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[Written for the MEDICAL BRIEF.] Disease Diagnosis.-How do Medi

cines Act?

BY W. S. BALL, A. M., M. D., Mantua Station, O.

You give a physic; how does it act? You take an emetic; can you explain its modus operandi? You give a large dose of quinine to stop that condition known as periodic; how does it do it?

You find a patient in terrible pain, and give an opiate; how does it relieve pain?

A man has a high fever; you give veratrum, and diaphoretic powder, and the fever is broken; what has been done?

Well, here I am asking more questions. Well, I want to learn. We should never be content with the smattering of knowledge we possess, but always trying to discover something new, something for the relief of our patrons.

But we might go on and ask a journal full of just such questions, and if we gave no answers, it would not benefit


We have taken up the theme of diagnosis, not for the purpose of nosology, for we have no remedies for the name of any disease.

The nomenclature of disease is continually leading the young practitioner astray.

Firing drugs into a patient to fit a name is quackery, and should be rooted out of our books.

We should have remedies for conditions and not for names.

Think a moment. Have you a remedy for typhoid fever? If you have, I would not like you to treat me for that disease. You know there are no two cases alike, and, therefore, no two cases can be treated alike. At least, not reasonably or scientifically.

Disease is simply a wrong of the system. Some law of Nature has been dis obeyed.

Have you a remedy for rheumatism? I answer, no.

Have you a remedy where lactic acid is generated in stomach and bowels, has filled the system, and produces great muscular pain? I say, yes. You have expressed a condition (not a name), and I have a remedy, varying in all cases to suit other conditions; i. e., if, with this pain, you have a broad, pallid tongue all covered with pasty white skin coat, temperature high, say 102° F., hot and dry, pulse strong and full, bounding, bowels constipated, we would sit down and write you a prescription as follows:

R Sodii Salicylatis... .1 drachm. Tincture Cimicifugæ (Green). .....1 drachm. ..............1 drachm. Ext. Colchici. (Sem.) fil... Ext. Simplicis....q. s. ad 4 ounces. M. Sig.: Teaspoonful every four hours. This is for the accumulation and absorption of lactic acid.

(Continued on page 584.)

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Aquæ Puræ.q. 8. ad................................................... 4 ounces. M. Sig.: Teaspoonful every two hours until a moisture of skin is produced. Then sufficiently often to hold that moisture.

Then, to produce rest and comfort, I would have two or three Dover's powders to use, if required, at night.

Now, there is no prescribing for name of disease in that, is there? Next day finds the patient relieved in all respects. We continue treatment, and in a few days he is well. You know the old way of prescribing for rheumatism without my mentioning it.

But we have wandered, and must return, and see if we can tell how these remedies act, to relieve the special conditions.

1. The salicylate of soda is an antacid, and we discovered we had a sour ferment in the stomach by the broad, pallid tongue, and light-colored coating. Now, I think there are other antacids which would counteract the acidity and ferment, but the salicylic acid in it is also a remedy to prevent ferments, hence it should be our first choice.

2. Green tincture, or fluid extract of cimicifuga, acts upon the ganglionic system, and soothes the aching nerves, not by stupefying, as in the case of an opiate, but by giving tone and strength to the aching nerve. It also has a great affinity for lactic acid and eliminates it by way of kidney, and in that way we get rid of the diseased condition.

3. As to the fluid extract of colchicum seed, it also has an affinity for lactic acid, and aids in opening the bowels, and passing off the surplus lactic acid by the way of a watery secretion from that channel.

4. For the broad, pallid tongue, with white coating, we give sulphite of soda, and it not only neutralizes the sour ferment of stomach, but by so doing arouses Nature to move the bowels to aid in the liberation of the acid already accumulated.

5. We give the veratrum in small doses to free the circulation and sedate the fever, or over-stimulated ganglia which is the cause of all fever.

6. For temporary relief of pain and to aid in opening the pores, which are the vents of the skin, we give the Dover's powders.

Well, now, we have told how some remedies act, and have assigned a reason why. And it is not guess-work either, but it is the labor of a mind who has had forty years' study of disease and its cure. Now, how much better this kind of treatment is for patient and physician. The remedies are pleasant, the disease begins to yield from the first dose, and all are made happy. Let us study conditions, and fit our remedies so they will convert a diseased condition to a condition of health. All disease can be just as easily cured by the proper remedy as the above, if studied out.

When I get into council with my fellow practitioner, and he fires medicines at names of disease, I try to show him a better way. It is always better to give no medicine than to give the wrong kind, or fight disease as an enemy by name. Most all our medical works fire the medicine at a name. In fact, they are more careful to give the family a great jaw-breaker of a name for the disease, than they are to get appropriate remedies to relieve condition (cause) producing all the misery. How much better to tell the truth, just as it is, and give mild, innocent remedies in small doses, and relieve from first dose. But this is long enough for one lesson, and I will close, hoping to have awakened some thought in the right direction.

