Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/426

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412
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

taken for some days after the operation consisted of sour milk, one litre a day, as an attempt to nourish the patient with broth did not seem acceptable to her. The peptonized injections were dispensed with, as they produced flatulence and colic. Injections of wine three times daily were therefore substituted. The patient, upon her own request, was a few days later removed to the general ward, and she has since been discharged from the hospital, cured. The excised part measures at the greater curvature (horribile dictu!) fourteen centimetres, and it is with difficulty only that I am enabled to pass a goose-quill through the pylorus. The shape of the stomach is changed little by the operation. It is only a little smaller than formerly.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

General Physiology of Muscles and Nerves. By Dr. J. Rosenthal, Professor of Physiology in the University of Erlangen. ("International Scientific Series," No. XXXII.) New York: D. Appleton k Co. 1881. Pp. 324. Price, $1.50.

Professor Rosenthal has well conformed to the theory of the "International Scientific Series" in the preparation of this work. It was designed to consist of monographs on special subjects, and not of complete scientific treatises. In this way particular subjects may be more fully expounded than they are in the text-books, while yet the form of publication is popular and convenient. If any one, for example, looks in the manuals of physiology for a statement of the relations of muscles and nerves, he will find that the information, if not scanty, is still most incomplete. Yet such are the interest and importance of the subject, that many would like to consult a more adequate presentation. Professor Rosenthal's volume will meet their requirements. It goes over the whole ground of the recent researches into muscular and nervous action, and is, moreover, the first attempt to deal with it in a popular and methodical way.

But few men could have been found as well prepared for the execution of his task as Professor Rosenthal. The problem of muscles and nerves has occupied his life. He worked for many years in connection with Professor Émile Du Bois-Reymond, the celebrated Berlin physiologist, to whom the present volume is dedicated. Broadly cultivated in the physiological field, and long disciplined in the experimental research of nervo-muscular relations, he has been enabled to give weight and authority to his exposition of the subject.

On general and obvious grounds, no subject is more important than this, and we can think of none that should more deeply interest all classes of readers. Man is a being endowed with great capacities of accomplishment by virtue of the agency of muscles and nerves. They are the means of his pleasures and the sources of his pains. One would think that he might be concerned to understand something about them; and, if he has any sense of the relative values of different kinds of knowledge, that he would place the understanding of his own mechanism first, and desire a thorough acquaintance with all that is positively known concerning the conditions of muscular and nervous exercise. The topic, besides, is one of profound intellectual interest. Nothing is more wonderful than the working of that higher organic mechanism by which power in the living being is exerted and controlled. There is nothing so subtile, so curious, so marvelous, as that incessant interaction of the muscular and nervous systems which is involved in all the familiar activities and operations of the human body. The strange thing is how it has been so finely and fully elucidated. Many things, of course, remain still mysterious and unsettled, but we have a large body of well-established facts and principles that have been most difficult of determination, and which forms one of the great monuments of skillful, persevering, and successful scientific labor. Physics and chemistry arc generally spoken of as the experimental sciences, but physiology is also now in the highest sense an experimental science, while, for delicacy and difficulty of operation and consummate contrivances for dealing with obscure and complex phenomena, the physiological laboratory has precedence of all the workshops of experiment. Professor Rosenthal's book is filled with elegant illustrations of physiological instruments and apparatus, and there are many exquisite