Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/136

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ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.


comparison with the proper application of water to the surface, or with the internal administration of sulphate of quinia, salicylic acid, digitalis, etc. that no one thinks of using it for antipyretic purposes."—Dr. N. S. Davis in Principles and Practice of Medicine.

PROFESSOR ATWATER'S CONCLUSIONS UPON ALCOHOL AS A FUEL-FOOD.

In 1899 a decided sensation was caused by the announcement that Prof. Atwater, of Middletown, Conn., had proved that alcohol is a fuel-food equal in value to carbohydrates and fats. The study later of Prof. Atwater's report of his investigations led to prolonged discussions among medical men interested in the alcohol question, and his theory that alcohol is a food because it is oxidized in the body was vigorously opposed by many scientists of high standing. Professor Abel, of Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, an investigator of alcohol who worked with the Committee of Fifty, said on this point:—

"Oxidizability cannot be made the measure of usefulness in regard to this substance."

Professor Gruber, president of the Royal Institute of Hygiene, Munich, said:—

"Does alcohol truly deserve to be called a food substance? Obviously, only such substances can be called food material, or be employed for food, as, like albumen, fat, and sugar, exert non-poisonous influence in the amounts in which they reach the blood and must circulate in it in order to nourish* * * * Although alcohol contributes energy it diminishes working ability. We are not able to find that its energy is turned to account for nerve and muscle work. Very small amounts, whose food value is insignificant, show an injurious effect upon the nervous system."