Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/185

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173
BRAIN-WEIGHT AND BRAIN-POWER.

carelessly—for twenty-four years, with but eighteen months' leave, weakened a naturally magnificent constitution, and he was compelled to take furlough. His intellectual vigor, however, was shown nearly to the last, and only a few days before death he expressed his capability of undertaking difficult mental work. But a sudden change set in, and in a few days proved fatal.

During his stay at Netley he suffered from extreme debility, induced probably by intractable diarrhoea. A day or two before death he complained of severe headache, and his axillary temperature rose from 101°-102° to 106° Fahr.

It is very much to be regretted that, at the time I was called upon to make the autopsy, I was not in possession of the facts narrated, for, had I been, the examination would have been more complete in many points. The diagnosis of the case was very obscure; but hepatic abscess was suspected, and it was to clear up this point that the examination was made. The severe headache, however, and the rise of temperature, pointed to some cerebral or meningeal mischief, and it was thought advisable to find out if such existed. For this purpose the cranium was opened.

Abstract of Autopsy (made not only with the full permission of relatives, but, I believe, by request).—Cranial bones very dense; dura mater extremely vascular; brain-substance generally firm and normal. On opening the left ventricle pus was observed in the anterior cornu; the origin of this was in the anterior part of the intraventricular portion of the left corpus striatum, which here was quite destroyed and broken down into soft shreds. Before dissection the brain weighed 26,130 grains avoirdupois, or 59·72 ounces. After examination, a portion of it, weighing 22,785 grains, was found to displace eighty-six cubic inches of water; the specific gravity was, therefore, 1·049. The lungs were perfectly healthy, with the exception of the lower lobe of the right. In this there was a circumscribed abscess-cavity, measuring in its longest diameter three inches. It communicated with a small abscess in the liver, through an opening, about the size of a florin, in the diaphragm. The heart was quite normal. The lining membrane of the great blood-vessels was deeply blood-stained, that of the aorta being very much roughened, in patches, by atheromatous degeneration. Jejunum, ileum, and colon normal; no trace of ulceration, but the solitary glands of the latter were large and prominent. The liver presented a uniformly brown color throughout, and was much softened. In the upper portion of the right lobe there was a small abscess, about one inch in diameter, and nearly surrounded by a dense, thick, fibrous envelope. This abscess communicated with the lung. The spleen was slightly enlarged, weighing 4,375 grains. The kidneys appeared to be quite normal; they were enveloped in a large amount of fat.

The chief interest in this case lies in the great weight of the brain, and its high specific gravity, in relation to the highly gifted intellectual