Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/24

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16
 
ALCOHOL AS A MEDICINE.


"The method of research that was pursued was the same that had been followed in respect to nitrite of amyl, chloroform, ether, and other chemical substances, and it was in the following order: First, the mode in which living bodies would take up or absorb the substance was considered. This settled, the quantity necessary to produce a decided physiological change was ascertained, and was estimated in relation to the weight of the living body on which the observation was made. After these facts were ascertained the special action of the agent was investigated on the blood, on the motion of the heart, on the respiration, on the minute circulation of the blood, on the digestive organs, on the secreting and excreting organs, on the nervous system and brain, on the animal temperature and on the muscular activity. By these processes of inquiry, each specially carried out, I was enabled to test fairly the action of the different chemical agents that came before me. *****

"The results of these researches were that I learned purely by experimental observation that, in its action on the living body, alcohol deranges the constitution of the blood; unduly excites the heart and respiration; paralyzes the minute blood-vessels; disturbs the regularity of nervous action; lowers the animal temperature, and lessens the muscular power.

"Such, independent of any prejudice of party or influence of sentiment, are the unanswerable teachings of the sternest of all evidences, the evidences of experiment, of natural fact revealed to man by testing of natural phenomena."

When Dr. Richardson reported to the Association for the Advancement of Science the results of his researches so at variance with commonly accepted ideas, the Association was as incredulous as the American Medical Association had been in 1851 when Dr. Davis gave a similar report, and Dr. Richardson's paper was returned to him for correction.