Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/653

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635
INFECTIOUS DISEASES.

human and bovine; also that blood-serum from a person who has recently suffered an attack of small-pox neutralizes vaccine virus after contact for two or three hours.

The account which I have given of the experimental evidence relating to the presence of antitoxines, or, as they are called by Hankin, "defensive proteids," in the body of immune animals has been largely taken from a paper which I read at the recent meeting (May, 1892) of the Association of American Physicians, entitled Practical Results of Bacteriological Researches. Time will not permit me on the present occasion to consider the question of therapeutic possibilities in the use of antitoxines, but I may mention that already we have reports of six cases of traumatic tetanus successfully treated with the tetanus antitoxine obtained by Prof. Tizzoni from the blood of immune dogs. I confess I have sanguine hopes that other infectious diseases may prove to be amenable to a similar specific treatment. But, whatever may be the practical results following the discovery of these "defensive proteids" in the bodies of immune animals, it must be admitted that this addition to our knowledge is an important event in the history of scientific medicine. For this reason, and because the experimental evidence is of such recent date that the facts are not generally known, I have made this the principal topic of my address. It is scarcely necessary to add that the experimental evidence detailed gives strong support to the view that acquired immunity depends upon the formation of antitoxines in the bodies of immune animals. It is also probable that recovery from an infectious disease depends upon the formation of an antitoxine during the attack, by which the toxic substances giving rise to the morbid phenomena characterizing each specific disease are neutralized in the body of the infected individual.

 


 
A recent notice in the Monthly of a book on Right-handedness has called forth from Mr. George Wilson, President of the Lafayette County Bank, Lexington. Mo., the story of the "office cat of the bank, Ephraim, who is decidedly and persistently right-handed." "He sometimes," says Mr. Wilson, "laps milk like other cats, and sometimes sits close up to the pan and dips his paw in the milk and carrying it to his mouth, licks the drop of milk off. Noticing that he always used his right paw, I tried to get him to use the left one, first by setting the pan of milk on his left side and afterward by dipping his left foot in the milk, so as to get him started in the use of the left. He would shake the milk off his left paw and go on eating with the right one, and we have never by any expedient been able to get him to eat with the left paw."

A Polynesian Society has been formed in Wellington, New Zealand, the chief object of which is to secure as far as possible a systematic study of the ethnology and philology of the island groups collectively designated as Polynesia.