Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/665

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placed more flannel, or a piece of cotton-wool, to prevent it from getting cold. By this method we are able to apply the linseed-meal boiling hot without burning the patient, and the heat, gradually diffusing through the flannel, affords a grateful sense of relief which can not be obtained by other means. There are few ways in which such marked relief is given to abdominal pain as by the application of a poultice in this manner.

Besides blisters and poultices, there is a third class of remedies acting reflexly, which is often too much neglected or despised, but is of exceeding service; I mean plasters. In chronic bronchitis, a plaster on the chest affords great relief, the plaster employed being either the simple pitch one, or the emplastrum calefaciens of the British Pharmacopœia. The pain in the chest just under the mamma, which is so often associated with anæmia and leucorrhœa, is relieved in the most remarkable way by the application of a belladonna-plaster, and the same application also relieves when the pain is dependent on organic disease of the heart. The pain in the back, also, which is associated with leucorrhœa and uterine disturbances, is greatly eased by the application of a pitch plaster, or by a strip of emplastrum calefaciens placed along the lower part of the spine. In place of this, the linimentum sinapis, put upon a piece of spongio-piline four or five inches broad and ten or twelve inches long, has recently been recommended by Dr. Gamgee. The cause of the pain in the back is not known, but Dr. Gamgee's theory is that it is due to exhaustion of the lumbar portion of the spinal cord, that part from which the nerves for the urinary and genital organs are derived. In order to repair this exhaustion, he thinks that the supply of blood should be diminished, because functional activity is usually associated with rapid circulation, while the opposite condition of partial anæmia occurs during the period of rest and repair. To obtain this partial anemia he employs counter-irritation, differing from that of the blister in being less intense and more prolonged.

Such are a few of the more prominent instances of reflex action, as a cause of disease and a means of cure. To enter fully into all of them would occupy more time than the Society can afford, and to explain them satisfactorily would require more knowledge than I either possess or am able to obtain.—Brain.



MR. DUGDALE, in his recent monograph, "The Jukes," has endeavored to show by rather startling statistics how crime and pauperism become hereditary. In this vicious and depraved family, there is a conspicuous absence of moral sensibility—a lack of what we call conscience—that strikes the social scientist as something abnor-