« ForrigeFortsæt »
dissatisfaction that prevails regarding the action of the Council of Pharmacy and Chemistry in excluding advertisements of certain proprietary medicines from the journal conducted by the association, the contention having aroused a marked degree of antagonism toward the supposed policy of the secretary-editor who was merely executing the mandates of the trustees. Indeed dissatisfaction with the management of the association generally has assumed such proportions that a resolution was introduced requesting the appointment of a committee to investigate the affairs of the secretary and treasurer, but the shortsightedness of zealous friends was responsible for tabling the measure and thereby unfortunately committing the officers to unwarranted suspicion. ¶ The report of Doctor Simmons disclosed the information that there were 23,636 members in the association, 4,351 having affiliated therewith during the past year. Doctor Happell, chairman of the Board of Trustees, reported that the association was in a flourishing condition financially, the assets being nearly $238,000. During the past year the income from all sources aggregated about $275,000. The expenses for this period were approximately $250,000, leaving an annual income of $25,000 to augment the total net assets to $247,500. With an indebtedness of only about $10,000 the above rendering certainly justifies continuance of the incumbent financial management. Doctor Reed, of the Committee on Medical Legislation, reported the recommendation of an appropriation to facilitate the formulation of a bill for the department of public health and the payment of current expenses of the Committee. ¶ Doctor Rodman, of Philadelphia, called attention to the necessity for uniformity of license granting in the various commonwealths of the United States, and while deploring the improbability of immediate national control of licensiation, suggested that the Council on Medical Education should be empowered to issue licenses to practice medicine in any state. The report of Doctor Keen, chairman of the Committee on the Walter Reed Monument Fund, showed that $19,700 was in hand and $1,200 in subscriptions outstanding. The ungratefulness of human nature is manifest in the fact that quarters rendered immune to yellow fever by the discovery of Doctor Reed contributed the smallest amounts to his memory. A series of resolutions endorsed the conduct of Secretary Simmons and disclaimed any intention on the part of the American Medical Association or the State Medical Societies to injure the independent medical journals owned or edited by physicians—the later declaration precipitating in face of the fact that the independent medical journals are confronted by a system of competition which frequently proffers advertising space for a pittance and invariably renders publication without price. However, this is considered legitimate privilege in business transaction. It is likewise considered legitimate criterion in judging valuation.
The literary program contained many papers that afforded excellent food for thought and action. Doctor Mayo, in his presidential address,
discussed "The Medical Profession and the Issues which Confront It," considering the profession and the public; public health legislation; medical education, state licensure, and reciprocity; relations to insurance companies, corporations, et cetera; the practice of medicine as a business; and concluded with a peroration on medical progress, from which this beautiful passage is reproduced: "What are the rewards of so laborious a life? They cannot be measured, because there is no standard of comparison. To realize that one has devoted himself to the most holy of all callings, that without thought of reward he has alleviated the sufferings of the sick and added to the length and usefulness of human life, is a source of satisfaction that money cannot buy. I know many a man grown gray in the profession with little of a tangible nature to show as a result of his work, but who is not only contented with his lot, but proud to have served in the ranks, and who looks back on a life of privation and hardship for the benefit of humanity as a privilege which he is thankful has been vouchsafed him." Among the various contributions to the sections were several which discussed the conduct and practices of physicians themselves. Doctor Jacobi, of New York, read a paper on "Quackery," in which he declared that physicians were responsible in great degree for the self-dosing with patent medicines. Many doctors prescribe nostrums and support medical journals that publish "reading notices," that publish advertisements of drugs in the guise of "original articles," and that alternate medical with advertising pages. [Doctor Dock, of Michigan, discussed "Proprietary Medicines and Their Abuses." The exclusion of advertising laudatory of these products would not be likely to elevate the morals of physicians already employing them in practice. The most efficacious proprietary medicaments would continue to be manufactured and advertised, but crude experimentation could be discouraged by treating the advent of new drugs as lightly as one would treat a new phase of mental healing or a new application of massage. The abuse of proprietary medicines sprang partly from the exaggeration of legitimate commercial methods, and partly from the credulity of the medical profession. It is within the province of the profession to determine the virtue and vogue of every medicinal product recommended for the treatment of disease. At a meeting of medical editors, Doctor Pilcher, of Pennsylvania, contributed a paper in which medical editors were classified and defined, summary of opinion being embraced in the following: "We conclude, then, (1) that while medical journalism as a prop to practice and a bridge over the impecuniosity of early professional years may be of some advantage to the profession as well as to the temporary editor; (2) that while medical journalism for the purpose of developing special lines of professional and mercantile work may be of much service to many of the profession; (3) that while there are a small number of men who possess the exceptional executive and literary ability necessary to conduct professional and editorial work at the same time-the medical journalism of the twentieth century increasingly demands the whole intellectual and
physical energy of its editorial conductors in the presence of the great aggregation of professional atoms which is daily falling upon the professional field to be excavated and investigated, and the clearing away of which, for the benefit of the twentieth century practitioner, will demand the entire absorption of the mind, soul, and body of the conscientious medical editor who really desires to be a helper to the profession and a leader in the medical work of the age.'
THE INFLUENCE OF MINERAL WATER ON MICROBES.
RHEINBOLT, in a German publication, describes his experiments on the bacillus prodigiosus with radioactive mineral water. That minerals of all kinds exert a deteriorating influence on bacteria is a well-known fact, and that mineral water is also an inhibitant to bacterial growth was disclosed by the experiments of this scientist. While old water, bottled for commercial purposes, seemed to have lost its attenuating power, fresh specimens, taken from the spring, destroyed the organisms in a boullion culture after a contact of four hours, the activity of the water, however, decreasing after this time. Efforts to recharge the liquid with radium emanations proved to a degree futile, and this fact is responsible for the conclusion that mineral water possesses inhibitory properties other than are represented in this metal.
