Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 84.djvu/265

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
261
EFFECTS OF SCHOOL LIFE

has been dealt with experimentally by Borchmann and others (3). Borchmann gave blood tests to 19 boys and 18 girls of Moscow before a two months' "summer colony" outing, and again after their return. The second test revealed an average gain of nearly a million red cor- puscles per cubic millimeter of blood and a marked increase of hemo- globin. This is set forth in the following table :

Boys.

Girls.

Red Corpuscles per Cubic Min

Percentage of Hemoglobin

Red Corpuscles per Cubic Mm.

Percentage of Hemoglobin

3,884,000

4,820,000

73.1

79.2

3,760,000

4,480,000

69.6

78.3

Borchmann also tested eight of the girls two months after their return to school and found that in three the number of red corpuscles had still further increased about a quarter-million per cubic milli- meter, while in the other five there was a decrease of about two thirds of a million as compared with the second count. But in no case was the condition as unfavorable as before the vacation. The hemoglobin had in some cases decreased 5 per cent, below the second showing, had increased in others, but in all cases it surpassed the pre-vacation record. Lauch had already secured similar results for children of Geneva, and the work of both is strikingly corroborated by numerous blood tests of children who have been transferred from unhygienic conditions of the ordinary class room to the Open Air School.

The Effects of School Postures on Respiration

The effect of school occupations on the respiration has been studied experimentally by Oker-Blom (13) and by Badaloni (1). The latter secured kymographic records showing the amount of respiration in the upper part of the lungs resulting from different postures assumed in writing. In this way it was determined that the asymmetrical position induced an inflexibility of the upper part of the chest and a decreased depth of respiration in the upper part of the lowered side. Later Binet raised the question whether this may not be compensated by simultane- ously increased abdominal breathing. In a second study Badaloni was able to show that no such compensation takes place. His records prove that the asymmetrical position brings a " remarkable decrease " in the expanding capacity of the upper chest. The symmetrical sitting pos- ture, even when the sternum was allowed to touch the desk, showed a far less injurious effect. The author concludes, therefore, that it is the asymmetrical position, rather than the sitting posture per se, which is responsible for the school's evil effects upon the lungs. He believes that the school is in this way an important cause of tuberculosis.

In 1911 Oker-Blom (13) reports a similar experimental study of