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aurantiacus, two new species are described, C. lichenicolus and serpens. The diagnosis of the genus is thus given: Rods forming free cysts, in which they remain unmodified; cysts various, sessile, or borne on a more or less highly developed cystophore. In addition the author describes two new genera; viz., Myxobacter, rods forming large rounded cysts, one or more free within a gelatinous matrix raised above the substratum; with two species, M. aureus and simplex. rods slender, curved, Myxococcus ; These miswarming together after a vegetative period to form definite more or less encysted sessile masses of coccus-like spores; with three species, M. rubescens, virescens, and coralloides. The formation of plasmodes or pseudo-plasmodes appears to present an affinity to the Mycetozoa.'
[THE notes appearing in this department are abstracts or translations prepared expressly for MODERN MEDICINE AND BACTERIOLOGICAL WORLD, from original sources.]
Influence of Light on Bacteria.Some experiments have been made in the laboratory of Prof. Batalin, by Mr. Koltjar as to the influence of light on bacillus pseudo-anthracis, the sarcina aurantiacca, the micrococcus prodigiosus, and a raspberry-red coccus. crobes were cultivated on agar and potato. Light was passed through stained gelatine covering the test-tubes. Light prevented the growth of these bacteria, but the author says the effect was not as great as other observers have related concerning the action of light on pathogenic microbes. Concerning the colored rays, white sunlight prevents the growth to a considerable extent, the violet only slightly prevents it, and the red favors it. The production of pigment in the chromogenous bacteria corresponds with the luxuriance of their development. The sporulation of the bacillus pseudo-anthracis was favored by the violet rays.
A New Order of Schizomycetes.— In the Bot. Gazette xvii (1892), pp. 389406 (4 pls.); and xviii (1893), pp. 29 and 30, Mr. R. Thaxter proposes the name of myxobacteriacæ for the new group of schizomycetes resembling somewhat the myxomycetes. They have been discovered in gelatinous growths on decaying wood, vegetable substances, fungi, etc. They are motile, rod-like organs, says the journal of the Royal Microscopical Society (June, 1893, p. 370), multiplying by fission, secreting a gelatinous base and forming pseudo-plasmode-like aggregations before passing into a more or less highly developed cyst-producing resting state, in which the rods may become incysted in groups without modification, or may be converted into spore
"The order comprises Berkeley and Cooke's genus Chondromyces, placed by Berkeley among the Stilbiacei, and includes also Berkeley and Cooke's genus Stigmatella, and probably also Schröter's Cystobacter. In addition to Berkeley and Cooke's two species, C. crocatus and
Bactericidal Influence of the Blood. -Experiments in this line by Mr. Kionka, published in the Centralblatt für Bakteriol. u. Parasitenk., xii., and quoted by the journal of the Royal Microscopical Society, covers the ground of those of Christmas in Paris, and are intended to demonstrate that the results obtained by the latter experimentalists may be interpreted in a different manner than he has done. done. The first experiments made with anthrax and bacilli of typhoid fever demonstrated that sudden changes from one medium to another did not abolish the bactericidal influence. In the second set, anthrax and typhoid bacilli and staphyloccocus pyogenus aureus were cultivated in body juices (pleuritic exudate and hydrocele fluid), exposed to the influence of CO, after the cultivation media had been heated to 55° C., after which the body juices lose their bactericidal influence. The author failed to discover that CO, had any power to inhibit the growth of micro-organisms. The third series was made with typhoid bacilli (a), fresh from the human body, and (b) cultivations from artificial media. These two kinds of cultivations were made in various media of human blood serum, in peritoneal and plural exudations, but little difference in the growths was noticed.
"Is the bactericidal property of blood serum a vital phenomenon, or merely a chemical process? Such is the question propounded by Prof. R. Emmerich, Prof.
J. Tsuboi, Dr. Steinmetz, and Dr. O. Löw, and their experiments were directed toward the nature of the microbicidal proteids of serum. To solve the problem, it was necessary to obtain the serum proteids in a pure condition, and then to restore the activity and germicidal property to those proteid substances which had been rendered inert by chemical processes, such as precipitation, drying, etc.
"From a priori considerations this would appear an impossible task; but the authors are satisfied with the results of their experiments, showing that this difficulty has been overcome. In the first set of experiments the serum was precipitated and then dissolved in water. In the second set the serum-albumen was precipitated with alcohol, and dissolved in 41 to 5 per cent potash solution. In the third set the serum-albumen-potash solution was heated to 60°-63° C. They conclude from the results of these experiments that the microbicidal property of blood serum is not a vital phenomenon, but is merely a chemical process.
