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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/373

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361
PROTOPLASM.

The points concerning the combinations and the crystallizations in the Californian localities, and in those also of Nevada, I can vouch for personally. The facts are as set forth. I have mentioned nothing which I have not myself seen. The questions which are left without answer are certainly worth investigation.

 

PROTOPLASM.
By FRANCES EMILY WHITE, M.D.[1]

AT the recent International Medical Congress, held in London, upon which the attention and enthusiastic interest of the whole medical world were for the time being centered, Professor Huxley, in an address made to that assembly, used the term "medicine" to include "the great body of theoretical and practical knowledge which has been accumulated by the labors of some eighty generations"—that is, during the entire period since the dawn of scientific thought in Europe. In justification of this broad application of the term, he says, "It is so difficult to think of medicine otherwise than as something which is necessarily connected with curative treatment, that we are apt to forget that there must be and is such a thing as a pure science of medicine—a pathology which has no more necessary subservience to practical ends than has zoölogy or botany." In other words, there is a science of disease and an art of healing, both of which are included in the term "medicine," and, as all art is applied science, it is easy to see where the study of the "healing art" should begin.

Pathology is abnormal physiology, or, more broadly, biology, the science of living matter; living matter being recognized by its innate tendency to undergo certain changes of form and to manifest certain physiological phenomena which are universally recognized as constituting organization and life. When these changes of structure or of function become injurious to the organism, or cease to promote its general well-being, they are pathological, but the line of separation is not a distinct one; it is impossible to say with exactness where physiology ends and pathology begins.

It is evident, then, that the science of disease is a branch of the general science of life; and the distinguished lecturer, in making so wide an application of the term "medicine," no doubt intended to assert that the science of biology rests upon the broad foundation of the general physical sciences. The study of medicine, then, consists primarily in the study of biology, including those abnormalities of

  1. Address delivered at the opening of the Thirty-second Annual Session of the Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania.