them ; and in the plainest possible words, or his
reader will certainly misunderstand them. Generally, also, a downright fact may be told in a plain
way ; and we want downright facts at present more than any thing else.— Ruskin.

Original CIrticles. .

NEW ART5 IN PRACTICE.*

BY WM. B. DOHERTY, M. D.

Sepsis, asepsis, and antisepsis, germs and germicides, cures and
curers — subjects which embrace almost the whole domain of medical
science — will be briefly considered in the limited space of a paper
devoted to some of the new arts in practice.

Dirt and darkness, in the broadest and most comprehensive signifi-
<:ation of the terms, are the chief factors in the causation of disease ;
and pure water, pure air, pure food, pure soil, and sunshine are
the best measures for its prevention and relief. Cleanliness, persistent,
yea, eternal cleanliness, is next to godliness, and is the price of safety.
The advantages of asepsis by warm water alone, and antisepsis by the
use of chemical agents for the prevention or destruction of pus, have
been carefully considered and zealously discussed by their respective
advocates.

For some time the profession paid homage to the germicidal prop-
erties of carbolic acid, but later the great king hydrargyrum bichloride
appeared as an annihilator of germs, aud has held sway, though it may
be possible within the next few years we will turn back and recognize
in the inorganic proximate principles of' salt and water the best and
safest disinfectants we possess. The germ-hunting theorist, who believes
that he sees through the microscope myriads of death-dealing bacteria,
has a very plausible solution of the cause of all the ills that flesh is heir

* Read at the meeting of the Kentucky State Medical Society, Louisville, May 19, 1899.

18



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i62 The American Practitioner and News.

to, and believes that by killing the bacteria the disease is subdued.
But alas ! the water we drink, the air we breathe, the earth we tread
upon teem with micro-organisms. What good or harm they do is not
so well known. Bananas will not grow in Alaska ; the products of the
sunny south will not mature in the extreme north, nor will the consti-
tution of the individual who has a good inheritance and proper food,
air, and exercise be easily aflFected by those much-dreaded microbes.

It would appear that while so much fascinating investigation and
learned research have been devoted to the study of the genus bacillus
and its habitat, the genus homo and his environment have not received
the same degree of careful thought and scientific solicitude. To render
man invulnerable to the ravages of disease, it must be conceded that
the great demolishers or devourers of germs, the worthy fortifiers of
our constitutions, the great navy of infinitesimal cells, the wandering
phagocytes that are continually fighting our battle in the blood — truly
the sea of life — must have their armament strengthened by giving the
system pure air, good food, and healthful exercise. Vital resistance,
which is mainly the product of seed, soil, and surroundings, must be
increased rather than lowered by the artificial methods of living which
now obtain if the attacks of our great foes, the infinitesimally small
and numberless microbes, are to be rendered innocuous. While recu-
perative or curative treatment by such artificial agents as bactericides
is almost universally practiced in cases of phthisis, the great plague of
the human race, hygienic means are not so rigidly or persistently
enforced.

Cure ! cure ! cure ! — the piteous appeal of the weary sufferer has
always been the talisman of the vender of nostrums and the trade-mark
of the impudent quack. There is possibly no word in the English
language whose scientific meaning is so little understood by the laity
as the word "cure,'' which, derived from the Latin cura (care), means
to care for properly. There is no positive cure or specific for any
disease, though the efficacy of medicines can not be questioned. The
existing condition, the constitution, the weak points of the organism,
must be attended to, each case being a law unto itself. As the quan-
tity and quality of life are indefinite and unknown, it follows that from
uncertain premises certain results can not be obtained, nor can cures
be guaranteed. The mystery of life makes its duration always a matter
of uncertainty. None may even lay claim to a knowledge of its tenure
for a single hour. The pilot can steer the ship, but he can not quell the

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The American Practitioner and News. 163

storm ; the agriculturist can sow the seed, but may not reap the
harvest ; the physician can prolong life, but may not prevent death.
While the profession of medicine is of the highest calling in the sphere
of mortal life, its dignity and usefulness have been assailed and impaired
by the low arts of boasting and cunning and the wily advertising
schemes which now prevail. The late Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes
said that " quackery hobbles on two crutches — the tattle of women and
the certificates of clergymen," to which we may add the testimonials
of politicians and their pictures in the papers. Religious journals will
advertise and publish statements of ** sure cures" from church divines
that are calculated to mislead and delude the people. It is unfortunate
that clergymen will allow their names to be used for such objectionable
purposes. There are quacks within the profession who will write articles
paid for by drug firms, extolling the virtues and curative properties of
their medical preparations without even having tested any of them.
There are medical journals, established for mercantile purposes, padded
with many untruthful advertisements. They contain medical literature
as fanciful and untruthful in its expression as the tales of Gulliver's
Travels or of the Arabian Nights.

The code of ethics, which has been designated as the doctrine of
correct manners, or that of philosophy, which defines the principles
of professional conduct, has been vetoed by ego^ the coat-of-arms of
many physicians engaged in the art of trumpeting their reports of suc-
cessful cases, while the potent influence of the vis vtedicatrix naturcB is
not recognized.

The profession is at present overburdened with false specialism and
too many young and inexperienced physicians playing the r61e of
^* specialists." The honest specialist, who, after years of experience in
the general practice of medicine, may have acquired a practical, all-
round knowledge of disease, has a taste for some special line of work
and thought, and prosecutes his studies in that direction, is worthy of
all credit and credence. But man is not made of eyes, ears, muscles,
bones, or nerves separately, nor can we recognize him as a machine
only. The heart is more than a mechanical pump ; the lungs far supe-



Online LibraryUniversidad de Buenos Aires. Facultad de Derecho yThe American practitioner → online text (page 73 of 109)