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When we remember that the permanent vertebræ are the results of a secondary segmentation, there is little difficulty in believing that a portion of the skull, corresponding in extent to the cranial end of the notochord, is formed by the fusion of a number of vertebral elements; but in front of this there is another portion of a different, or at least secondary, origin, and it is pretty evident that segments of the skull do not correspond individually to vertebræ. Information is also gained from the nerves, as those which arise in front of the potochord have no resemblance to spinal nerves. Gegenbauer believes that at least nine vertebræ euter into the composition of the cranium. The work is well translated and printed.

T. D.

THE AMERICAN OPHTHALMOLOGICAL SOCIETY. This volume, although it contains papers of undoubted clinical value, is not satisfactory as a product of three years' activity of the society. The chief causes of its unsatisfactory nature are the relatively small amount of evidence of independent observation, and the apparent neglect of the greater clinical questions that now interest the ophthalmological world; there is, besides, a certain favor of " specialism” in some of the papers, which to the surgeon lack almost everything but this flavor. It will be a bad day for “specialties ” when it becomes a custom to cover under their veil work which will not bear the light that illumines the science of surgery.

Dr. Bull furnishes careful studies of certain syphilitic diseases of the lid and conjunctiva, and of amyloid infiltration of the lid and orbit, which, like all of Dr. Bull's recent contributions to the pathology of these parts, are valuable additions to ophthalmological literature. Drs. Wadsworth and Putnam give à condensed account of an interesting physiological study of the intra-ocular circulation, and Dr. William Thomson describes an ingenious new ametrometer, based upon the principle of measuring the circles of diffusion formed around the image of a small flame upon the retina of an ametropic eye. Several of the other papers are clearly recorded, and interesting clinical contributions, especially those of Drs. Strawbridge, Dixon, Webster, and Vermeyne. A plain, unvarnished account of some of the weaker papers would no doubt be of great benefit to ophthalmological literature, but it would be rather too delicate a task to attempt it in a journal devoted to the general literature of the profession.

D. H.

DA COSTA ON HARVEY.? Tais little book is a very prettily written essay, which we cannot decry, though we do not quite agree with the author. It may be that Harvey deserves to be called the discoverer of the circulation. He was the first to write a book on it alone. He probably was the first to appreciate the full importance of the question. He described and demonstrated it with rare skill; 1 Transactions of the American Ophthalmological Society. 1876, 1877, 1878. · Harvey and his Discovery. By J. M. Da Costa, M. D. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1879.

but we cannot shut our eyes to the merits of his predecessors. When Harvey went to study in Padua the idea was not new, either in Italy or Spain, though its full bearings had not been grasped. We may claim for him the honor of having made the discovery a fact instead of a theory.

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MARSH ON SECTION CUTTING. We should like to speak kindly of this little work, for the author, no doubt, meant to do a service to beginners. The trouble is, however, that though Rutherford and Schaefer may have left some gaps in their admirable handbooks, this book does not fill them. It has one or two little points that are perhaps new, but it does not give information on many subjects which a book of its title should. To be of any real use it should teach more than it does. Still it is not without merit. In his preface the author calls his book a “manualette," and though the word is new to us, it seems, somehow, very descriptive of the nature of the work.

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NATIONAL HEALTH LEGISLATION. During the present session of Congress no public health legislation has been enacted, but a bill has been reported by the committee on epidemic diseases, which it is understood has been prepared by the National Board of Health at the request of the committee, and is so comprehensive in its character, and shows such proper consideration for the conflicting interests necessarily involved in any scheme for national health legislation, that it is to be hoped the bill will receive proper consideration and action before the present session is terminated. By the terms of the bill the National Board of Health are required to frame sanitary rules and regulations under which vessels coming from ports where infectious disease prevails may enter ports of the United States. The regulations are to provide for the careful inspection and sanitation of vessels at foreign ports before departure for the United States by medical officers detailed from the army, navy, or marine hospital service, one of whom may be stationed at any of the foreign ports where infectious diseases prevail; and on the arrival of such vessels at United States ports the local health authorities are required to demand the certificate of the medical officer at the port of departure that the sanitary regulations prescribed have been complied with, and to subject the vessel to such sanitary measures at the port of entry as may be directed by the National Board of Health. In the event of their failure or neglect to do so the board may request the president to detail a medical officer of the public services for the execution of this duty.

