Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/591

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Nerve-Vibration as a Remedy.—Dr. J. Mortimer-Granville writes in the "Lancet" that enlarged experience in nerve-vibration, as a means or method of treating disease, has confirmed his belief in its value, and he has no longer any hesitation in recommending its adoption by the profession. He has employed it in a very considerable number of cases, differing widely in their nature and characteristics, and, although he has had many failures—mainly, as he believes, from errors in diagnosis, and mismanagement in the application of the treatment—"the net result has been such as to place beyond reasonable question the fact that, in precisely applied mechanical vibration of nerves and nerve-centers, we have a means of eliciting function and stimulating nutrition which surpasses for directness and rapidity of action any other system or method extant." Regarding the principles of the practice, Dr. Mortimer-Granville believes that, in the treatment of neuralgia, percussion acts simply by interrupting a morbid series of vibrations and substituting for it another series which is not morbid. Its success is by no means certain; but it deserves a trial, and particularly in cases which would otherwise be treated by nerve-stretching. The method is believed to be of the highest possible value for the rousing of torpid nerve-centers and eliciting function from the several organs of the body. Every organ "may, in the absence of disabling organic disease, be made to perform its proper function by exciting the nerve which supplies it with energy by mechanical vibration. In this way I have seen the liver unloaded, and what seemed to be inveterate torpidity of the intestines remedied in a few successive vibrations. I have now under treatment the case of a child who was six weeks ago to all appearance an idiot, but who has already developed so much cerebral activity and growing intelligence, under the influence of specific center and nerve-vibration, that I entertain the strongest hope of his ultimate awakening, and a fair approach to the normal state. A surprising amount of success has attended percussion in cases of obstinate and what was supposed to be irremediable deafness. ... In neurasthenia, neurasthenia, and even commencing sclerosis of the spinal cord with loss of tendon reflex, the most remarkable effects are produced by applying the percuteur over the spinous processes of the appropriate vertebræ."

Obituary.—Science, in California, lost by the death of the Hon. Benjamin B. Redding, State Fish Commissioner, in August last, one of its most active promoters. Mr. Redding was a Regent of the University of California, and President of the Board of Trustees of the California Academy of Sciences. He took great interest in all scientific work, especially in the paleontology of the Pacific coast, and was an indefatigable collector of prehistoric and aboriginal relics. He was also a member of the Geographical Society of the Pacific, and read before it in April last a paper describing a visit to the Galapagos Islands, made in 1850. A list of his contributions to current literature since October, 1877, contains the titles of more than eighty papers, nearly all of which had a scientific bearing. No record is preserved of his previous contributions. His papers have been described as always full of original facts, clearly and simply expressed. Mr. Redding was fifty-eight years old.


A powerful magnetic storm prevailed, both in the United States and England, shortly after the middle of November, reaching its intensity in both countries on the 17th. It was described by American electricians as unlike any disturbance heretofore known, and as acting upon the wires in strong waves, which produced constant changes in the polarity of the current. In England, Mr. Preece pronounced it the most terrific storm he had ever witnessed, after thirty years of observation, and described it as characterized, like the American storm, by alternate waves of great strength. The storm was accompanied, in both countries, by brilliant auroras on the night of the 17th. French accounts represent the storm as equally remarkable on the Continent.

The death is announced of Dr. Franz Ritter von Kobell, Professor of Mineralogy, and keeper of the mineralogical state collections at Munich, Bavaria. He was seventy-nine years old, and was well known through his numerous mineralogical publications.