Page images

9. BROWN-SÉQUARD : Limits of the Possible Return of Cadaveric Rigidity, after having

been Destroyed by Elongation of the Muscles. (Brown-Séquard's Journal de la Phys.,

vol. i., p. 281, 1858.) 10. Budge: On the Action of the Intercostal Muscles. (Archiv f. Physiol. Heilkunde, Jahrg.

1857, p. 63.) Deiters, who made his researches under the guidance of Budge, arrived at the conclusions that the growth of muscles takes place by increase in the thickness of the primitive fibrils; that by this circumstance alone the increase of volume may be acconnted for; that the supposition of the forination of new fibrils between the existing ones is unproved.

Auerbach and Heidenhain directed their researches to the question, whether there does exist a tonus (tonicity) of transversely striated muscular fibres or not. Both arrived at negative results.

Auerbach measured the tension of the muscles of the calf of rabbits. Dissection of the sciatic nerve, ligature of the abdominal aorta, narcosis by means of chloroform and other agents likely to produce an alteration in the condition of the motor nerves, effected no change in the tension of the muscles. Auerbach denies, from this, the existence of a tonus depending on the active influence of the spinal marrow. The norinal involuntary tension of the muscle is ascribed to the elasticity of its substance.

Heidenhain experimented on the muscles of frogs and rabbits. He attached a weight to the lower isolated extremity of the muscle, and ineasured the degree of extension on a scule allowing, by means of a perspective, the discerning of a change amounting to sath millimetre. As dissection of the motor nerve supplying the muscle under examination did not produce any increase of the extension, the author denies the existence of a tonus due to the action of the nerve.

The same author has made the observation, that a muscle tired to exhaustion may be restored again by a continuous electric stream of some intensity to such a degree that the muscle regains its irritability and contractile power. The stream must be passed through for fifteen to thirty seconds without interruption.

Matteucci has occupied himself with the investigation of the respiration of mascles. Ile found that the muscle in the state of contraction, compared with that in a state of rest, gives off more than twice as much carbonic acid, and absorbs more than the double quantity of oxygen. The author also witnessed exhalation of nitrogen and increase of temperature by 0.90 Fahr. Matteucci institutes a comparison between the amount of mechanical work performed by the contraction and the products of combustion produced, and finds that the former corresponds to the surplus of carbon consumed during the contraction.

In a further publication, Matteucci treats of the conditions most favourable to the preservation of the muscular irritability. He finds them in the free access of air, or (if the muscle is kept in a close space) in the presence of an alkali, to absorb the carbonic acid formed.

Valentin has continued his researches on the action of the inuscle on the surrounding atmosphrere;* he has constructed for this purpose a particular apparatus, for the description of which we must refer to the essay itself. 1. Frogs confined in this apparatus absorbed during the hot summer days an increased amount of oxy-en, giving off at the same time only a normal amount of carbonic acid. In the cool days of autumn this peculiarity was not observed. 2. When tetanic contractions of the muscle of a frog killed by opium or strychnia were produced by mechanical irritation, the proportions of oxygen absorbed and carbovic acid given off became much increased; the volume of oxygen absorbed was less in proportion than that of carbonic acid given off, while in the state of rest the opposite is the rule. 3. The frog or frogs' muscle exhausted by the tetanic contractions manifested the same phenomena in a diminished degree. 5. The exhausted muscle recovering its irritability during & period of rest, returned by degrees to the normal proportion in the absorption of oxygen, and in the giving off of carbonic acid. The contracted and exhausted muscles therefore show & greater liability to decomposition, than the fresh or refreshed muscles in a state of rest. 6. Galvanic irritation leads to changes very similar to those produced by mechanical irritation. 7. These phenomena of contraction were observed to be most intense wben small periods of contraction were allowed to alternate with proportionate intervals of rest. 8. Poisoning by means of opium or strychnia causes the muscle of the frog, even when in the state of rest, to give off an abnormally large amount of carbonic acid, and to absorb more oxygen, but not quite in proportion to the carbonic acid exhaled.