On the outbreak of cholera, yellow fever, or other infectious disease within the United States, the board is empowered to take such measures as will prevent the spread of the diseases from one State to another, by establishing stations, and by the erection of temporary buildings on the lines of railroad or river

1 Section Cutting. A Practical Guide to the Preparation and Mounting of Sections for th Microscope. By Dr. Sylvester Marsh. Philadelphia : Lindsay and Blakiston. 1879.

traffic between States, for the disinfection of persons, baggage, vessels, or other vehicles of contagion, and may enforce such rules and regulations as have been prescribed therefor.

All consular officers of the United States are required to make weekly reports of the sanitary conditions of the points at which they are stationed to the board of health, who are to obtain as far as possible, by the voluntary coöperation of local health authorities, all accessible information bearing on the state of the public health of places within the United States, and to transmit weekly reports of the same to local health officers and other

proper

authorities. The board are directed to cause investigations to be made into the diseases prevailing among domestic animals, especially those used for food, and to ascertain the best means for preventing and controlling such diseases. The board are also required to cause a thorough inspection of all animals arriving at the shipping ports of the country, and to make such notification and recommendation in regard to the prevalence of disease among such animals as may be deemed proper. These last provisions of the bill have been conceived in an eminently wise and scientific spirit, as the prevalence of disease among certain domestic animals is becoming a matter of vital importance to some of the most important interests of the country; and the required investigations may be much better conducted under the direction of the National Board of Health, composed as it is of men eminent for their professional and scientific attainments, than under the unprofessional departments of the government to which they have heretofore been entrusted. It should be borne in mind, too, that such investigations should be pursued in the highest scientific spirit of inquiry, with the view of adding to our knowledge of comparative pathology; this field has been but little worked, but is one from which most valuable information may be gathered in regard to the essential principles governing contagious affections, and the manver in which disease is communicated from one individual to another. The proposed detail of medical officers of the public services for executing the laws and regulations that may be made under the act is a wise provision, as there can be little question that these duties would be better discharged by these officers than by those appointed under the influences that too often determine the selection of the officials entrusted with the care of the public health.

The bill provides for the appropriation of six hundred and fifty thousand dollars for carrying out its provisions.

CROUP AND DIPHTHERIA. The growing belief in the identity of croup and diphtheria lends interest to the discussion 'now in progress before the Royal Medical and Chirurgical Society of London on the report of the committee appointed some years ago to investigate the doubtful points regarding these affections, chiefly as to “ whether there is such a disease as “idiopathic membranous croup;' that is, whether membranous laryngitis exists independently of the diphtheritic poison.” In the absence of clinical and pathological facts which are conclusive to all minds, these questions can be decided only by the prevailing opinion of the medical world expressed through such bodies as the Medical and Chirurgical Society. The deductions of the committee, printed on another page, seem to have been drawn with a view to making their report unanimous, and, although doubtless as positive as the circumstances would admit, they were not sufficiently ex• plicit to enable the members of the society to agree as to their exact meaning; hence the interpretations were conflicting. Many of the members were quite satisfied, from their own experience, that the diphtheritic poison was not the sole cause of membranous croup, but that various zymotic and non-septic influences might be held responsible. Dr. Wilson Fox referred to the casts of the bronchial tubes in plastic bronchitis as being analogous in structure to the croupous membrane, and as indicating the possibility of non-specific membranous disease. If the burden of proof rests upon those who wish to show that all cases of membranous croup are laryngeal or tracheal diphtheria, it is not probable that more dogmatic conclusions than those of the committee can at present be sustained; but of this we may be certain with regard to our own community, that of late years, since diphtheria has been prevalent, idiopathic membranous croup

is a disease seldom heard of, and, in a family of children, no physician would now be justified in considering a case of primary membranous laryngitis as non-diphtheritic unless diphtheria could be positively excluded. Perhaps that is as far as it is worth while to go, since it is not likely that the discussion before the Medical and Chiurgical Society, which may

be prolonged one, will convince the many competent observers, especially those of an older generation, who have "had cases," that non-specific membranous croup is entirely a delusion of the past.

