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Ayer, N. W. and Son American Newspaper Annual, 1886. Philadelphia: N. W. Ayer & Son. Pp. 1010. $3.
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The State and Public Health.—Professor Edward Orton, in an address before the Ohio State Medical Society, on "The Relation of the State to the Health of the People," asserts that "the manner in which we are doing much of our sanitary work is far below the best knowledge of our time, and is a serious reproach upon our civilization. We are expending enough, and more than enough, to give us ample protection from the diseases which threaten us, but our ill-devised plans and our worse-constructed work leave us still, to a large degree, within their power." There is much truth in this, and the reason for it is perhaps to be found in the fact that too much is done for the sake of doing, without taking sufficient pains to do intelligently. Professor Orton would remedy the evil by putting all local sanitary work under the control of municipal boards of health, "which should be measurably permanent bodies, and which should be intrusted with large powers." The quality of permanence should be insisted upon, that the boards may profit by their mistakes, and learn as they go, and not, being renewed every little while, go on repeating the mistakes of their predecessors or blundering into new ones. Then Professor Orton would have the work of these local boards unified under a State Board—an important matter, in consideration of the extensive geographical fields that often come under common sanitary relations. Such general supervision is particularly called for in a State situated as Ohio is, which, through most of its area at least, must depend for the future, as it does in the present, upon its rivers and lakes for its water-supply; and the question of guarding these sources becomes one of the gravest importance, which a State Board or its equivalent only is competent to deal with.
Bacterial Products as Antidotes for Bacteria.—D. E. Salmon communicated to the American Association the results of experiments which he had made in neutralizing the pathic effects of bacteria by means of the chemical products of bacterial action. They had been made upon pigeons with the bacteria of the swine-plague virus and their products. Since the demonstration of the germ theory of disease, it has become evident that there are three possible explanations of the action of these products: 1. Something is deposited in the body during the attack of disease that is unfavorable to the specific germ. 2. Something is exhausted which is essential to the development of the germ. 3. The living tissues acquire such a tolerance for the germ, or for a poison which it produces, that they are no longer affected by it. If either the first or the third of these explanations is correct, it would appear possible that immunity might be gained by introducing into the tissues the liquids in which the specific germs have been cultivated, and from which they had been removed by filtration, or in which they have been killed by suitable methods. The