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disease, the scourge of the human race, we may here observe, that consumption is merely a form of it, and that it is moreover hereditary, thus showing it to be a true blood disease.
Having referred to the fact of the lungs and skin being supplementary organs, the principal duty of both being to aerate the blood, it may be interesting to lay before our readers thə following extracts from the results of experiments bearing on this point, which have been made by Monsieur Fourcault with the view of ascertaining the effect of the suppression of transpiration by the skin, in animals, by coating their bodies with an impermeable varnish. The committee of the French Institute thus describes these experiments.
“ The substances which he used were givet-glue, dextrine, pitch and tar, and several plastic compounds, sometimes the varnish was made to cover the whole of the animal's body; al other times only a more or less extensive part of it. The accidents which follow this proceeding, are more or less complete or incomplete, general or partial. In every case the health of the animals is soon much impaired and their life in danger. Those which have been submitted to those experiments, under our observation, have died in one or two days, and in some cases in a few hours only."
“In the opinion of the committee, these experiments are full of interest for the future,*
the experiments of M. Fourcault cannot fail to throw a new light upon the physiological and pathological phenomena, depending upon the double function of inhalation and exhalation of the cutaneous system.”
Monsieur Fourcault himself, thus writes :
“ The mucous membranes were not the only parts affected by the artificial suppression of the insensible perspiration. We also observed the production of serous effusions in the pericardium, and even in the pleurae. These effusions thus demonstrate that dropsies are found in the same body as mucous discharges. Several dogs died with paraplegia, and could only drag themselves along on their forepaws; some died atrophied and their lungs contained miliary tubercules, which appeared to me from their whiteness, and softness to be of recent formation. It was therefore, now impossible to doubt the influence of the suppression of the insensible perspiration of the skin upon the changes in the blood, the mucous and serous exudations, and finally upon the development of local lesions. “But the results of these experiments differ in toto according as the plastering is partial or general, or as it suspends the action of the skin incompletely or completely. In the first case the alteration of the blood is not carried so far, as to cause the dissolution of its organic elements; it can coagulate, and present, in some few cases, a buffy coat of little consistency, bearing some resemblance to that which is found in inflammatory blood. As to the tissues affected, they however appear to me to present the anatomical characteristics of the consequences of local inflammation.
“But when the application of very adhesive substances upon the whole of the body quickly suppresses the cutaneous exhalation, and consequently prevents the action of the air upon the skin, death takes place much more speedily, and appears to be the result of true asphyria. The breathing of the animals experimented upon is Jifficult, they take deep in. spirations in order to inhale a larger quantity of air than usual; their death is violent, and is often accompanied by convulsive movements. On dissection, we find in the veins, and the right cavities of the heart, sometimes also in the left, but very rarely in the arteries, a black diffluent blood, forming sometimes into soft and diffluent coagula, and coagulating very imperfectly when exposed to atmospherical air. This dissolution of the blood froin the formation of large ecclymoses and of effusions into the lungs and other organs; the capillary vessels are usually injected. One can see that the alteration of the blood has been the true cause of the stagnation of the circulation in this order of vessels.*
“ It is important to state that man, in the same way as animals, dies from cutaneous asphgxia when his body is covered by impermeable applications. I shall detail, in another work, the results of my researches upon this subject, and facts which still belong to general history will enter into the province of medicine. Thus at Florence, when Leo X., was raised to the pontificate, a child was gilt all over, in order to represent the golden age. This unfortunate child soon died, the victim of a physiological experiment of a novel kind. I have gilded, silvered and tinned several guinea-pigs, and all have died like the child at Florence.”
Monsieur Fourcault in summing up his researches remarks as follows :
“Nasal catarrh, diarrhaea, paralysis, marasmus, convulsive
movements, and finally the phenomena of asphyxia are also the results of the same experiments. Cutaneous asphyxia may cause the death of man and animals ; in this affection the blood presents, in the highest degree, the refrigerant, and stupefying qualities of VENOUS* blood."
The above extracts are our answer to those superficial medical objectors, who would argue, that death is not occasioned in the above cases by the exclusion of atmospheric air from the system, but by the suppression of poisonous salts secreted in the skin; the effects of the suppression of the most poisonous and irritating of these is well known to the physician, but the phenomena which they present bear no analogy to those presented in the case before us, which exhibit all the symptoms and appearance of true suffocation ; if however the evidence of these experiments be not sufficient to convince him, we will be prepared to meet him, on a more convenient battle field, where arguments which would only prove tedious and unintelligible to the non-professionable reader, may be adduced without reserve, in support of our position.
