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Cause of Goitre.
M. Maumene is led, from his observations and experiments, to believe that the cause of goitre is the presence in drinking-water of fluorides. These, he asserts, are peculiarly abundant in the water of goitrous districts. M. Maumene gave, for a period of five months, fluoride of potassium to a dog, at the end of which time a swelling similar to goitre appeared in the neck. The dog then made his escape, but three years afterwards was again discovered with a swelling, which appeared to M. Maumene' to have all the characters of goitre.—Med. Times and Gazette, May 5th, 1866.
Citric Acid as an application in Cancer.
In the Lancet of May 5th, 1866, Mr. Richard Willis writes— "In your Journal of the 26th ult. is a report by Mr. J. Denny of three cases of cancer where citric acid had been applied to soothe pain, with good results. Having a case of cancer, which commenced some years since as an enlarged submaxillary gland, supposed to be caused by a carious tooth, but which has proved malignant, and, from its size and situation, not removable, and the pain at times excessive, I prepared a lotion of Citric acid, one drachm to eight ounces of water, and ordered it to be brushed over the tumour, and the mouth to be rinsed out with it as often as he pleased. It has afforded perfect relief from pain."
Another correspondent sends, apropos of the subject, the following cutting from the Times of August 23rd, 1865 :—" Dr. Brondini, of Florence, finding by accident that a lemon, called for in her agony by a patient suffering from cancer of the tongue, assuaged the pain, tried a gargle composed of four grains of crystallized Citric acid to 350 grains of common water. He now uses a pledget of lint saturated with this solution to treat other affections, with instantaneous relief. He does not put it forward as a cure."
Since the publication of Dr. Eichardson's method of producing local anaesthesia by an ether spray, Dr. Henry J. Bigelow, of Boston, has published, in the "Boston Medical and Surgical Journal," an article on the same subject, in which he claims to have discovered, that a petroleum naphtha, which he proposes to call " rhigolene," is better adapted to the purpose of local freezing than ether. He says:—
"When it was learned here that Mr. Richardson, of London, had produced a useful anaesthesia by freezing, through the agency of ether vapour, reducing the temperature to 6° below zero, R, it occurred to me that a very volatile product of petroleum might be more sure to congeal the tissues, besides being far less expensive than ether. Mr. Merrill having, at my request, manufactured a liquid of which the boiling-point was 70° F., it proved that the mercury was easily depressed by this agent to 90° below zero; and that the skin could be, with certainty, frozen hard in five or ten seconds. A lower temperature might doubtless be produced, were it not for the ice which surrounds the bulb of the thermometer. This result may be approximately effected by the common and familiar 'spray-producer,' the concentric tubes of Mr. Richardson not being absolutely necessary to congeal the tissues with the rhigolene, as in his experiments with common ether. I have for convenience used a glass phial, through the cork of which passes a metal tube for the fluid, the air-tube being outside, and bent at its extremity so as to meet the fluid-tube at right angles, at some distance from the neck of the bottle. Air is not admitted to the bottle, as in Mr. Richardson's apparatus, the vapour of the rhigolene generated by the warmth of the hand applied externally being sufficient to prevent a vacuum, and to insure its free delivery: 15° below zero is easily produced by this apparatus. The bottle, when not in use, should be kept tightly corked, a precaution by no means superfluous, as the liquid readily loses its more volatile parts by evaporation, leaving a denser, and consequently less efficient, residue. In this and in several more expensive forms of apparatus in metal, both with and without the concentric tubes, I have found the sizes of 72 and 78 of Stubbs's steel-wire gauge to work well for the air and fluid orifices respectively; and it may be added, that metal points, reduced to sharp edges, are preferable to glass, which, by its non-conducting properties, allows the orifices to become obstructed by frozen aqueous vapour.
"Freezing by rhigolene is far more sure than by ether, as suggested by Mr. Richardson; inasmuch as common ether, boiling only at about 96° instead of 70°, often fails to produce an adequate degree of cold. The rhigolene is more convenient, and more easily controlled, than the freezing mixtures hitherto employed. Being quick in its action, inexpensive, and comparatively odourless, it will supersede general or local anaesthesia by ether or chloroform, for small operations, and in private houses. The opening of felons and other abscesses; the removal of small tumours; small incisions, excisions and evulsions, and perhaps the extraction of teeth, may be thus effected with admirable ease and certainty: and for these purposes surgeons will use it, as also, perhaps, for the relief of neuralgia, chronic rheumatism, &c., and as a styptic, and for the destruction, by freezing, of erectile and other growths. But, for the large operations, it is obviously less convenient than general anaesthesia, and will never supersede it. Applied to the skin, a first degree of congelation is evanescent: if protracted longer, it is followed by redness and desquamation, which may possibly be averted by the local incisions; but if continued, or used on a large scale, the dangers of frost-bite and mortification must be imminent. It may be superfluous to add, that both the liquid and the vapour of rhigolene are highly inflammable." ,
Mineral Waters of Vals (Ardeche).
