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Decreased Associate Motions catenated with external influences.
|Retrograde Associate Motions catenated with irritative motions.→|
Decreased Associate Motions.
Catenated with External Influences.
As the diseases, which obey solar or lunar periods, commence with torpor or inactivity, such as the cold paroxysms of fevers, the torpor and consequent pain of hemicrania, and the pains which precede the fits of epilepsy and convulsion, it would seem, that these diseases are more generally owing to the diminution than to the excess of solar or lunar gravitation; as the diseases, which originate from the influence of the matter of heat, are much more generally in this country produced by the defect than by the excess of that fluid.
The periodic returns of so many diseases coincide with the diurnal, monthly, and annual rounds of time; that any one, who would deny the influence of the sun and moon on the periods of quotidian, tertian, and quartan fevers, must deny their effect on the tides, and on the seasons. It has generally been believed, that solar and lunar effect was exerted on the blood; which was thus rendered more or less stimulant to the system, as described in Sect. XXXII. 6. But as the fluid matter of gravitation permeates and covers all things, like the fluid matter of heat; I am induced to believe, that gravitation acts in its medium state rather as a causa sine quâ non of animal motion, like heat; which may disorder the system chemically or mechanically, when it is diminished; but may nevertheless stimulate it, when increased, into animal exertion.
Without heat and motion, which some philosophers still believe to be the same thing, as they so perpetually appear together, the particles of matter would attract and move towards each other, and the whole universe freeze or coalesce into one solid mass. These therefore counteract the gravitation of bodies to one center; and not only prevent the planets from falling into the sun, but become either the efficient causes of vegetable and animal life, or the causes without which life cannot exist; as by their means the component particles of matter are enabled to slide over each other with all the various degrees of fluidity and repulsion.
As the attraction of the moon countervails or diminishes the terrene gravitation of bodies on the surface of the earth; a tide rises on that side of the earth, which is turned towards the moon; and follows it, as the earth revolves. Another tide is raised at the same time on the opposite side of the revolving earth; which is owing to the greater centrifugal motion of that side of the earth, which counteracts the gravitation of bodies near its surface. For the earth and moon may be considered as two cannon balls of different sizes held together by a chain, and revolving once a month round a common center of gravity between them, near the earth's surface; at the same time that they perform their annual orbits round the sun. Whence the centrifugal force of that side of the earth, which is farthest from this center of motion, round which the earth and moon monthly revolve, is considerably greater, than the centrifugal force of that side of the earth, which is nearest it; to which should be added, that this centrifugal force not only contributes to diminish the terrene gravitation of bodies on the earth's surface on that side furthest from this center of motion, but also to increase it on that side, which is nearest it.
Another circumstance, which tends to raise the tide on the part of the earth's surface, which is most distant from the moon, is, that the attraction of the moon is less on that part of the ocean, than it is on the other parts of the earth. Thus the moon may be supposed to attract the water on the side of the earth nearest it with a power equal to three; and to attract the central parts of the earth with a power equal to two; and the water on the part of the earth most distant from the moon with a power only equal to one. Hence on the side of the earth most distant from the moon, the moon's attraction is less, and the centrifugal force round their common center of motion is greater; both which contribute to raise the tides on that side of the earth. On the side of the earth nearest the moon, the moon's attraction is so much greater as to raise the tides; though the centrifugal force of the surface of the earth round their common center of motion in some degree opposes this effect.
On these accounts, when the moon is in the zenith or nadir, the gravitation of bodies on the earth's surface will be greatest at the two opposite quadratures; that is, the greatest gravitation of bodies on the earth's surface towards her center during the lunar day is about six hours and an half after the southing, or after the northing of the moon.
Circumstances similar to these, but in a less degree, must occur in respect to the solar influence on terrestrial bodies; that is, there must be a diminution of the gravity of bodies, near the earth's surface at noon, when the sun is over them; and also at midnight from the greater centrifugal force of that side of the earth, which is most distant from the center, round which the earth moves in her annual orbit, than on the side nearest that center. Whence it likewise follows, that the gravitation of bodies towards the earth is greatest about six hours after noon, and after midnight.
Now when the sun and moon have their united gravitation on the same side of the earth, as at the new moon; or when the solar attraction coincides with the greater centrifugal motion of that side of the earth, which is furthest distant from the moon, as at the full moon; and when this happens about noon or midnight, the gravitation of terrene bodies towards the earth will be greater about six hours after noon, and after midnight, than at any other part of the lunar period; because the attraction of both these luminaries is then exerted on those sides of the earth over which they hang, which at other times of the month are more or less exerted on other parts of it.
