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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/392

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

pressed, irritable, melancholy, and, it may be, stupid and forgetful, after a few months' work, although every part of his body may be organically healthy, and a month's holiday may be sufficient to restore every organ to perfect functional activity? One reason, no doubt, may be that his systematic overwork may produce a diminution in the energy-yielding substance of his nerve-centers, just as we see that a certain amount of atrophy occasionally occurs in overworked muscles. But this does not seem very probable. It seems much more likely that they cease to act in the normal way because, during each day's activity, a certain amount of waste product is formed which is not perfectly removed during the hours of rest.

All throughout the body we have most elaborate arrangements for removing waste products. In the muscles, for example, we find that the fascia which surrounds them forms a regular pumping arrangement, the two layers of which it consists being separated from each other at each muscular relaxation, and pressed together at each contraction.[1] The lymph and the waste products which it contains are thereby actually pumped out of the muscle at each contraction, and sent onward into the larger lymph-channels, so that the muscular action itself removes the waste products. At the same time we find that the movement of the muscles of the leg, for example, will also pump out the blood from the veins, sending it upward from the feet, and pressing it upward to the body.[2]

Again, we find that in the abdomen and thorax we have pumping arrangements, whereby any excess of the serous fluid which bathes the intestines and lungs is pumped out of the peritoneal pleural cavities by the action of respiration. The two layers of the central tendon of the diaphragm and of the pleura here form pumping arrangements similar to the fascia in the leg.

The brain and spinal cord, being inclosed in rigid cases, have no pumping arrangements in immediate connection with them, but the circulation of the cerebro-spinal fluid in them is probably affected also by the movements of the thorax and abdomen. The cavity of the arachnoid and of the cerebral ventricles is not only continuous with similar cavities in the spinal cord, but also with the lymph-space surrounding the choroid, with the interior chamber of the eye, and even with the lumbar lymphatics; and Professor Schwalbe has succeeded in injecting these parts by a single insertion of the nozzle of his injecting syringe into the arachnoid. His observations have been confirmed and extended by Althann.[3] The experiments of Quincke have shown that during life a current exists in the cerebro-spinal fluid, both from above downward and from below upward.[4] The cause of this current

  1. Ludwig and Genersich, p. 53, "Ludwig's Arbeiten," 1870.
  2. Braune, "Ber. der sächs. Gesell. d. Wiss.," 1870, p. 251.
  3. Althann, vide "Virchow's Jahresbericlit," 1872, p. 156.
  4. Several authors, as Abel Key and Retzius ("Nordisk medicinsk Arkiv.," 1870,