Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/121

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DIETARY FOR THE SICK.

necessity is of value to agriculture, farmers should feel satisfied that their interests are being well looked after outside the pale of politics. It requires no effort to emphatically show that already many, many millions of dollars have been gained to agriculture through the disinterested efforts of scientists. Scientific investigation will continue in the future as it has in the past, and it is fair to assume that each year will see much good work done. Certainly no other class of labor is receiving greater benefits from science than is agriculture at the present day.


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DIETARY FOR THE SICK.

By Sir DYCE DUCKWORTH, M.D., LL. D.,

PHYSICIAN AND LECTURER ON MEDICINE AT ST. BARTHOLOMEW'S HOSPITAL;
HON. PHYSICIAN TO H. R. H. THE PRINCE OF WALES.

IN the practice of medicine as now carried on, one marked feature is the particular and detailed attention directed to the diet. It thus happens that as much heed is paid to "kitchen physic" as to pharmaceutical agents. Dietetics, according to modern enlightenment, has secured careful study, more particularly within the last quarter of this century, and the subject was certainly insufficiently appreciated before that time. Now, guided by the researches of the physiologist and the chemist, we have more exact knowledge to bring to bear in the dietetic treatment of many morbid states, and a good deal of this knowledge is now well established and beyond dispute.

The duty of the practical physician is to apply this knowledge and to test it in his efforts to re-establish health. And here, as in the case of the employment of drugs, we have to consider the clinical side of the question, apart from the researches of the physiologist and the chemist in their laboratories. The progress of our art depends on the steady work of both sets of investigators. The ultimate appeal is to the clinical results. In the matter of diet we meet with strange differences of opinion — differences relating to the employment and value of sometimes very simple forms of aliment. Some of these plainly arise from ignorance in respect of the properties and qualities of certain foods. Some of them result from the foisting of mere personal or of very limited experience of such articles on patients; and some of them can only be described as mere vagaries and "fads."

The whole subject has naturally a large interest for several classes of patients, notably among the well-to-do, the luxurious, the hypochondriacal, and the dyspeptic. Such persons having exhausted many methods of drug treatment, resorted to spas,