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cumstances may have been complicated with engorgement of the lungs. Dr. BELL said that the evidences were conclusive to him that the death occurred from asphyxia; but as this was probably due to the hemlock, the jury rendered their verdict as reported.

Dr. EDGAR, of St. Louis, made some remarks, referring briefly to a case which occurred in his city some time since. The patient, a book-keeper, was not sane for months after taking a dose of medicine prescribed for him by a practitioner. The medicine prescribed contained extract of conium. On motion of Dr. BELL, Dr. Edgar was requested to write out a statement of the case and hand it to the Secretary for publication.

The Secretary read a paper entitled Climatology and Diseases of Nebraska by James H. Peabody, being a report on State Medicine and Public Hygiene for the State of Nebraska. Dr. BELL moved that the paper be referred to the Secretary for preparation and publication. Dr. BAKER said that if it was to be published, and he thought it should be, that part wherein comparisons are made between several States as to the death-rate from all causes and from certain diseases should be omitted in the publication. He said that any comparison which ignores the influence of sex and age upon the death-rate is not a fair comparison; that the death-rate from consumption is greater among females than males, and the proportion of the sexes is very different in the different States; that whereas in early life the death-rate from all causes may be ten per cent., and in old age from fifteen to one hundred per cent. of all living, in middle life it is only about one per cent. ' In any State, therefore, where the inhabitants are nearly all middle-aged males, there should be no very large death-ratethere should not even be sickness.

Dr. VANDEMAN moved, as an amendment to Dr. Bell's motion, that the part of the paper making statistical comparisons of deathrates in different States, be omitted in the publication. Some discussion followed, participated in by Drs. Vandeman of Ten. nessee, Bell of New York, and Love of Georgia, and the amendment and the motion as amended prevailed.

Dr. D. W. HAND, of St. Paul, then read a report on The Diseases of Minnesota and the Northwest. After brief remarks by one or two members, the paper was referred to the Secretary for publication.

Proceedings for the following day, May 6th, were announced as follows:


1. Dr. Bowditch will exhibit and explain a Diagram illustrating the apparent influence of Cloudy Days upon the proportion of Deaths from Consumption—including a series of years from 1811 to 1867 inclusive.

2. There will be a report of certain papers and correspondence of the Chairman relative to the work of the Section, and to the establishment of a National Board of Health.

3. A partial Report of the Committee on Ventilation will also be presented.

On motion, the Section adjourned.

MAY 6. The Section was called to order by the Chairman. The minutes were read and also the programme for the day.

Dr. BELL reported back the papers on ventilation, recommending their reference to the Secretary for publication if found suitable. They were so referred.

A paper referred to the Section at the morning session of the Association, entitled Climatological and Sanitary Report of Florida, by Dr. John P. WALL, of Tampa, was also presented and referred.

Dr. BAKER moved that the programme announced yesterday in this Section and this morning in the meeting of the Association be proceeded with, which motion prevailed.

Dr. BOW DITCH then proceeded to exhibit and explain a Diagram illustrating the apparent influence of Cloudy Days upon


pro. portion of Deaths from Consumption including a series of years, from 1811 to 1867, inclusive. The subject introduced by the Chairman being under consideration,

Dr. H. A. JOHNSON, of Chicago, suggested the desirability of combining with the data illustrated, an exhibit of the rain-fall.

Dr. A. N. BELL suggested that possibly this was another illustration of the influence of “ soil moisture" upon consumptives; this being coincident with cloudy days.

Dr. J. S. BILLINGS spoke of another element besides sunlight influencing in the same direction, viz., indoor life induced by cloudy weather, including the influence of impure air through defective ventilation. As regards light he thought a distinction should be made between acute diseases where bright light was frequently a stimulant to be avoided, and certain other diseases wherein it was desirable; in some hospitals, arrangements have been made for sun-baths.