Lastly, as heat and motion counteract the gravitation of the particles of bodies to each other, and hence become either the efficient causes of vegetable and animal life, or the causes without which life cannot exist, it seems to follow, that when our gravitation towards the earth's center is greatest, the powers of life should be the least; and hence that those diseases, which begin with torpor, should occur about six hours after the solar or lunar noon, or about six hours after the solar or lunar midnight; and this most frequently about six hours after or before the new or full moon; and especially when these happen at noon or at midnight; or lastly, according to the combination of these powers in diminishing or increasing the earth's attraction to bodies on its surface.
The returns or exacerbations of many fevers, both irritative and inflammatory, about six in the evening, and of the periodic cough described in Sect. XXXVI. 3. 9. countenance this theory. Tables might be made out to shew the combined powers of the sun and moon in diminishing the gravitation of bodies on the earth's surface, at every part of their diurnal, monthly, and annual periods; and which might facilitate the elucidation of this subject. But I am well aware of the difficulty of its application to diseases, and hope these conjectures may induce others to publish more numerous observations, and more conclusive reasonings.
1. Somni periodus. The periods of sleeping and of waking are shortened or prolonged by so many other circumstances in animal life, besides the minute difference between diurnal and nocturnal solar gravitation, that it can scarcely be ascribed to this influence. At the same time it is curious to observe, that vegetables in respect to their times of sleeping more regularly observe the hour of the day, than the presence or absence of light, or of heat, as may be seen by consulting the calendar of Flora. Botanic Garden, Part II. Canto 2. l. 165. note.
Some diseases, which at first sight might be supposed to be influenced by solar periods, seem to be induced by the increasing sensibility of the system to pain during our sleeping hours; as explained in Sect. XVIII. 15. Of these are the fits of asthma, of some epilepsies, and of some hæmoptoes; all which disturb the patient after some hours sleep, and are therefore to be ascribed to the increase of our dormant sensibility. There may likewise be some doubt, whether the commencement of the pain of gout in the foot, as it generally makes its attack after sleep, should be ascribed to the increased sensibility in sleep, or to solar influence?
M. M. When asthmatic or epileptic fits or hæmoptoe occur after a certain number of hours of sleep, the patient should be forcibly awakened before the expected time by an alarm clock, and drink a cup of chocolate or lemonade.—Or a grain of opium should be given at going to bed.—In one case to prevent the too great increase of sensibility by shortening the time of sleep; and in the other by increasing the irritative motions, and expending by that means a part of the sensorial power.
2. Studii inanis periodus. Class III. 1. 2. 2. The cataleptic spasm which preceded the reverie and somnambulation in the patient, whose case is related in Sect. XIX. 2. occurred at exactly the same hour, which was about eleven in the morning for many weeks; till those periods were disturbed by large doses of opium; and must therefore be referred to some effect of solar gravitation. In the case of Master A. Sect. XXXIV. 3. as the reverie began early in the morning during sleep, there may be a doubt, whether this commenced with torpor of some organ catenated with solar gravitation; or was caused by the existence of a previous torpid part, which only became so painful as to excite the exertions of reverie by the perpetual increase of sensibility during the continuance of sleep, as in some fits of epilepsy, asthma, and hæmoptoe mentioned in the preceding article.
3. Hemicraniæ periodus. Periods of hemicrania. Class IV. 2. 2. 8. The torpor and consequent pain of some membranes on one side of the head, as over one eye, is frequently occasioned by a decaying tooth, and is liable to return every day, or on alternate days at solar or lunar periods. In this case large quantities of the bark will frequently cure the disease, and especially if preceded by venesection and a brisk cathartic; but if the offending tooth can be detected, the most certain cure is its extraction. These partial head-achs are also liable to return at the greater lunar periods, as about once a month. Five drops from a two-ounce phial of a saturated solution of arsenic twice a day for a week or two have been said to prevent the returns of this disease. See a Treatise on Arsenic by Dr. Fowler, of York. Strong errhines have also been recommended.
4. Epilepsiæ dolorificæ periodus. Class III. 1. 1. 8. The pain which induces after about an hour the violent convulsions or insanity, which constitute the painful epilepsy, generally observe solar diurnal periods for four or five weeks, and are probably governed by solar and lunar times in respect to their greater periods; for I have observed that the daily paroxysms, unless disturbed by large doses of opium, recur at very nearly the same hour, and after a few weeks the patients have recovered to relapse again at the interval of a few months. But more observations are wanted upon this subject, which might be of great advantage in preventing the attacks of this disease; as much less opium given an hour before its expected daily return will prevent the paroxysm, than is necessary to cure it, after it has commenced.
5. Convulsionis dolorificæ periodus. Class III. 1. 1. 6. The pains, which produce these convulsions, are generally left after rheumatism, and come on when the patients are become warm in bed, or have been for a short time asleep, and are therefore perhaps rather to be ascribed to the increasing sensibility of the system during sleep, than to solar diurnal periods, as in Species first and second of this Genus.