Now if it be conceded that the main cause of consumption (tracing the disease back to its earliest stage) is to be found in an insufficient supply of oxgyen to the system (which certainly the success attendant on the treatment, based upon this theory would lead one to suppose) we would ask our readers seriousiy to reflect how can consumption be cured by drugging, and how can the much required oxygen be supplied to the system by any such proceeding? We think that the results of such a system afford a satisfactory answer to this question ; failure marking its course wherever it has been tried. Again as regards the fashionable remedy of going abroad, how are we likely to get more oxygen supplied to us abroad than at home? A mild climate may certainly prove less irritating than our native air to a diseased and disordered lung and the suffering and uneasiness consequent on the irritation may be thereby allayed, but we are not a whit nearer being cured, nor have we properly gone to workt to remove the main spring and origin of the disease.
When blood is overloaded with carbon, and deprived of its ne. cessary supply of oxygen, the term “ Venous” is applied to it.
† Where consumption has been relieved by residence abroad, the benefit derived must be attributed to the action on the skin produced by the hot climates to which the patient is usually ordered, but recovery in this way has been confined to very mild forms of the disease, and cannot be looked upon, as a scientific mode of treatment; the Let our readers bear in mind the following aphorism of Dr. Hall; “Close bedrooms make the graves of multitudes;” let them recollect that impure blood is the origin of consumption, and that impure air, causes impure blood.
Acting on these principles, in curing consumption, Dr. Barter would use all means to place the system in a favourable condition to receive a full supply of oxygen, first by a direct inbalation of a mixture of oxygen and atmospheric air through the lungs, secondly by enjoining a large amount of active exercise in the open air, when practicable, and sleeping at night with open windows, and thirdly by inducing a healthy action of the skin, * and consequent supply through it, of oxygen to the blood, by the intervention of the Turkish bath; this mode of treatment has, we believe, proved most successful, whilst the old mode of treatment, of which it is the very antipodes, viz., keeping the patient in a heated and impure atmosphere, and applying a respirator to the mouth, has proved most unsuccessful and fatal : how it could ever have entered into the brain of a physician to recommend the use of a respirator as a cure for consumption we are at a loss to imagine, a more ingenious mode of shutting out the pure atmosphere essential to our existence, and exchanging it for one loaded with carbonic acid, (thus aggravating the disease which it seeks to cure,) could not possibly be devised. Man in a state of health requires pure air as a condition of his existence, and can it be supposed that in a state of disease, he will be able more successfully to resist the effects of poison on his system, than when in a state of health. Will be in a state of disease be strengthened and improved by the loss of that, on a due supply of which, when well, the continuance of his health and strength would depend ? Does the experience of our readers furnish them improved action of the skin deserving to be considered rather as induced accidentally than by design ; as otherwise more attention would have been paid to so important a matter, and there would have been no necessity for ordering the patient abroad, as similar results could have been obtained much more easily and effectually, by keeping him at home; the use of the Turkish Bath conferring all the benefits of increased teniperature, followed by the tonic effects of cool air and water, by which the debilitating effects of continual residence in a warm climate are obviated.
Dr. Hufeland remarks—"The more active and open the skin is the more secure will the people be against obstructions and diseases of the lungs, intestines, and lower stomach ; and the less tendency will they have to gastric (bilious) fevers, hypochondriasis, gout, asthma, catarrh and varicose veins.“
with a single case of recovery from consumption caused by the use of a respirator, or does it not, on the contrary, supply them in every case where it has been resorted to with instances of the bad effects attendant upon its use?
In support of the view taken by Dr. Barter, we would observe that narrow and contracted lungs, an impure atmosphere, uncleanly habits, sedentary occupation, indulgence in alcoholic liquors, and over eating, all directly tend to the overloading of the blood with carbon, and they are also the most frequent causes of consumption ; but the success attending this treatment is the argument which will have most weight with the public, and tend to its extension and adoption by the profession at large ; when this takes place we shall not have consumptive patients sent abroad to seek restoration of their health, -" to Nice, where more native persons die of consumption than in any English town of equal population,—to Madeira, where no local disease is more prevalent than consumption,to Malta, where one-third of the deaths amongst our troops are caused by consumption,-to Naples, whose hospitals record a mortality from consumption of one in two and one-third of the patients,—nor finally to Florence, where pveumonia is said to be marked by a suffocating character, and a rapid progress towards its final stage. Sir James Clarke has assailed with much force the doctrine that change of climate is beneficial in cases of consumption. M. Carriere, a French physician, bas written strongly against it. Dr. Burgess, an eminent Scotch physician, also contends that climate has little or nothing to do with the cure of consumption, and that if it had, the curative effects would be produced through the skin and not the lungs, by opening the pores, and promoting a better aeration of the blood.”
Before leaving this subject we would entreat our readers seriously to consider the observations here addressed to them, and the facts which have been adduced in support of the mode of treatment which we have advocated. The subject is one of fearful moment, as on this disease being rightly understood, the lives of millions of our countrymen depend : if a rational mode of treatment be adopted, its fearful ravages may be successfully encountered and stayed, but if not, the pallid spectre will stalk, as it has bitherto done, unchecked, through the length and breadth of our island, bearing death to millions of her sons.
With regard to water drinking, an important part of the hydropathic process, and against which much prejudice exists,