"We have had the opportunity of examining, tasting, and applying in practice some water from one of the springs in the above source. The particular specimen which fell under our notice was from the spring named Magdeleine; but there are five others, St. Jean, Precieuse, Desires, Rigollette, and Dominique, derived from the same locality. The last-named differs completely from the others. It contains 1-33 parts of free sulphuric acid to the litre, with a very appreciable quantity of arsenic in combination with iron. It is said to have been found useful in intermittent fever, as well as in scrofulous, syphilitic, and skin affections. From its composition it would seem well deserving of trial in such disorders. The other springs differ amongst themselves in the proportion of contained salts; but they agree in the presence of free carbonic acid, bicarbonate of soda, potash, lime, magnesia, iron, chloride and sulphate of soda and lime, and silicate of alumina. The properties are therefore akin to those of the Vichy sources. The amount, however, of free carbonic acid and of iron is larger than in the last-named. Contrasting the Magdeleine of Vals with the Celestins of Vichy—each, in general terms, the strongest and most useful of its kind—we find the former more effervescent, containing about double the quantity of carbonate acid, and therefore more agreeable to the taste. But it is especially in the nature and proportion of the mineral ingredients that the Vals claims the superiority, more particularly in those limited quantities to which various considerations (including economical ones) restrict the use of such mineral waters when imported into places far from their source. The bicarbonates of the alkalies and alkaline earths far exceed those of the Celestins, rising to 1 and 1| for the soda base, 7 for the potash, 1-J for the lime, 2 f6r the magnesia. The chloride of sodium of the Vals is only ^ to i of the Vichy water. The ferruginous constituent of the Vals is stated at 7 times that of the Vichy. To sum up, the Magdeleine appears greatly to surpass the Celestins in the quantity and quality of its alkaline and alterative ingredients, and claims a far greater tonic power. The Vals waters may be obtained of Messrs. E. Gallais & Co., Margaret Street, Regent Street.—Lancet.
Quinine a Natural Constituent of the Body.
No imagination could have anticipated that the line of research into the rate of passage of substances into and out of the textures would lead to the supposition that man and all animals possess, in every part of the body, the most characteristic peculiarity of the bark of the cinchona trees of Peru. After determining the rate of passage of lithia and other mineral matters into and out of the body, Dr. Dupre aud I proceeded to endeavour to trace the rate of passage of Quinine into and out of the textures of animals. We chose Quinine because of that splendid test which led Professor Stokes to the discovery of the change of refrangibility of light.
A guinea-pig was given Quinine, and for comparison another guinea-pig was killed at the same time, having had no Quinine. In the pig that had taken Quinine, each organ was heated in a water-bath with very dilute sulphuric acid. This extraction was repeated over and over again. The acid extracts were mixed and filtered after cooling, neutralised with caustic acid, and repeatedly shaken up with their own bulk of Ether. The residue left after evaporation of the Ether was taken up by dilute sulphuric acid, filtered and tested for fluorescence. The pig that had taken no Quinine had each organ treated in a precisely similar way. To our great disappointment, at first, we found that not only had the pig that had taken the Quinine a fluorescent substance in the textures, but that an almost exactly similar substance was extracted from the organs of the pig that had taken no Quinine. Every texture was examined, and in every one this fluorescent substance occurred. We then endeavoured, in every possible way, to find a means of separating the natural from the induced fluorescence. And as every method failed, and we were compelled to recognise the close similarity of the substance that exists in the textures to Quinine itself, we for a time dropped the original inquiry, and proceeded to a more complete investigation of the natural fluorescent substance in animals.
Having obtained solutions, we were able to compare them with solutions of Quinine in their actions on the spectrum. And first, the solution of the natural substance begins to fluoresce a little before the solution of Quinine; but on carrying it on through the spectrum it ends where Quinine ends. The fluorescent light of the natural substance is a little more greenish than the fluorescent light of Quinine. If a quartz cell containing this fluid is interposed between the source of light and a solution of Quinine, no fluorescence takes place in- the Quinine; and if Quinine is interposed between the light and this natural solution, scarcely any fluorescence is observed in it. "When a solution of salt is added to the naturally fluorescing substance, it is almost entirely destroyed, as happens with Quinine. If the natural solution is boiled with permanganate of potass, it does not lose its fluorescence, nor does Quinine; but when permanganate with excess of Alkali acts upon this substance or Quinine, the fluorescent substance is entirely oxidized. Hence this substance by the mode of