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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/710

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in utter disorder previous to him." His chief work was his study of nervous diseases. For years his lectures in the Salpêtrière on neurosis, hypnotism, and the different forms of hysteria attracted universal attention. In no official chair had the attempt been hazarded to take up the study of that series of occult phenomena which have excited public curiosity and baffled the sagacity of observers from ancient times. Charcot subjected these strange phenomena to the precise examination of the experimental method. He studied them with keen vision, so as to be able to reproduce them at will, and often revealed the existence of extraordinary facts which had been before regarded as chimerical. Although his conclusions may sometimes transcend the limits of scientific rigor, it is nevertheless true that he cast a new light on a whole region of investigation hitherto concealed in the dark. Besides making new medical discoveries in this line of research, he opened fresh horizons to science, initiated many pupils, and founded a new school, widely known now as the School of the Salpêtrière.

In connection with the Salpêtriére he founded a laboratory, an anatomo-pathological museum, electro-therapeutic wards, and a photographic studio, where he pictured sections of diseased brains and spinal cords, and formed a collection of portraits of neuropathic patients.

In his studies of gout and the maladies arising from it, to which he gave great attention in the early years of his practice, he discovered relations between disorders which had till then been thought independent of one another. He traced certain kinds of deafness, arthritic rheumatism, and kidney disease to gout, and found the origin of that disease in an overwrought liver and a sluggish skin. Pulmonary diseases also engaged his attention. In his lectures on phthisis he held that all caseation is essentially a tuberculous process, and assigned a secondary place to pneumonic phenomena.

Having been born at the time of the reaction in favor of clericalism, which was encouraged by the devotedly Catholic court of Charles X, and intensified the disgust of the freethinking people of Paris, Charcot grew up with a strong tendency toward extreme heterodoxy. He delighted later in life in demolishing the fetiches set up by the priests with which his investigations brought him in contact; and as Mrs. Crawford says, in the London Illustrated News, "humored the irreligious people in power by reducing the Lourdes and other miracles to suggestion. Gambetta, Naquet, Paul Bert, and other political atheists attended his lectures. He produced the phenomena of stigmates on hysterical girls.*' In like manner he pointed out analogies in other forms and manifestations of hysteria or hypnotism with