INVESTIGATIONS BEARING ON ANIMAL INTELLIGENCE.
THE study of animals, the degree of their intelligence, the acuteness of their vision, and the capacity of their comprehension is indeed interesting. However, owing to our inability to decipher their vernacular, or whatever phonetic means of communication they may possess, we are unable to successfully penetrate their mentality. Zell has studied the subject quite comprehensively, and in a contribution to a German publication details his observations. That monkeys are equipped with a keen sense of sight he is convinced, and that their power of discrimination is above the ordinary he determined when studying the quadrumana in the Berlin Zoological Garden. Contrary to the usual spirit of audacity which characterizes these animals, one of them utterly ignored the visitors and concentrated her attention on a street vehicle, seemingly wrapped in deep thought. On asking the keeper the cause of her concern the observer was informed that instead of the customary horse the conveyance was attached on this occasion to a donkey, and the aural appendages and other equine dissimilarities had incited her curiosity. Monkeys are equipped with a comparatively poor olfactory apparatus, and must depend almost entirely upon their sense of sight to warn them of the
approach of animals of prey and other malefactors. Dogs, on the other hand, so far as scientists have been able to determine, have an excellent sense of smell, but of the power of their optical adjustment little is known. Deer and roebuck have comparatively poor eyes but excellent Observation has taught that animals are more vindictive to enemies than is man, and in consequence of the constant vigil which beasts of the jungle must maintain on account of the murderous assaults of preying foes, nature has wisely endowed them either with keen perception or acute sense of smell.
STOICISM OF EARTHQUAKE SUFFERERS.
THE stoicism with which Californians view the calamity to the city of San Francisco is displayed in an article which lately appeared in a western publication. In comparing the deaths resultant from the earthquake to those sustained in recent American catastrophes the utmost optimism is exhibited. In the Iroquois theater conflagration in Chicago more than five hundred persons met death, and over one thousand lives were sacrificed in the burning of the steamer "Slocum" in New York harbor. Thus it will be seen that since only three hundred thirty-three persons succumbed from fire and quake in the California metropolis, the loss, while appalling, is comparatively small. The author argues that within the course of a few weeks more than three hundred persons would have died from natural causes, and inasmuch as hundreds of births will occur in San Francisco within a year, the depopulating effect of the disaster is not so severe as would at first be imagined. Indeed, when contrasted with other catastrophes, the death list is insignificant.
PHYSICIANS AND PHILOSOPHERS.
[PROFESSOR CHARLES WILLIAM SUPER, OF OHIO UNIVERSITY, IN POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.]
ACCORDING to Homer and Herodotus, the healing art was discovered or invented in Egypt. The Odyssey tells us that there every man is a physician skilled beyond human kind. Mention is also made of the many plants possessing medicinal properties. Oculists are said to have been particularly numerous, and many prescriptions for diseases of the eye have been found among the papyri. Artificial and goldfilled teeth have also been met with both in Egypt and in Etrurian tombs. The practise of medicine was, however, purely empirical, and the rules followed in the treatment of particular diseases were often of great age. The second king of Egypt is said to have been a physician, and another is reported to have written a book on anatomy. The private physicians of both Cambyses and of Darius were Egyptians.
The name of the latter brings to mind that of his son Artaxerxes whose private physician was a man of considerable importance in his day, outside of his profession. Ktesias was a native of Knidos, a contemporary of Hippocrates, and no doubt personally known to him. Here we have again the philosopher and the physician in the same person. After acquiring considerable reputation in his own country he had the misfortune to fall into the hands of the Persians. Subsequently he was introduced at court, which proved the beginning of his good fortune. After the battle of Cunaxa he healed the wound inflicted upon his master by the brother of the latter. Later he was employed on a diplomatic mission to his native land; and thus after an absence of seventeen years returned home about 398 B. C., to remain for the rest of his life. That he was well treated by the master whose slave he became, according to Persian parlance, and had abundant opportunities for study, is evident from the fact that he compiled a 'History of Persia,' a work in which he charged Herodotus with frequent falsehoods in what he relates about that country. His scholarly tastes are evinced by this extensive collection, as it must have been, since it was divided into twenty-three books. He also composed a small work on India and one on geography. He is not known to have left any medical writings, and his reputation for impartiality as a historian is not very good. Still it must be regarded as a great misfortune that his extant remains are so meager.
In later times many Egyptian physicians practiced in Rome; for to have studied in the land of the Nile, or, still better, to have been born there, was regarded as a special recommendation. Here, too, magic formulas of all kinds were in frequent use, not only in the compounding of medicines, but in their application. According to Pliny cadavers were dissected by order of the Ptolemies for the purpose of studying fatal diseases. But it can hardly be inferred from this statement that anatomy was regularly pursued in this way, or that dissection was a common practice.
Pliny, who had no very high opinion of the medical fraternity for reasons that will appear farther on, makes the assertion that Rome managed to get along six hundred years without physicians. This is manifestly an exaggeration, since many Greeks professed the healing art in the imperial city much earlier than 150 B. C. But neither did Rome produce a philosopher in the proper sense of the term; certainly no man who loved wisdom for its own sake. The Romans were, however, an exceptionally healthy people, owing to their fondness for outdoor life. This is demonstrated by the rapidity with which they recovered from repeated disasters. Once in a while their capital was invaded by a contagious disorder, then all who could do so left it until the scourge had spent its force, when affairs resumed their natural channel. In fact this was the usual course everywhere until very recently, when the real nature of such diseases was discovered. The ancient Romans were also a singularly hard-headed and practical people; consequently