Dr. CHAS. DENISON, of Denver, Col., said this was a subject of great interest particularly to him, who came from a locality where sunlight and fresh air are regarded as important elements in influencing consumptives favorably. In Colorado, those who get out doors, derive benefit, while those who remain indoors do not derive so much. He mentioned an unsuccessful experiment at the Mammoth Cave, in Kentucky, where it was assumed that the equable temperature would benefit consumptives. So many deaths occurred that the experiment was soon abandoned. He spoke of the relative humidity as a question which could be, and is being, determined at many points, and which would indicate rain fall, cloudiness, etc. He asked about humidity as connected with altitude.

Dr. BILLINGS spoke of the influence of altitude and dryness of air upon consumptives. He said that officers and others on the Pacific coast have a saying, that if a patient can endure the conditions at all they are improved. Dr.

asked if statistics had been collected of miners who live without light and in the presence of moisture.

Dr. BILLINGS remarked that there were such statistics, but that the conditions of bad ventilation, etc., were so complicated as to interfere with arriving at conclusions therefrom. He spoke of experiments with compressed and with rarefied air in the treatment of disease.

Dr. BAKER said that, although several had mentioned relative humidity, he wished to suggest the importance of ascertaining the absolute humidity of the atmosphere, and its influence upon the body, without so much reference to the question as to whether moisture was from the soil, or from any other source. He mentioned tables in the Vital Statistics of his own State (Michigan), which seemed to show a marked influence of humidity upon deaths from consumption, and especially the great influence of a dry atmosphere upon the mortality from pneumonia. He suggested that humid and dry air may act directly upon the lung surface, as well as upon the skin; and possibly in some other way

than simply changing the amount of fluids thrown off. He said that Dr. Dabney, of Virginia, who had just left the room, had made some experiments which seemed to show that the blood pressure, as shown by the cardiometer, is increased in a cold and damp atmosphere. He hoped the investigations of Dr. Bowditch would be continued, and also the experiments to wbich he bad referred.

Dr. STUART remarked that he was keeping a record of meteorological observations together with prevailing diseases.

Dr. VANDEMAN moved that the Chairman be requested to continue his investigations and report to the Association at its next meeting.

Dr. BILLINGS remarked that Dr. Weir Mitchell has been making observations on the influence of meteorological conditions upon nervous affections, such as gout, neuralgia, etc. He suggested the importance of preparing questions for the purpose of furnishing work for the willing hands throughout the country. He mentioned a series of questions which are to be prepared for the American Public Health Association, as embodying nearly everything that can be asked concerning public health in the United States.

On motion of Dr. BELL, all papers presented to the Section were referred to the Secretary, who was directed to use his discretion in preparing and forwarding the same, with the minutes of the Section, to the publishing committee for publication.

On motion of Dr. BAKER, it was voted that in case the address of the Chairman--to be delivered the following day-be referred to this Section, it be forwarded to the Committee of Publication. On motion of Dr. BELL, the Section adjourned.


Secretary of the Section.






According to the strict letter of our law I should prepare and read before you a “paper on the advances and discoveries made in public hygiene during the past year.” I shall not do so, and in extenuation of my fault, if such it be deemed, I plead, 1st, that, in the discussion of the subject selected, I shall meet, to a certain degree at least, the requirements of the rule; and, 2d, in thus varying from a strict interpretation of the law, I am following the example of predecessors in office. I propose for our deliberations :

The Future Health Council of the Nation.I use the epithet “ future" emphatically and with a definite purpose, for I think that any attempt to establish a National Council until there are State Boards of Health in every State, will not only be premature but positively prejudicial to the very object which I trust we all would wish to gain by the establishment of a council, which will be an honor to our country, and the peer of any which may hereafter be inaugurated in Europe. Very much remains to be done on both sides of the Atlantic before we can hope for the attainment of this end.


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In 1871, Dr. Logan prepared resolutions, and they were adopted by the Association, embodying, among others, the following idea, viz.: 1st. That, when six States “shall establish by law State Boards of Health, initial steps be taken for the formation of a

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