Brown-Séquard calls to mind several well-known observations by Fontana, Haighton, Sir Astley Cooper, T. Reid, Flourens, Bernard, and himself

, which he considers as sufficient proof for the correctness of Haller's view regarding the independence of muscular irritability. A series of experiments, in which convulsions confined to one side were excited shortly before death, corroborates the theory that every muscular contraction causes a diminution of the irritability by producing a change which, if death occurs soon after it, hastens the appearance of cadaveric rigidity and putrefaction; that, on the contrary, by the influence of rest and of oxygenated blood, the irritability of the mu-cles separated from the nervous centres becomes increased, that it lasts longer after death, that such muscles do not pass so soon into the state of cadaveric rigidity and commencing putrefaction.

* Conf. this Journal, No. XIXV., 1856.

Brown-Séquard's examination of Nysten's assertion, that cadaveric rigidity, when once orercome by sufficient force, is not again developed, has led to the result that this assertion is correct, when the experiment is made a sufficiently long time after the cadaveric rigidity has commenced, but that the latter may be developed again when the forcible elongation of the muscles had taken place soon after the cominencement of the rigidity. The author's experiments further show, that the sooner after death the rigidity commences, the sooner the power of its re-establishment after forcible overcoming is lost, which circumstance depends on the irritability of the muscle at the time of death. The limit of the reproduction varies between one hour and twelve hours.

Budge's inferences regarding the functions of the intercostal muscles differ in some points from those of other physiologists. 1. All the three species-viz., the intercostales externi, interni, and intercartilaginei, are, according to Budge, muscles of inspiration. 2. The interni act principally by raising the ribs. 3. The posterior portion of the externi, which extends from the vertebræ to the angulus, and is not covered by the interni, produces a greater vaulting of the ribs. 4. The anterior portion of the musculi externi has two functions—first, that of effecting, like the posterior portion, an increased vaulting; secondly, that of assisting the intercostales interni in raising the ribs. 5. The musculi intercartilaginei raise the cartilages of the ribs.


1. Brown-SÉQUARD: New Experimental Researches on the Physiology of the Supra-renal

Capsules. (Compt. Rend. de l'Acad. de Paris, tome xliii.; and Canstatt, 1. c., p. 99.) 2. GRATIOLET: Note on the Effects following the Extirpation of the Supra-renal Capsules.

(Compt. Rend., tome xliii.; and Canstatt, 1. c., p. 100) 3. PHILIPPEAUX: Note on the Effects of the Extirpation of the Supra-renal Capsules on

Albino Rats. (Compt. Rend., tome xliii.; and Canstatt, p. 100.) 4, VULPIAN: Note on some Reactions peculiar to the Substance of the Supra-renal Capsules.

(Compt. Rend., Sept. 1856; and Canstatt, 1. c., p. 176.) 5. VIRCHow: The Chemistry of the Supra-renal Capsules. (Virchow's Archiv, vol. xii.,

p. 481, 1857.)

In a former number (No. xxxvii.) we have chronicled the result of Brown-Séguard's first series of experiments on the sapra-renal capsules. The result of a second series induces the author to adhere to his former inferences; he especially endeavours to prove that the phenomena ascribed by him to the extirpation of the supra-renal capsules, are pot due to the injury done to the neighbouring tissues.

Gratiolet, on the other side, states that he repeatedly extirpated the left supra-renal capsule in guinea-pigs, without giving rise to any serious symptoms, while the additional removal of the right capsule was always

followed by death on the third day, and the simultaneous extirpation of both capsules by death within forty-eight hours. Inflammation of the liver and peritoneum was met with in all the animals that had died after the operation, and it is to these causes that Gratiolet ascribes the fatal termination.

Philippeaux operated on white rats, some of which survived the extirpation of both capsules, when the second capsule was not removed until the wound from the first operation was healed. As the author did not observe any morbid symptoms in these rats, he infers that death, when it follows the extirpation, is caused by the lesion of other organs.