6. Tussis periodicæ periodus. Periodic cough, Class IV. 2. 1. 9. returns at exact solar periods; that described in Sect. XXXVI. 3. 9. recurred about seven in the afternoon for several weeks, till its periods were disturbed by opium, and then it recurred at eleven at night for about a week, and was then totally destroyed by opium given in very large quantities, after having been previously for a few days omitted.
7. Catameniæ periodus. Periods of menstruation. The correspondence of the periods of the catamenia with those of the moon was treated of in Sect. XXXII. 6. and can admit of no more doubt, than that the returns of the tides are governed by lunar influence. But the manner in which this is produced, is less evident; it has commonly been ascribed to some effect of the lunar gravitation on the circulating blood, as mentioned in Sect. XXXII. 6. But it is more analogous to other animal phenomena to suppose that the lunar gravitation immediately affects the solids by its influx or stimulus. Which we believe of the fluid element of heat, in which we are equally immersed; and of the electric fluid, which also surrounds and pervades us. See Sect. XXXVI. 2. 3.
If the torpor of the uterine veins, which induces the monthly periods of the catamenia, be governed by the increase of terrene gravitation; that is, by the deficiency of the counter-influence of solar and lunar gravitation; why does not it occur most frequently when the terrene gravitation is the greatest, as about six hours after the new moon, and next to that at about six hours after the full moon? This question has its difficulty; first, if the terrene gravitation be greatest about six hours after the new moon, it must become less and less about the same time every lunar day, till the end of the first quarter, when it will be the least; it must then increase daily till the full. After the full the terrene gravitation must again decrease till the end of the third quarter, when it will again be the least, and must increase again till the new moon; that is, the solar and lunar counter-gravitation is greatest, when those luminaries are vertical, at the new moon, and full moon, and least about six hours afterwards. If it was known, whether more menstruations occur about six hours after the moon is in the zenith or nadir; and in the second and fourth quarters of the moon, than in the first and third; some light would be thrown on this subject; which must in that respect wait for future observations.
Secondly, if the lunar influence produces a very small degree of quiescence, suppose of the uterine veins, at first; and if that recurs at certain periods, as of lunar days, or about 25 hours, even with less power to produce quiescence than at first; yet the quiescence will daily increase by the acquired habit acting at the same time, as explained in Sect. XII. 3. 3. till at length so great a degree of quiescence will be induced as to cause the inaction of the veins of the uterus, and consequent venous hæmorrhage. See Sect. XXXII. 6. Class I. 2. 1. 11. IV. 1. 4. 4. See the introduction to this Genus.
9. Podagræ periodus. The periods of gout in some patients recur at annual intervals, as in the case related above in Class IV. 1. 2. 15. in which the gouty paroxysm returned for three successive years on nearly the same day of the month. The commencement of the pain of each paroxysm is generally a few hours after midnight, and may thence either be induced by diurnal solar periods, or by the increasing sensibility during sleep, as mentioned in the first species of this genus.
10. Erysipelatis periodus. Some kinds of erysipelas which probably originate from the association of the cutaneous vessels with a diseased liver, occur at monthly periods, like the hæmorrhois or piles; and others at annual periods like the gout; as a torpor of some part I suppose always precedes the erysipelatous inflammation, the periods should accord with the increasing influence of terrene gravitation, as described in the introduction to this Genus, and in Species the seventh of it. Other periods of diseases referable to solar and lunar influence are mentioned in Sect XXXVI. and many others will probably be discovered by future observation.
11. Febrium periodus. Periods of fevers. The commencement of the cold fits of intermittent fevers, and the daily exacerbations of other fevers, so regularly recur at diurnal solar or lunar periods, that it is impossible to deny their connection with gravitation; as explained in Sect. XXXVI. 3. Not only these exacerbations of fever, and their remissions, obey the diurnal solar and lunar periods; but the preparatory circumstances, which introduce fevers, or which determine their crisises, appear to be governed by the parts of monthly lunar periods, and of solar annual ones. Thus the variolous fever in the natural small-pox commences on the 14th day, and in the inoculated small-pox on the seventh day. The fever and eruption in the distinct kind take up another quarter of a lunation, and the maturation another quarter.
The fever, which is termed canine madness, or hydrophobia, is believed to commence near the new or full moon; and, if the cause is not then great enough to bring on the disease, it seems to acquire some strength, or to lie dormant, till another, or perhaps more powerful lunation calls it into action. In the spring, about three or four years ago, a mad dog very much worried one swine confined in a sty, and bit another in the same sty in a less degree; the former became mad, refused his meat, was much convulsed, and died in about four days; this disease commenced about a month after the bite. The other swine began to be ill about a month after the first, and died in the same manner.