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naso-pharyngeal catarrh. The room in which they chiefly spent their time had been noticed to have a disagreeable smell, dependent, as it afterwards was determined, upon a defect in the soil-pipe. All were completely restored, without other treatment, by quitting the infected house for a short time. Another case was that of a lady who suffered from an affection of the ear and general malaise ; on leaving home she soon became perfectly well, but all the first symptoms returned on again occupying her own house, to disappear with a second absence. In the mean time defective drainage had been discovered and remedied. Other cases are given of a similar character, which strongly suggest that sewer gas may be an exciting cause of some of the milder forms of inflammation of the mucous membrane in the throat and ear; but this cannot, however, be considered as proven, for it should be remembered that it is an established fact that many cases of acute and subacute catarrhal inflammations are benefited or cured by a change of air alone, be it from the city to the country, from the sea-shore to the inland, or vice versa.

Trophic Disturbances in the Tympanum from Section of the Medulla Oblongata. — In connection with the explanation of Weber-Liel that otitis intermittens is due to trophic disturbances from injury of the trifacial nerve, an observation of Gellé 1 is of interest. After section of the medulla oblongata of a dog, he found the tympanic cavity on the same side as that operated upon filled with an opaque fluid containing pus cells, in marked contrast to the tympanum on the opposite side, which was free from secretion and with a thin, pale mucous membrane. He considers that the changes were caused by the injury done to the descending branch of the trifacial nerve in the medulla oblongata by the operation, and were in fact neuro-trophic disturbances in the tympanic mucous membrane.

Bromide of Potassium the Cause of Otitis Externa Circumscripta. Grüber2 calls attention to the observations of Neumann on the eruption produced by bromide of potassium : namely, that it is closely allied to acne simplex ; that it appears on the shoulders, chest, face, and forehead in the form of papules and pustules, and is sometimes accompanied by fever; that the eruption generally appears in the hair follicles; and that the secretion consists of pus and smegma. He then narrates two cases which had come under his own observation, in both of which there were a number of furuncles in the meatus ; both patients were taking the bromide of potassium, and both showed the characteristic eruption on the forehead. In the first case the furuncles recurred with great obstinacy, until the bromide was given up, when there was no further relapse ; the second case was seen but once. Both cases Grüber regarded as

i Gazette médicale, No. 1, 1878.
? Allgemeine Wiener med. Zeitung, No. 41, 1878.


otitis externa circumscripta, produced by the internal administration of bromide of potassium.

Softening of the Ossicles. Hartman 1 narrates an unusual case of extreme decalcification of both stapes which occurred in a soldier who had suffered for many years from chronic purulent inflammation of both tympana. He died from chronic phthisis, and the autopsy revealed the extensive destruction in the tympana so common with chronic otorrhæas, and in addition the crura and heads of both stapes were so extremely soft that they could be bent in any direction; the bases of both stapes retained their normal firmness. As a careful examination showed a considerable spot of decalcified bone in the squamous portion of one os temporis, Hartman considers that the condition of the stapes was caused by the marasmus accompanying the phthisis and not by otorrhæal secretion.

Abscess of the Cerebellum rupturing into the Ear. - Gribbon ? narrates a case of this very rare termination of an abscess of the brain, and it is greatly to be regretted that a little more thorough dissection was not made to show the exact spot through which the discharge took place into the ear. A soldier, twenty-two years old, had had purulent inflammation of the right tympanum for a long time, the drum membrane on this side being entirely destroyed. Eight days before his death he gave up duty, complaining of headache and pain in the ear, which continued without being relieved by any medication. As he was being raised in bed suddenly a stream of pus flowed from his right ear, and he died within one minute. The autopsy showed that the whole cerebellum, except the anterior third of the middle and left lobes, was converted into a fætid abscess, which had ruptured directly over the meatus auditorius. No dissection of the petrous bone to discover the existence of caries, or to find the course of the pus from the brain into the ear, appears to have been made, but from the preceding otorrhæa, and the sudden free discharge of pus evidently through some large communication, it is probable that carious destruction of the bone, either the roof of the tympanum or the inner wall of the mastoid cells, had already taken place before the rupture.

The case in none of its features can be regarded as a primary inflammation of the brain, any more than one or two others which have been reported within a few years, where neglect to examine the ear, both during life and after death, destroys the scientific value of the case. This report of Gribbon adds another to the many already published, showing how slight the symptoms may be when even a large portion of the brain is disorganized. In this case the soldier was on duty till eight days before death, and the only symptoms complained of

1 Archiv für Ohrenheilkunde, vol. xiii., page 259.
2 Lancet, No. 20, 1878.

were headache and muscular weakness; the amount of disintegration of brain substance and the only symptom complained of, which existed for some time before his giving up duty, namely, a sense of weight in the head, would show that the pathological process in the brain must have been going on much longer than these eight days.






May 25, 1878. Fifty-eight members were present, the president, Dr. HoMANS, in the chair.

The records of the last meeting were read and accepted.

Medical Library. The committee on change of rooms reported that the Boston Medical Library Association had purchased rooms wherein the meetings of the different societies could be held; the committee recommended the society to authorize the treasurer of the Suffolk District Society to terminate the lease of the rooms then occupied by the society, and to enter into negotiations for the new rooms, provided that the other societies did likewise.

Hernia. DR. H. O. MARCY read a paper on the radical cure of hernia by the antiseptic use of the carbolized catgut ligature. Reserved for publication.

Sun-Spots and Epidemics. - Dr. E. W. Cushing read a paper on sun-spots and epidemics, tracing the relation between the great epidemics which have devastated the world from the time of Homer down to the present century, strange natural phenomena either heralding or accompanying them; showing, also, that the epidemics are now known to depend on or at least coincide with the changes of solar energy, corresponding with the sun-spot cycle.

