Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/152

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

physiological energy of the body is the prime element in the healing process. This is neither more nor less than modern fatalism—waiting on events. Such a doctrine, if successful, would be fatal to medicine." A third evil under which it suffers is materialism, which "in medicine may be carried to an injurious extreme. In modern pathology, for example, as originated by the German school and taught by its apostles, while men are actively contesting as to the nature or formation of a certain cell—whether it be spindle-shaped, round, or ovoid; whether it be derived from this tissue or from that—they are likely to lose sight of the real bearings of the case. By all means respect facts, and you can not show better respect for them than by using them. A medical inquirer is not a mere collector. Collect your facts, and then reason from the data you have established. A collection teaches nothing till it has been arranged. The tendency at present is, in the majority of instances, to collect everything, and to arrange and therefore to adduce nothing."

 

Sanitary Science and Children's Health.—Among the greatest gains that have recently been made in sanitary science, Mr. Edwin Chadwick counts the power that has been obtained of preventing children's diseases. "In the larger district schools," he says, "the districts of the poor-law unions, the children's chief diseases are now practically abolished. These institutions may be said to be children's hospitals, in which children, orphans of the lowest type from the slums, are taken in large proportions with developed diseases upon them, often only to die from constitutional failure alone. Yet in a number of these separate schools there are now no deaths from measles, whooping-cough, typhus, scarlatina, or diphtheria. The general death-rate is about ten in one thousand, and of those who are not in the probationary wards, of those who come in without developed disease upon them, the death-rates are now less than three in one thousand, or less than one third of the death rates prevalent among the children of the general population of the same ages." In an institution where the old death-rate was twelve in one thousand, by drainage and clearance of sewage-smells the rate was reduced by more than one third; then, after improving the ventilation of the rooms and providing a separate bed for each child, the rate was reduced to less than three in one thousand, "and that with children of the lowest type. In a visit to one of these halftime schools, after an interval of several years, I was so struck with the appearance of the children as less pallid and with less of the dull, leathery look that I had seen before—they were bright and fresh-looking—that I observed to the manager that he must have had a new class of children since my last visit. His answer was 'No,' but that since the sanitary improvements had been made in the lower districts the children received from them were of the improved type which had struck me."

 

American India-Rubber.—The India-rubber of Central America is obtained from varieties of Castilloa, which yield rubber very little inferior to that obtained from the Siphonia. To raise India-rubber plants which are indigenous to one place in another where the conditions are at all favorable is no difficult task, but to make the same plant successfully productive is another matter altogether. Mr. Thomas B. Warren has called attention to the influence which handling raw rubber with sweaty or dirty hands has in promoting its decay. The less the raw article is fashioned by the hands in handling, the better. Grease of any kind, even in small quantity, is pernicious to the durability of the substance. When handled too much in manufacturing, it is sure to show signs of decay after a short time in the parts most exposed to manipulation. It makes a great difference in the quality of the raw product whether it has been collected by a relatively clean Brazilian Creole or by a fatty-perspiring African. When rubber shows signs of decay from this cause, dusting over with raw sulphur tends to arrest it.

 

Whisky no Antidote for Rattlesnake-Poison.—The popular opinion that whisky is an antidote to rattlesnake-bite is controverted by Dr. A. T. Hudson, of Stockton, Cal., on the authority of experiments by Dr. S. Weir Mitchell. Dr. Mitchell mixed the virus of the rattlesnake with alcohol and with other reputed antidotes, and found.