Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 27.djvu/411

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
395
THE OLDEST AIR-BREATHERS.

than any others in prescribing for old people—the acid form, where there is an excess of acid found in the stomach, and the atonic form, where there is sluggish action of the mucous membrane of the stomach, and the time for digestion is greatly lengthened. In acid dyspepsia, Dr. Ringer recommends the use of glycerine, stating that an old gentleman, upon learning that glycerine prevented milk from turning sour, concluded that it would be just the thing to prevent "himself from turning sour." I have used glycerine combined with charcoal with considerable success in remedying this form of dyspepsia.

Dilute nitro-muriatic acid, a half-teaspoonful in a claret-glass of water, immediately after meals, breaking up the weaker acids and affording the natural acids of the stomach, is an exceedingly useful remedy. The atonic form of dyspepsia, combined with loss of appetite, requires quite a different treatment. The stomach is feeble, and needs stimulating; two or three grains of capsicum with one half-grain of aloes in a capsule will excite it to action; the constipation which often accompanies this form will be obviated. When there are accumulations of gas, charcoal tablets au hour or two after meals generally give great relief; but it is not a good plan to keep up their use permanently, as it tends somewhat toward constipation. Electricity is the great tonic for these debilitated, relaxed stomachs. The sympathetic nervous system is rehabilitated, and the most marvelous effects are often produced. The apathetic condition of the intestinal track is dissipated, the liver pours out its bile, and life seems to move on again. Alkalies taken before meals stimulate the flow of the gastric juices. Slight fatigue often spoils the appetite, and lowers the digestive power. Nothing so securely revives this as a glass of wine before meals. While small quantities of alcohol aid digestion, larger quantities retard it and encourage gastric catarrh. The quantity of wine or brandy must be small when taken for this purpose.

 

THE OLDEST AIR-BREATHERS.

WE alluded in the March number of the "Monthly," to the fossil scorpions recently discovered in the Upper Silurian formations of Sweden and Scotland, recognizing them as the most ancient specimens of land or air-breathing animals yet found. The subject has since gained a new interest through the discovery of a still older fossil of an insect, and by these our knowledge of the land of the earth and of some of its inhabitants is carried back by at least two immense geological periods. We therefore give place to a fuller account of the discoveries, with portraits of these newly found oldest inhabitants of the solid part of the globe, collating the facts and borrowing the illustrations from