Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/387

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tion of the gastric juice. It excites it only as any other body might, which is brought into direct contact with the mucous coat of the stomach. The action of bitters upon the gastric secretion is, beyond doubt, a reflex action, having its point of departure in the mucous membrane of the mouth.

In the course of the discussion which ensued, Dr. Hoppe Seyler observed that in dogs, when fevered, the gastric juice suffers a diminution of its acid, but not of its pepsin. The white of the egg, in order to be dissolved, must first be transformed into syntonine, which process requires a gastric juice of great acidity. This fact accounts for the difficulty with which albumen is retained upon a disordered stomach. As concerns the digestibility of cheese, that substance is composed of different ingredients, and notably it contains one phosphoric substance, utterly indigestible, nuclein.

Sanitary Reform in India.—Lord Mark Kerr sends a communication to the (East) Indian Medical Gazette, in which he relates how he came to discover the cause and means of prevention of what is called the Delhi Boil, formerly the scourge of the denizens of Delhi, native and foreign. From a comparison of the situation and surroundings of Delhi with those of other Oriental cities similarly noted for the prevalence of boils and sores, he was led to conclude that the cause of the disorder was to be found in the existence, within the walls of the town, of a barren strip of land, two miles in length, by 500 yards in breadth, covered with foul weeds and ruined buildings, with the wells and water-courses choked up. He proposed to clear the water-courses and plant trees and grass. This was done in 1864, and now the Delhi Boil has entirely disappeared from the city. Lord Mark Kerr desires to have his experience tested throughout India, for he believes that pure irrigation and draining, with judicious planting and gardening, would greatly tend, not only to remove sores and such-like evils, but to prevent the approach of more serious and even fatal scourges.

A New Anaesthetic.The Medico-Chirurgical Circular (German) calls attention to a new anesthetic, which has received the name Aethelid Chlorid. Dr. Langenbeck has employed it in six operations, and found that it produced anæsthesia more rapidly than chloroform. He states that its use is unattended with any of those unpleasant effects which commonly attend the exhibition of chloroform. Also a new method of producing anæsthesia with morphine has been discovered. In this method hypodermic injections of the chlorhydrate of morphine are given, followed up with light inhalations of chloroform. Three cases were cited where this method had been employed satisfactorily. The anæsthesia, in this case, is not attended by sleep, and it leaves the action of the mind, the senses, and the voluntary muscles intact.

Liebig's Extract of Meat.—Liebig's process of obtaining meat extract is found to yield only 14 per cent, of the dry, solid material of the meat. The remaining 86 parts are the really nutritive constituents of meat, and the 14 contained in the Liebig extract are merely stimulative, not nutritive. This is, with ingenuous candor, admitted by Liebig himself. An English pharmaceutist, Mr. Darby, claims to have invented a process of obtaining, in concentrated, soluble form, all the constituents of the meat. His process, which has been patented, is this: Lean meat, finely sliced, is digested with pepsin, in water previously acidulated with hydrochloric acid, at a temperature of from 96 to 100 Fahr., until the whole of the fibrine of the meat has disappeared.

The liquor is then filtered, separating small portions of fat, cartilage, or other insoluble matters, and neutralized by means of carbonate of soda; and finally carefully evaporated to the consistence required, namely, that of a soft extract.

The resulting extract represents, in all its constituents, the lean meat employed, but with the fibrine, albumen, and gelatine, changed into their respective peptones, or soluble forms. This change is effected solely by the pepsin and hydrochloric acid, or artificial gastric juice, without the evolution or absorption of any secondary products.

But this process, whatever care be taken, leaves the fluid meat with a strong bitter taste, which always attaches to meat digest-