Page:Alcohol, a Dangerous and Unnecessary Medicine.djvu/412

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Dr. S. P. Beebe, now of the Cornell Medical College Laboratory, New York City, has made some very valuable experiments with alcohol. It is well known that impairment of the functions of certain organs results in the appearance in the urine of nitrogeneous compounds which do not normally occur there. In certain diseases of the liver the same quantity of nitrogen may be excreted as in health, but a portion of it is in the form of acids never found in the urine during health. Dr. Beebe, with this knowledge in mind, sought to discover the effects of alcohol upon the excretion of uric acid in man. Most of the experiments were made on the same person, a young man in good health, of regular habits, unaccustomed to the use of alcohol in any form. Absolute alcohol, diluted with water, whisky, ale, and port wine were used at different times. Dr. Beebe reported his experiments in the American Journal of Physiology, vol. 12, No. 1. His conclusions are given as follows:—

"After a consideration of these experiments, it hardly seems possible to doubt that alcohol, even in what is considered by the most conservative as a moderate amount, causes an increase in the excretion of uric acid, and this effect is seen almost immediately after taking the alcohol. The following points indicate that the effect is due to a toxic effect on the liver, thereby interfering with the oxidation of the uric acid derived from its precursors in the food: Alcohol taken without food causes no increase. The maximum increase occurs at the same time after a meal as it does when purin food but no alcohol is taken. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed and passes at once to the liver, the organ which has most to do with the metabolism of proteid cleavage products.