"In the course of their remarks the
authors point out that on two occasions in the series where they were dealing with the alkalinized serum heated up to 60°, the number of bacilli was obviously diminished. This is the strongest proof they bring against the position of Buchner, who attributed the bactericidal power of serum to some inherent (vital) property; since if heated to 55° this power was lost. That it is due to alkalinity they think is shown by the action being increased by alkalinity and being decreased by acidity, a position very similar to that taken up by Von Fodor some years ago. Von Fodor showed that by augmenting the alkalinity of the blood the bactericidal power was increased."
Destruction of Microbes by Infusoria. D. Harvey Atfield (British Medical Journal), a student in the Hygienic Institute of the University of Munich, recently carried out a number of experiments at the suggestion of Dr. Emmerich, for the purpose of determining whether microbes of polluted river water are destroyed by infusoria. The experiment shows very clearly that the low forms of animal life which abound in river water are exceedingly active in the destruction of bacteria, and hence of
A New Smallpox Bacillus. Besser (Centralb. f. Bakt.) recently observed, in an examination of the papule in a case of bacillus smallpox at the fifth day, a measuring 34 to 11⁄2 M. in length, with a breadth one fourth as great. The rodshaped bacillus was slightly pointed and thickened in the center. The bacilli were comparatively long lived, and capable of enduring considerable variations in temperature. The bacillus is aërobic, stains with ordinary aniline dyes, grows well upon agar and broth, but refuses to grow upon potatoes, serum, or gelatine. This bacillus is different from any which has previously been observed in smallpox, and is regarded by the discoverer as the specific organism of smallpox, though as yet no inoculatory experiments have been. made.
MODERN MEDICINE consistent with the results of modern
physiological investigation, Doctor Cur-
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OXYGEN AND ALCOHOL FOR SEPTICEMIA.
Ar the last meeting of the American Gynecological Society, Dr. Currier, of New York, read a paper in which he advanced the idea that septicemia is an acute toxic mycosis of the blood, resulting from the decomposition of substances in the intestines and the absorption of the toxic products, the absorption of decomposed material from the genital canal after labor, or the absorption of toxic substances through the serous surfaces after an operation on the abdominal or pelvic organs. If recovery occurs, it is obtained by means of phagocytosis which disposes of the germs, and by the oxidation and elimination of the toxic products. The author recommends giving highly concentrated liquid food and alcohol and the administering of oxygen.
No fault can be found with the doctor's theory concerning the nature of the disease, nor the importance of sustaining the patient by easily assimilated food, and his suggestion respecting the use of oxygen is especially valuable. We have used this remedy in cases of septicemia with wonderful effects. The cyanotic appearances observed in case of intense systemic poisoning, we have seen disappear as if by magic as the result of the inhalation of oxygen by means of a mask placed over the face, the oxygen being received from a large distended rubber bag. It is impossible to understand, however, by what theory,
MODERN discoveries relating to germs and their influence upon disease processes have revolutionized the science of medicine within the last quarter of a century. Especially in surgery have the most remarkable changes in methods and results been observed. Surgical procedures, formerly regarded as major operations, are now catalogued in the minor classes, while the mortality of such important operations as ovariotomy for the removal of tumors or diseased appendages has been brought down to less than one per cent in the practice of the most successful laparotomists. One surgeon has lately secured a series of 150 successive recoveries after this operation, in cases of the sort last referred to, a result hitherto unapproached, but likely to be often approached, and perhaps exceeded, in the future.
The great improvement in surgical statistics within the last few years has been attained largely through our knowledge of bacteriology. Spencer Wells and Lister succeeded by means of the extraordinary cleanliness which they secured through the use of the spray. Mr. Tait succeeded without the spray, by intestinal asepsis and drainage. In one case, the fundamental element of success was in lessening the number of microbes to which the tissues were exposed; in the other case, in increasing the protective activities of the body.
