68 THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY From this table it is seen that the more zoology the student has taken the better his grade in anatomy and histology. As already stated, however, the practitioner must not specialize in anatomy, and the only college courses which it seems wise to recommend to all candidates for the medical school are as follows : General zoology, dis- section of vertebrates, practise in the use of the microscope and in microscopic technic, elementary embryology. Botany. — The study of plants is clearly less intimately related to medicine than the study of animals. The peculiar importance of the bacteria, however, makes a laboratory half-course in the morphology of plants, with special reference to the fungi, very desirable. This will give the student a more comprehensive idea of these organisms than can be obtained in a medical school; it will show their relation to yeasts, moulds and other low plants, some of which are of medical importance. At the same time the student will be trained in making accurate observations of natural phenomena and in reasoning on the basis of what he has himself observed. This ability, which may be cultivated both in botanical and zoological courses, is of the utmost value to the physician. The study of the flowering plants was once intimately associated with medicine; and the array of drugs still used, which are derived from plants, would seem to make it important. The teacher of pharma- cology, however, is not seeking students familiar with medicinal fox- gloves and white poppies, but desires those well trained in chemistry. The botany of flowering plants is, therefore, not recommended. Geology. — Geology appeals irresistibly to a "naturalist," but has little value for the physician. The air, soil and water are discussed in courses on hygiene, and in connection with drainage problems and water supplies geological knowledge is important. This, however, is not a sufficient reason for recommending geology. Chemistry. — The study of chemistry in preparation for the work of a medical school is of great importance. Accordingly both a con- siderable amount of theoretical chemistry and not a little laboratory work are desirable. General descriptive inorganic chemistry and qualitative analysis are a necessary introduction to all chemical study, and must come first in any plan of chemical training; they serve to familiarize the student with the characteristics of simple chemical processes and substances, and with the more elementary chemical theories. These courses must be followed by at least a brief course in organic chemistry, because that subject, with its unique and highly important theoretical development, is absolutely essential to an understanding of certain physiological processes ; and it is of such a nature that it can be assimiliated, even in its most simple form, only after a considerable period of time has been devoted to its study.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 75.djvu/72
This page needs to be proofread.