Vulpian describes some peculiar reactions which he obtained when examining the juice expressed from the medullary substance of the supra-renal capsules. The fluid is neutral, or very slightly acid. The salts of oxide of iron and the chloride of iron produce a greyish coloration, which may assume sometimes a blackish, sometimes a greonish or bluish, hue. A. watery solution of iodine causes the appearance of a distinctly carmine colour. Potash, soda, ammonia, and haryta, as also chlorine and bromine, bave a similar effect, when added in a very small quantity, while the addition of a larger proportion makes the colour disappear. The influence of the light of the sun, spoms, to favour, and the process of boiling not to prevent, these reactions. The substance effecting them is soluble in water, alcohol, and ether. Vulpian obtained three results from the capsules of all the mammalia examined, as also from those of the duck and gulls, while the examination of other organs never yielded similar phenomena.

Virchow corroborates Vulpian's observations. He states that the capsules of the horse and of other large animals are especially suitable for the manifestation of these reactions, as the modullary and cortical substance can be easily separated from each other. The reactions above mentioned are, according

to this author, not dependent on the morphological elements, but on the intercellular fluid. The reaction of the watery solution of iodine the most characteristic. As now, we may mention Virchow's discovery of a large quantity of leucin in the medullary substance of the capsules. He found also a large proportion of fat and of myelin. From the present knowledge of the chemical constitution of the capsules, Virchow is inclined to consider them more as glandular than as nervous organs, although he has found sympathetic ganglia within their tissue.

ears to him


1. SIEBOLD, C. Th. v.: True Parthenogenesis in Butterflies and Bees. (Leipzig, 1856; and

Canstatt, I. c., p. 146.) 2. Ooste: General and Special History of the Development of Organized Bodies. (Comp.

Rend. de l'Acad., tome xliii., Août, 1856; and Canstatt, 1. c., p. 147.) 3. FICK: On the Vas Deferens. (Müller's Archiv, 1856, p. 473; and Canstatt, 1. c., p. 146.) 4. OLDHAM: History of Troo Cases of Hernia of the Ovaries. (Med. Times and Gazette,

Nov. 7th, 1857; from the Proceedings of the Royal Society.) 5. SAVORY: Effect upon the Mother of Poisoning the Fætus. (London, 1858.) SIEBOLD's work contains a review of the older publications on parthenogenesis, and describes this curious phenomenon as it offers itself in the bee and in the silkworm. The queen-beei.o., a female bee with perfectly developed sexual organs—is, according to Dzierzon, fecundated by a drone. The semen is retained in the receptaculum seminis of the queen. The eggs of the queen which are to be developed into working-bees--i.e., female bees with imperfectly developed sexual organs, or into a queen-bee, require impregnation, while those which are to give rise to drones are not to be impregnated. The queen, while placing the eggs into the cells, feels with the lower part of the abdomen whether she has to fill a wider or a narrower cell, and accordingly induces impregnation by causing the coming forth of a particle of semen from the receptaculum. Siebold corroborates this staternent, and has, in addition, ascertained the entrance of spermatozoa, through the mikropyle, into the interior of the ovum. In the silkworm (bombyx mori), as well male as female individuals may be developed out of unimpregnated eggs; while in the solenobia the unimpregnated eggs can produce only female individuals.

Coste endeavoured to learn, by means of experiments, in which part of the genital apparatus the impregnation of the eggs takes place. When he had bens that laid their eggs regularly every other day at a certain hour, say at noon, he knew that eighteen hours after the laying of the egg-i.e., at about six A.m. next morning a new egg became detached from the orary, Coste then arranged that the fecundation could not take place uz il two or three hours after this detachment of the egg. The result in such a case was, that the first egg which had met with the seminal fluid in the tube was always sterile, while the five or six following eggs were impregnated. From this experience it would follow that the impregnation of the hen's eggs takes place either on the ovarium or at the very entrance of the tube. Similar observations were occasionally made on mammalia, although with them such experiments are not easily practised, as the females generally refuse coition as soon as the egg has left the ovary. From the successful experiments, however, Coste considers himself entitled to this inference, that in mammalia, too, the impregnation takes place on the ovary, or at the commencement of the tube.

