Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/785

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SCIENTIFIC LITERATURE.

considered. Prof. Shaler takes up the question, which has appeared only in recent times, as to how far it is justifiable to inflict pain upon animals for the benefit of man, and seeks to reconcile the opposing views on this subject now current. He has something to say, also, on the general conditions of domestication, which indicate the possible future of the art. The volume is handsomely printed, and is bound and generously illustrated in the style of the day.



GENERAL NOTICES.

The lack of a trustworthy and complete work on dietetics[1] has long been felt among medical men in this country. The dietary of a patient is of no small importance in his treatment, and Dr. Thompson, appreciating this fact, seems to have adequately supplied the want referred to. Of the seventy odd chemical elements, thirteen regularly enter into the composition of the body, and ten more are occasionally found. Although these are comparatively few in number, their molecular arrangement is very complex. In Part I, after a study of these elements as they occur in food, the different foods and food preparations are taken up individually and studied from the various standpoints of the dietician: How much force can be obtained from them, how much heat, are they stimulating or depressing, are they difficult or easy to digest? etc. In Part II, the chemical composition of the common stimulants, beverages, and condiments is given, and then their effects upon body and mind are considered when used in moderation and in excess. The ultimate dangers which their habitual ingestion may lead to in the shape of permanent tissue change, and the special diatheses which absolutely contraindicate their use, are dwelt upon at some length. Cooking, the preservation of food, and the quantity of food required, are the topics dealt with in Part III. The changes which cooking and the various methods of preservation — salting, smoking, canning, etc. — produce in the chemical composition and digestibility of the food stuffs are studied carefully. This is one of the most important departments of dietetics, and yet one which is usually given little attention. Part IV deals with special dietaries for infancy, old age, diet and heredity, climate and season and food, body weight and food, etc. The physiology of digestion, and the conditions which specially affect it, are next considered. The chapter on the general relation of food to special diseases, and the diseases which are caused by dietetic errors, will prove of great value to the layman as well as the physician. Administration of Food to the Sick, Part VII, is also full of practical data for the non-medical. Part VIII, which consists of about three hundred pages, and which forms the main portion of the book, is devoted to diet in special diseases. Each disease is first described in a general way, and then the appropriate diet for it worked out. This chapter is prefaced by some general remarks regarding the care of the sick-room and the patient. Many of the suggestions seem matters of little importance, but it is these small details that are most frequently disregarded, and that are oftentimes the deciding features in the case. Rations and dietaries are discussed in Part IX, army and navy diets, diet in prisons, in athletic training, the various diet "cures," diet and occupation, artificial infant foods, and sleep and food, being some of the special topics. An appendix containing receipts for the preparation of invalid foods and beverages, and the list of illustrations, finish up the eight hundred and two pages. Dr. Thompson's book should be on every physician's table, and as a part of the general household library it would not be out of place. A large portion of it bearing on hygienic questions, its possession might oftentimes prevent the necessity for calling a doctor, through the prevention of unhygienic feeding and the long train of ills which follow in its wake.

We have already noticed the first two half volumes of the noble work of the Pro-

  1. Practical Dietetics, with Special Reference to Diet in Disease. By Gilman Thompson, M. D. Pp. 802, 8vo. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Price, cloth, $5; sheep, $6.