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A MORAL DISEASE AND ITS CURE.

The terrible crime committed last week in Pocasset, an Adventist * making a sacrifice unto the Lord,” by stabbing through the heart his sleeping daughter, five years of age, and being fully sustained in the deed by the brethren of his creed, is a startling reminder of the powerful influences which are quietly at work in this little State, and is in our opinion the legitimate result of the teachings of certain influential men who by precept and example educate the masses to espouse any cause or belief which has the flavor of novelty or opposition in it. We were once assured by a colleague of his conviction that it was the mission of this community of ours to try all sorts of social or political experiments. It may be a harmless matter for the “sages” and “advanced thinkers ” to dabble in them, but the spirit thus engendered will crop out in less tutored minds in the shape of some hideous form of fanaticism, such as lately has been witnessed. We trust there will be no talk about non-responsibility in this case. Whatever may be the precise condition of the murderer's mind from a nicely calculated scientific stand-point, or of the minds of the men, women, and children who uphold him in his crime, we feel sure that the moral atmosphere of this befogged community would be wonderfully cleared by a prompt infliction of the full penalty of the law.

MEDICAL NOTES. We are glad to learn that Dr. II. I. Bowditch is recovering from his recent injury, and is able partially to resume practice. In alighting from a horsecar some eight weeks since he fell, and it was found that the tendon of the quadriceps extensor muscle had been ruptured. Although seventy years of age he has sustained the accident without perceptible impairment of his general health, He has of course been prevented from attending the meetings of the new National Board of Health, but we understand that the members have had the benefit of his counsel and advice. Dr. Bowditch's reputation and popularity are so wide spread that the profession not only of Boston but of the whole country will be rejoiced to hear of his recovery. Dr. Knight, his partner, is slowly convalescing from a severe attack of rheumatic fever.

– The Rhode Island Board of Health was established to make investigations and reports with regard to the causes and prevention of disease, to perform the duties of cattle commissioners, to collect and report upon the vital statistics of the State, and to diffuse useful information among the people. It consists of six members, of whom four are physicians. The first report of the board is just published, consisting of articles on hygiene in public schools ; dangers from wall-papers, poisonous cards and labels; prevention of kerosene accidents ; kerosene ; medical topography of Rhode Island; diphtheria ; causes of ill health among women ; dietetic value of alcoholic beverages; and the report of the secretary, - beside reprints of the Michigan circular on resuscitation of the apparently drowned, and Colonel Waring's excellent prize essay on typhoid fever. The report does not reach the standard of the best sanitary science in that State, while some parts of it, notably the instructions with regard to infectious diseases and treatment of diphtheria, are open to criticism. The board evidently has entered upon its duties with zeal and with hopes of a wide work and much usefulness.

We are informed by the committee of arrangements for the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Medical Society on the 10th and 11th of June that surgical instrument makers and druggists desiring to exhibit their goods can do so only by first obtaining authority in writing from a sub-committee consisting of Dr. Amory, of Longwood, and Dr. J. O. Green, Jr., of Boston, of the committee of arrangements; and that under no circumstances will the society be responsible for any expense incurred by such exhibition. Applications must be received before June 1st.

- Dr. A. P. Beach, of Seville, Ohio, reports the birth of a child of the wellknown giants, Mr. and Mrs. Bates. The father's stature is seven feet seven

the mother's, seven feet nine inches. At birth the child weighed twentythree and three fourths pounds; its height was thirty inches; breast measure, twenty-four inches; breech, twenty-seven inches ; head, nineteen inches; foot, five and one half inches in length. The secundines weighed ten pounds. The amniotic fluid amounted to six gallons. This is the largest child at birth of which there is any record.

inches;

NEW YORK.

- At the last regular monthly meeting of the County Medical Society, April 28th, Dr. D. H. Godwillie read a paper on Extirpation of the Bones of

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