Fick mentions that the vas deferens of the dog does not possess the same qualities as that of the rabbit. While in the latter vermicular movements are easily excited, these do not appear in the vas deferens of the dog by the direct application of a stimulus, as electricity. The author inclines to the view that the contraction of the vas deferens of the dog, and probably also of man, is not analogous to that of striated or smooth muscles, but to that of the arteries.

Although Oldham's.communication belongs to another department, yet one of his cases is of great physiological interest, as it furnishes decided evidence of an ovarian menstrual act. The subject of this observation is a woman, now about twenty-five years of age, in whom frequent careful physical examination failed to detect any trace of a vagina or ateras, and the conclusion arrived at is, that these central pelvic organs have not been developed. The ovaries are situated close to the external abdominal ring on either side. When in their usual state, their size is that of a walnut, but at periods they become considerably enlarged." For the first three years” (that is, from the nineteenth to the twenty-second year), the author says, " the right ovarium was exclusively enlarged, and the intervals were not so regularly, marked, varying between three and six weeks, excepting for the first year, when they were much longer, occasionally extending to three months. For the last two years the left ovarium has been far more frequently affected, the right one remaining quiescent; occasionally both are painful and tumid, but even then one more than the other. The intervals are now pretty regularly three weeks."-"The accession of a menstrual period is sometimes suddenly felt. She will go to bed well, and in the morning the ovary will be swollen. More commonly, however, it is very gradual, augmenting in volume for four days, then remaining stationary for three, thon gradually declining; the whole process before the ovary is reduced, generally lasting ten or twelve days. On separating the ovary, when at the height of its swelling, from the tissues surrounding it, it appears scarcely, if at all, less than double its usual volume; its outline is clearly fined, and it is plain that the whole, and not merely a part of the organ, is involved." ;

Although pathological experience had made it probable* that morbid conditions of the fætus may be communicated to the mother, yet the principal physiologists appeared to consider until very lately that the connexion between mother and fætus may lead to transmission of morbid tendencies from the former to the latter, but not vice versa. Savory's experiments, performed by means of a solution of acetate of strychnia injected with all possible care into the abdominal cavity of the fætus (of dogs, rabbits, and cats), while still in connexion with the mother, through the cord, prove distinctly that the mother may be poisoned through the fætus in utero; and the result of these experiments is therefore also favourable to the view that the fotus in utero may inoculate the maternal with the peculiarities of the paternal organism.”+


Licentiate of the Royal College of Physictans, and Physician to the Northern Dispensary.

I. Experiments with Atropia and Epilepsy. By Dr. Max MARESCH. (Zeitschrift der k. k.

Gesellsschaft. der Aertze zu Wien, Feb. 1858.) The great number of epileptic cases introduced, in complication with insanity, into lunatic asylums, has led to numerous experiments with various remedies, but hitherto without very favourable results. Dr. Maresch, who is the physician to the Imperial Lunatic Asylum in Vienna, has employed atropia in epilepsy in the case of some of the lanatic patients in that establishment. The preparation employed was pure atropia from Merk's laboratory in Darmstadt, dissolved in the proportion of 1 grain of atropia to 500 drops of spirit, and the dose Was 5, 10, and 12 drops every day in the morning or evening, and continued for a month. The cases treated were very severe, and complicated with maniacal and suicidal insanity, and the results therefore were not uniformly favourable. In ct, the writer states that out of eight cases which were treated by atropia, there were only three in which the epileptic convulsions disappeared. But he remarks, that in the asylum to which he is attached, only those cases of epilepsy are received which are complicated with mental derangement, and that he has been unable to extend his experiments to cases of pure epilepsy of recent'origin.

We understand that Dr. Sieveking has recently tried the effects of a solution of sulphate of atropia upon an epileptic patient as well as upon himself. In his own case, a hundredth part of a grain produced brief vertigo, followed by dryness of the throat of several hours' duration ; vision not being affected. On the following day he suffered from nervous depression,

• A. Harvey, in the Monthly Journal of Medical Science for October, 1849, and September, 1850; and T. Hutchinton, in the Medical Times and Gazette for December, 1836, and January, 1867. * Harvey, loc. cit.

which was the main symptom very urgently complained of by the epileptic patient, who took one hundredth part of a grain on three successive days.

