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Scientific American Supplement, No. 415, December 15, 1883 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 102 pages of information about Scientific American Supplement, No. 415, December 15, 1883.
“I have seen a consumption invalid gain largely in weight, while the disease was making rapid progress in her lungs, and the evening temperature rarely fell below 101 deg.  Fahr.  Until then I considered that an increase of weight in phthisis pulmonalis was a proof of the arrest of the malady.”  If koumiss possesses this power, mullein does not; but unfortunately, as real koumiss can be made from the milk of the mare only, and as it does not bear traveling, the consumptive invalid must go at least to Samara or Southern Russia.  In pretubercular and early cases of pulmonary consumption, mullein appears to have a distinct weight-increasing power; and I have observed this in several private cases also.  Having no weighings of these latter, however, makes this statement merely an expression of opinion.  In early cases, mullein milk appears to act very much in the same manner as cod-liver oil; and when we consider that it is at once cheap and palatable it is certainly worth a trial.  I will continue the research by careful weighings of early cases; and will further endeavor to ascertain whether the addition of mullein to the cultivating solution prevents the propagation of the phthisical bacillus.

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Lewaschew and Klikowitch, from experiments upon dogs, conclude that the use of ordinary alkaline mineral waters was to increase the quantity of bile and to make it more fluid and watery.  This increased flow is beneficial in clearing out any bile stagnating in the gall-bladder.  A subsequent increase in the quantity of bile indicates a greater flow of bile into the gall-bladder, and this also is of service in emptying out any stagnant bile, and restoring the normal condition when this is disturbed.  Artificial solutions of alkaline salts were found to have a similar action to the natural mineral waters, and, as with them, the action varies according to the concentration of the solution.  Bicarbonate of sodium has a quicker, more powerful, and more lasting effect on the composition of the bile than the sulphate of sodium, and weak solutions than strong ones.  Vichy was more efficacious than Carlsbad water.  Hot water was found to have an effect on the bile much like that of the mineral waters.

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Although Magendie is rightly considered the true initiator of experimentation upon living beings, the practice of vivisection is as old as science itself.

Galien, the physician of Marcus Aurelius (in the second century of the Christian era), dissected living animals, and yet he is regarded as having merited his name (Galenus, “gentle”) from the mildness of his character.  Five centuries before him, under the Ptolemies, Egyptian experimenters had operated upon condemned persons.  So, then, vivisection is not, as usually thought, a diabolical invention of modern science.

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