[Dr. Ball reports that he has received a "bushel" of letters from all parts of the United States, asking many questions. He finds it absolutely impossible to answer them all personally, and requests that those who earnestly desire information, send queries to the BRIEF for publication, and he will endeavor to reply through this journal. We second this idea. Dr. Ball possesses a large fund of practical information, and is a liberal, conscientious man. A share in his experience will help us all.-Ed.]

There is no Substitute for Cod-Liver Oil

BUTLER, in his new Materia Medica, makes this very clear. He says:

"Cod-liver oil is more readily absorbed and oxidised than any other fat. It has already been prepared by the liver and, therefore, partly elaborated."

Scott's Emulsion

"The Standard of the World"

contains this "prepared and elaborated" oil, emulsified and combined with glycerine and the hypophosphites.

There is no Substitute for Scott's Emulsion.

It is the only permanent emulsion. It is not unpleasant to the taste. It keeps in any climate. It has been tested for nearly a quarter of a century.

Two sizes, 50c. and $1.00. In prescribing, please specify unbroken package. Small size put up especially for convenience in cases of children.


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The Tonic Department of the Pabst Brewing Co. is always open to the inspection of physicians.

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Book Notices.

SURGERY OF THE RECTUM AND PELVIS. By Chas. B. Kelsey, A. M., M. D., New York. New York: Richard Kettles & Co., Publishers.

Most men who make any pretensions to surgery are familiar with Dr. Kelsey's "Diseases of the Rectum and Anus." In the book before us our knowledge of these latter diseases has not only been brought up to date, but added to, and the same may be said of diseases of the pelvis in general. A very careful perusal induces us to believe that this book, like its predecessor, will meet with a most hearty approval at the hands of the profession. The book is deserving of it, and there is, moreover, nothing in English, German, or French to take its place.

The well-known terse, dogmatic style of the author may not meet with the approval of those who hold different opinions, but even they must admit that such a style is a sine qua non for the compassing of so much useful information within so small a space. The book is pre-eminently practical, theories giving place to facts. The article on diagnosis should be read by every man who goes about this subject in a loose and desultory way, and will, it is hoped, not be without influence in inducing physicians to avail themselves of the valuable information to be obtained by rectal examination in almost all gynecological cases.

In the treatment of hemorrhoids the author clings (and as we think with reason) to the clamp and cautery. The method advocated of passing the finger to the bottom of every fistulous tract (the tract having previously been laid open throughout its whole extent), is "The Dressing" par excellence, for this condition might with advantage be applied to other parts of the body. This is but one of the numerous practical points with which the book is replete, but it must serve as an example for the rest.

Men accustomed to think that it is impossible to eliminate sepsis in rectal work, will, by the perusal of this book, be convinced that they have been laboring under a delusion. The details here

laid down will secure in rectal work the same satisfactory results so confidently expected in the fields of surgery.

One important point upon which we must take issue with the author, is that of the field of usefulness of the Murphy Button. A careful study of the statistics, a rather extended personal observation, and a limited personal experience induce us to consider the estimate placed upon this mode of intestinal anastomosis as being entirely too low.

That part of the book dealing with gynecology is a very practical epitome of our knowledge of the therapy of these affections. A praiseworthy feature of this section being that well-known authorities in this line of work are not only given full credit, but their own résumés and conclusions are given, so far as possible, in their own words.

The author, while not ignoring the English, German and French, has, we are happy to say, drawn most largely from American authorities.

The print is excellent, and the illustrations both numerous and good.

DRS. LEWRIGHT AND WHitener. THE NERVOUS SYSTEM AND ITS DISEASES. A Practical Treatise on Neurology for the Use of Physicians and Students. By Charles K. Mills, M. D., Professor of Mental Diseases and of Medical Jurisprudence in the University of Pennsylvania; Clinical Professor of Neurology in the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania; Professor of Diseases of the Nervous System in the Philadelphia Polyclinic; Neurologist to the Philadelphia Hospital; Honorary Fellow of the Pittsburgh Academy of Medicine, Etc. Diseases of the Brain and Cranial Nerves, With a General Introduction on the Study and Treatment of Nervous Diseases, With Four Hundred and Fifty-Nine Illustrations. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott Company, Publishers.

This comprehensive work on the nervous system comes at an opportune time, as there is now nothing late (if we except Gower's work) that gives the full text on the subject. One of the advantages of this work is that it includes a comparatively full presentation of the many recent additions to the anatomy and pathology of the nervous system, which is certainly very necessary to the general practitioner. Localization with (Continued on page 588.)

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