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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/226

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comes a menace to the community, since quarantine and disinfection are prohibited by the mental healers, as tending to confirm the patient in the "claim" that he is ill.

While the exact method of the action of drugs is uncertain, and many are probably inert, if not harmful, we are positive that certain ones, like quinine, mercury, opium, digitalis and others produce certain definite conditions which can be relied upon to assist the patient. Some of them kill the germs, just as boiling destroys the microbes of typhoid fever in water; others, like quinine, render the human body an unfavorable culture medium and discourage the "bugs"; others directly stimulate the action of the organs.

Even the more advanced mental healers admit that, at present at least, they are unable to treat with success surgical cases, which should at once be examined by a regular surgeon. The former err, however, in refusing to use antiseptics when prescribed, as they are rarely able to practise aseptic methods.

In addition to drugs, modern medicine is making great use of serums of various kinds, and antitoxin has rendered diphtheria, once a household terror, a relatively non-fatal malady. Further advances are being made daily along these lines, and great discoveries may be expected from the investigations of Metchnikoff into immunity and ferments.

Mental healing also errs in not employing to the full diet, fresh air, exercise and the other hygienic systems, which are rapidly growing to be our chief reliance in the control of illness.

It is a source of wonder to those who are following the subject that the usually acute leaders of mental healing do not profit by the experience of the Fathers at Lourdes. The latter have every patient examined by physicians, trained in the regular schools, before mental healing is attempted. This gives an opportunity to eliminate the dangerous or contagious maladies, while at the same time furnishing proof of cure and establishing the nature of the disease. It would seem possible to arrange this so as not to undermine the faith of the sufferer, as the process at Lourdes seems to meet with the approval of the Fathers.

The great weakness of the schools of mental therapeutics seems to be faulty diagnosis. In fact, there is apparently no attempt at diagnosis, and all patients are treated in the same general way. Thus time and strength are wasted on cases which are, from their very nature, hopeless from the start, and in which mental methods are absolutely criminal, on account of the danger and suffering of the patient and the probability of propagating disease in the community. It is not too much to say that no case should be treated mentally until it has been examined by a graduate of a reputable medical school, and pro-