Color-Blindness. — DR. B. J. JEFTRIES read a paper on the Relative Frequency of Color-Blindness in Males and Females.2 Dr. Jeffries then explained the various recently proposed tests for color-blindness, showing each and discussing its merits, after the methods of Stilling, Donders, Daac, Cohn, Dor, and Holmgren, the last being the selection and matching of colored worsteds; he considered this test the most practical, the simplest, and surest.

The correctness of his extended remarks was exemplified by testing practically a redblind member of the society present, who verified all that was said by his own account of his color-blindness and his attempts to obviate his misfortune, as also by his peculiar selection of the worsted in exact accordance with the speaker's report regarding the color-blind amongst the ten thousand persons he had tested by this method of Professor Holmgren, of the University of Upsala, Sweden.

1 Since the above was written all the societies have voted to meet in future at the hall of the Library Association.

% Published in the JOURNAL, July 25, 1878.



The regular quarterly meeting of the Rhode Island Medical Society was held in Providence, December 18, 1878, the president, Dr. E. T. Caswell, in the chair. The committee appointed at the last meeting to make collections for the benefit of the families of physicians at the South who died from yellow ferer during the late epidemic reported that they had collected and forwarded to the secretary of the Mississippi Medical Society the sum of one bundred and twenty dollars.

Upon recommendation of the board of censors the following gentlemen were admitted to membership: J. B. Chapin, W. H. Greene, F. H. Rankin, of Providence, C. B. Mathewson, of East Greenwich, and W. S. Smith, of Scit


The president announced the recent death of Dr. S. Augustus Arnold, the oldest Fellow of the society, and in a few well-chosen remarks paid a fitting tribute to the character of the deceased. A committee was appointed to draw up a series of suitable resolutions to be placed upon the minutes of the society. This committee subsequently reported as follows:* Within a few days before this meeting, on the 12th day of December, the oldest Fellow of this society has been removed by death. Dr. S. Augustus Arnold was admitted as Fellow in 1822, and during the long period of fiftysix years has been an active member, partaking often in our discussions, holding many offices of trust and responsibility, and serving as president in the years 1849 and 1850.

“ The announcement that this long association is to exist no more, and that his useful and honorable life has come to an end, cannot be received by us without deep regret.

We desire to place on permanent record our appreciation of his fidelity to his convictions, his integrity and consistency of life, his earnest devotion to the profession of medicine, and his important services not only to our society, but to the community in which he lived.

" It is therefore voted that this minute be entered on our records and communicated to his surviving children, with the assurance of our sincere sympathy in this sudden and irreparable loss.


JAMES H. ELDREDGE.” Medical Witnesses. Dr. Turner, of Newport, made some remarks in regard to the compulsory attendance of physicians as witnesses in courts. He thought that some action should be taken to provide a law, if possible, by which courts should have discretion to allow a reasonable compensation, as is done in some other States. In the present state of the law in Rhode Island i frequently works great hardship in compelling long attendance with no adequate pay.

Dr. Garvin, of Lonsdale, in the course of remarks upon the same subject stated that on one occasion, being under summons to attend court at a certain bour, he found himself at that time in the midst of a case of labor, which of


course he could not leave. On his arrival at court, half an hour late, he was informed that a writ had been issued for his arrest. But upon explanation of the circumstances he was allowed to escape further penalty upon payment of costs.

Upon motion of Dr. Turner, a committee consisting of Drs. Garvin, Kenyon, and Dedrick, was appointed to inquire what measures could be taken to procure legislation that would remedy this evil.

Metric System. — The report of the committee upon the adoption of the metric system was read by Dr. J. W. Mitchell, of Providence. Upon recommendation of this committee, a resolution was adopted that on and after January 1, 1880, the metric system should be used by the Fellows of this society in the writing of prescriptions.

Medical Examiners. — Dr. H. W. Williams, of Boston, was introduced, and gave an account of the recently established system of medical examiners in the State of Massachusetts. He described the workings of the new law, and demonstrated fully its superiority over the old coroners' inquests.

Catarrh. Dr. H. G. Miller, of Providence, made some remarks upon the treatment of naso-pharyngeal catarrh. He deprecated the use of saline and other liquid applications by means of the nasal douche, as liable to produce injury of the middle ear. He recommended that all remedial agents should be applied in the form of dry powder by insufflation.

Dysmenorrhæa. - Dr. Virgil 0. Hardon, of Providence, read a paper upon Mechanical Dysmenorrhea. He described the symptoms and pathology of this affection, and advocated the treatment by incision of the cervix uteri after the manner of Sims. He cited a number of cases from his own practice which had been successfully treated in this way. This paper was followed by an animated discussion. Most of the participants were of the opinion that in the majority of cases of, mechanical dysmenorrhoea an operation is not necessary, but that relief may be obtained by dilatation of the cervix uteri or by the use of anodynes.

Diphtheria. - Dr. J. O. Whitney, of Pawtucket, read an elaborate essay upon Diphtheria, in which he brought forward some novel ideas in regard to the ætiology and pathology of the disease. He maintained that there is but one pseudo-membranous disease, which has at different times borne a variety of names, such as diphtheria, croup, putrid sore throat, membranous laryngitis, cynanche maligna, etc. It is contagious or infectious in proportion to its visible putridity in individual cases, the contagious principle existing both in the breath of the sick and in the more solid discharges from the affected surfaces. It is primarily a local disease, the constitutional results depending upon absorption of the decomposed membrane. One attack gives no protection against a future attack.

The meeting was then adjourned, the society accepting a cordial invitation from the president to partake of a bountiful repast furnished by him at his house.

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