Page images

to which that gentleman attaches so much importance, in explaining the derangements to which he refers.*

In conclusion, I may here give a short description of a remarkable condition of the teeth and jaws, which I have had the opportunity of observing since beginning this paper, in a patient greatly distorted from rickets, who is at present in the Middlesex Hospital. I have observed in numerous persons deformed from that disease, great crowding, accompanied with much displacement and irregularity, of the teeth in both jaws, apparently produced from want of proportion between the size of the bones and that of the teeth ; but in none have the effects been so distressing as in the case to which I refer. The patient is a girl, seventeen years of age, who was admitted into the hospital under the care of my colleague Mr. Arnott, for fracture of the left thigh bone. Her whole body is distorted in the manner usually seen in those who have had rickets in early childhood, but to an aggravated degree such as we seldom witness. On looking to the curved and twisted state of the legs, it is only surprising that she should have been able to walk before she met with the fracture. In regard to the appearance of the head, it is particularly remarked that it has the proportions of the child about six or eight years of age, instead of those of a person of her time of life ;

* On Dentition, and some coincident Disorders. By John Ashburner, M.D. 1834.

and so much does this peculiarity in the proportions of her head deceive those who are asked to guess her age, that she is invariably supposed, at first, to be only about eight years old. Both jaws are remarkably small; and the teeth present several irregularities. The first thing which attracts our notice, is the disproportionately large size of the crowns of the front teeth when compared with the smallness of the jaw-bones. The next, is the great number of teeth which are wanting, without there being sufficient room to receive additional ones. Although the patient has arrived at that period of life when she ought properly to have the full complement of permanent teeth, she has only fourteen teeth altogether in both jaws; and the vacant spaces which mark where the teeth that have dropped out were formerly placed, are all so narrow that it would be impossible for them to contain a sixth part of the teeth that are lost. Another circumstance marks in a striking manner, by the distressing effects to which it gives rise, the want of correspondence which must have existed, during the growth, between the development of the teeth and of the jaws: although the crowns of most of the teeth, as already mentioned, are large enough to be adapted for jaws of full size, the fangs are extremely small, and the sockets correspondingly shallow and imperfect; the consequence of which is that these teeth are all quite loose ; so that they can be easily shaken to and fro with the fingers, and it is with great pain and difficulty that she chews her food.


Average of heads of

of three

Average of Giant's

Average of Average of Average of Skull, five

of heads skull, height six adult two skulls to six years Rickets. Rickets. Rickets. Rickets. the ricketty 7ft. Sin.

seven rickskulls. at birth. of age.


adults. Adult. Adult. Adult. Adult.

Jetty persons


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]


Circumf. of skull above su

pracil ridges. Face:

From naso-frontal suture to

Meatus auditor. ext. to symph

of up.jaw.
One os malæ to the other. I
Front pr. of up jaw to edge

of alveol.
Poster. molar tooth of one

side to other.
Angle of low jaw to sym-

Articul. surface to angle of
One angle of jaw to other. /
Chin to edge of alveolar

Average of the dif. meas. of

Proportion of cranium to face

as unit.


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]



READ JUNE 13th, 1843.

In the early part of last winter I operated in a case of hydrocele, in the fluid of which there were discovered numerous spermatic animalcules. The situation of the fluid was such that there was no reason to doubt the case being “hydrocele of the tunica vaginalis testis.” Moreover, the fluid appeared to the unassisted eye to be similar to that which is commonly found in the ordinary form of that disease. There were about fourteen ounces of it.

That it contained spermatozoa was quite accidentally discovered. I had preserved it to be used as a menstruum with which to dilute some blood for the purpose of microscopical observation. I did not examine it till some hours after it had been


abstracted, when it had become quite cold. In this state I put a little of it into a glass, and added to it a small portion of a drop of blood, so that I might see the blood disks separate and quite insulated. It was under these circumstances, while examining the fluid with the microscope, (using an object glass of gth of an inch focal length, the magnifying power being from 500 to 600 diameters,) that I observed numerous spermatozoa interspersed among the blood disks. I was at a loss how to account for the presence of the animalcules. I thought at first that the glasses between which I examined the fluid might not have been clean, and might have had some dead spermatozoa adherent to them, as I had been a short time before occupied in investigating the spermatic fluid. But it was quickly proved that the fluid of the hydrocele was the sole source of the animalcules, many of them being discovered in every drop of the fluid which was subsequently examined. They corresponded in size, as well as in form, with the animalcules found in human spermatic fluid, as was demonstrated by measuring them with the micrometer. The fluid of the hydrocele, in the precise condition in which it was abstracted, contained, in addition to the spermatozoa, a few blood globules, small roundish granular bodies, some apparently empty, nearly colourless cysts, and many masses of opaque matter, which seemed to be made up of portions of epithelium.

Since meeting with the preceding case, I have availed myself of every opportunity of examining



[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »