Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 86.djvu/63

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59
ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION

fect has been explained and largely cured by a knowledge of the internal secretion of the thyroid gland. Formerly these cases were doomed to remain semi-imbeciles. They were repulsive in appearance, with stunted growth, facial blankness, tongue protruding from half-open mouth, trunk large with pendulous abdomen and short stumpy limbs. A dull, apathetic mentality was always in evidence. An implantation of the thryoid in the abdominal cavity of dogs by Schiff showed that this gland would functionate even after its removal or absence from its normal location. From this it was but a step to demonstrate that by administering an extract of the thyroid gland by the mouth, the symptoms due to its abnormal absence in the child would be removed. The arrested, perverted growth and mental dulness due directly to the absence of this important internal secretion can thus be easily corrected by giving the dry extract from the thyroid of an animal. A whole class of hopeless defectives has thus been rehabilitated.

 

Hydrophobia

This fearful disease, produced by the bite of a rabid animal, is one to which children are peculiarly disposed on account of their close association with domestic animals and their lack of judgment in failing to recognize sickness or distemper among them. Just here can well be shown the disastrous results of some of the efforts of those peculiar people who suffer from "Zoophil psychosis." According to Frothingham there were but 38 rabid dogs in England in 1892, but at this time the authorities removed the "cruel muzzle" owing to an agitation by the "dog lovers." As a result, during the next five years 1,602 dogs, as well as many other animals, and 51 human beings died from this agonizing disease. Even if proper means of prevention are not enforced and individuals are bitten by rabid animals, the mortality can now be very largely reduced. The Pasteur treatment has already lowered the death rate from between 6 per cent, and 14 per cent, to well under 1 per cent. This is true all over the world. Even the dogs, as well as children and adults, have profited by Pasteur's efforts at stamping out hydrophobia.

 

Vaccination

The prevention and change in the severity of small-pox by vaccination have been of largest benefit to children, as this loathesome disease is especially fatal and disfiguring at this time. Of 3,164 deaths in the great Montreal epidemic, 85 per cent, were in children under ten years. When vaccination is performed in infancy, the disease is prevented during the period of growth or so altered as to be innocuous. Early vaccination has completely changed the character and age period of smallpox: it was formerly so essentially a child's disease as to be called