II. Observations on the Beneficial Effects of Pepsine in the obstinate Vomiting of Pregnancy.

By Dr. L. Gros. (Bulletin Général de Thérapeutique, Feb. 15, 1858.) In a great majority of cases the vomiting of pregnancy may safely be left to the influence of time; but there are some cases in which females are scarcely able to retain in their digestive system a sufficient amount of nourishment to support their existence, and are therefore reduced to the last degree of emaciation. In some, also, the shocks occasioned by this obstinate and repeated vomiting become the source of abortions, which might have been prevented by moderating the activity of the morbid phenomenon. A very remarkable case was related in 1856, by M. Teissier, Professor of Clinical Medicine at Lyons, showing the immediately beneficial effects of a dose of pepsine in a case of vomiting during pregnancy. In this case the symptoms resisted all the ordinary methods which were employed, and the patient was unable to retain in her stomach any substance whatever. Under these circumstances, the patient was brought to M. Teissier, who found her in the following condition: The vomiting had continged for two months, and she was at the end of the fourth month of her pregnancy; she presented the appearance of a skeleton, having the aspect and the cough of a phthisical subject; the pulse was 140, and M. Teissier thought at first that the case was one of pulmonary tubercle. “Finding that all treatment had been hitherto inefficacious, and that the lady was fast actually dying of inanition, he was seriously meditating upon the propriety of inducing abortion as a means of saving her life; but as a last resource, before operating, Lie determined to employ pepsine. He accordingly prescribed one gramme, to be divided into two doses, and taken every day in a spoonful of broth. At the very first dose the broth was retained, and from that moment the vomiting never returned. On the third day the lady ate some chicken, and then some beef-steak. The treatment was continued in the same manner for three weeks, and at the end of that time the cure was complete ; the emaciation was replaced by embonpoint, the fever and the cough ceased with the vomiting, and at the end of the nine months the lady was safely delivered.

Dr. Gros then relates six other cases in which the pepsine was employed with the same success, and he thinks himself warranted in concluding that pepsine undoubtedly produces good effects in the vomiting which attends pregnancy. He explains the results by supposing that, althongh in the first instance the vomiting is due only to the sympathy existing between the uterus and the stomach, yet subsequently the stomach itself becomes affected, as is proved by the fact that in the beginning of pregnancy the vomiting occurs only in the morning or the evening; but in aggravated cases it supervenes every meal, and all alimentary matters are rejected. In such cases, therefore, when the stomach has taken on a morbid habit, and eshibits an alteration of secretion, the pepsine appears to be really indicated; although in a merely sympathetic action between the uterus and stomach it would be difficult to explain the efficacy of its action,

III. On the Local Application of Belladonna with Mercurial Ointment in the Treatment of

Croup. By Dr. SHELTON, of New York. (American Journal of the Medical Sciences, April, 1858.)

Three years ago the idea occurred to Dr. Shelton that the local application of a combination of belladonna with mercnrial ointment might be serviceable, in addition to the ordinary treatment adopted in croup, and he accordingly employed an ointment composed of two drachms of extract of belladonna and six of mild mercurial ointment, rubbing it freely every two hours into the sound skin over the trachea. This medication was so far successful that he recommended a trial to his professional friends, one of whom, in treating a case of croup, applied the above-mentioned ointment, though not to the sound skin, as Dr. Shelton bad recommended, but to a blistered surface. It turned out that this deviation from the original plan was a great improveinent, for the child on whom the ointment was applied, and in whom the symptoins were of the most aggravated character, was wonderfully relieved in a very short time, and rapidly recovered. Dr. Shelton now took advantage of the hint thas given to him, and in his subsequent cases he first blistered the throat, and then applied the ointment to the blistered surface. In the first case thus treated the patient became delirious, with dilated pupils and the other symptoms denoting poisoning by belladonna; but these effects

« PreviousContinue »