Mr. Tait's contempt for microbes is the natural outgrowth of his extraordinary success, while apparently ignoring them in his technique. Nevertheless, Mr. Tait's careful attention to the bowels both before and after the operation, the withholding of food and drink for forty-eight hours following the operation, and his rapid method of operating with a very small incision, thus restricting to the last degree the exposure of the peritoneum to microbes through contact with the air,
constitute more effective means of protection against these agents of disease than the most elaborate methods depending upon the spray or irrigation; so that, while Mr. Tait professedly ignores microbes altogether, he may be considered almost a model aseptic surgeon, in contrast with Spencer Wells, and others of the antiseptic school. The reason of his better success with aseptic methods than has been obtained with antiseptic methods is clearly understood in the light of the recent researches of Metchnikoff and other investigators, who have shown the importance of phagocytosis as a means of defending the body against microbes, and the recent observations which have so clearly shown the paralyzing influence of corrosive sublimate and other antiseptics upon the living tissues, even when used in very dilute form.
In the perfection of aseptic and antiseptic methods, great attention has been. given to the asepsis and antisepsis of surgical instruments, the operator's hands, the field of operations, dressings, sponges, and everything connected with the patient, with the exception of the air surrounding the patient and the operator. It is really surprising how small an amount of attention has been given to asepsis of the atmosphere in which the operation is to be performed. It cannot be said that this subject has been altogether neglected, for Dr. Prince, of Illinois, several years ago called the attention of the profession to a plan by which he proposed to filter all the air entering the operating-room, the air being forced in by means of a fan. For a number of years, the author has used, in all serious cases, an electrical fan which forces the air through a filtering apparatus furnished with a funnel which directs the air upon the field of operation. Culture experiments made with this apparatus show that the air issuing from it is free from microbes.
As a rule, however, the importance of
pure air in connection with surgical operations, seems to be very much underrated. One evidence of this is to be seen in the location of hospitals in the densest portions of our great cities. Mr. John Aitken, a few years ago, made a careful study of the relation of locality and surroundings to atmospheric purity, and by means of a special apparatus was able to determine with accuracy the number of microbes and dust particles found in a given volume of air. We quote the following from his report:
"At Cannes, the number varied from 1500 particles when the wind was blowing from the mountains, to 140,000 particles when the wind was blowing from the town; at Hyeres the sea air contained 1800 particles, and at Mentone, 5000. Observations on the Rigi were striking, the number of particles falling in places as low as 240, and varying from that up to 2300, and doubtless on this fact depended the peculiar brilliancy and transparency of the atmosphere in this locality.
"Observations made in Scotland and elsewhere indicated in what extraordinary degree the pollution in the air was due to human agency. In regions clear of human habitations the particles fell as low as 200, while in and around villages the particles amounted to thousands, and in towns, to hundreds of thousands. His lowest observation was 200 particles per cubic centimeter. It was still a problem whether that was the lowest limit attainable, and how much of that was of cosmic origin and how much was due to natural pollution. The presence of clouds at great elevations proved that dust existed in the upper atmosphere, but there must always be a considerable quantity of cosmic dust present, from the millions of meteors which fell daily. He had reason to believe that dust condensed moisture before the air was saturated, and this led to a loss of transparency, because the dust particles, by condensing the moisture in the air, increased in size.
There was no doubt that haze was often largely due to dust. The condition of the air during fog had been tested, and in all cases a large quantity of dust was found.
"The explanation of fogs probably was that calms increased the quantity of dust in the air; the dust increased the radiating power of the air, which soon got chilled to the condensing point, when fog was formed. Fogs were more frequent in towns, on account of the greater amount of dust in the air."
From the above facts it is evident that a large city is the most unfavorable of all places for a hospital. The great quantities of microbes deposited upon the streets, with the fecal discharges of animals, to say nothing of the miscellaneous germs furnished by other sources, are sufficient to keep the atmosphere of a town in a state of constant pollution with most deadly germs. The significance of infection from these sources is greatly emphasized by the recent observations respecting the bacillus coli.
We feel safe in thinking that the time will arrive, and it is to be hoped that it is not far distant, when hospitals for critical cases, such as laparotomies and other abdominal operations, will be located in the country. One good evidence of the advantage of a country location for a hospital is found in the fact that the best record ever made in a city hospital, that of Mr. Tait, of Birmingham, was 115 successive recoveries, whereas the recently published statistics of a hospital located in the suburbs of a small country town show a record of more than 160 recoveries after operation for removal of ovarian tumors or diseased tubes, ovaries, or uterus, without a single death. The country is the place for critical surgical work, an atmosphere containing only two or three hundred microbes in a given quantity of air is certainly preferable to one which contains hundreds of thousands, which Mr. Aitken found to be the case in cities. J. H. K.