Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/19

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13
RESEARCH IN MEDICINE

in the blood of animals dying with anthrax. His view that these microorganisms, multiplying rapidly in the blood, were in their action analogous to Pasteur's ferments and responsible for the death of the animal, was received only with arguments and did not immediately stimulate investigation, despite his proof of experimental production of the disease by inoculation. To us, who know to-day the fruits of the study of specific etiology and specific therapy, the opposition to the views of Villemin and Davaine and others is almost incomprehensible, but it must be remembered that these views were the fruits of a new type of investigation in practical medicine, that of laboratory research which came close to the sacred precincts of the clinic. "This was the time," in France at least, "when the princes of science 5 or those who were considered as such, were chiefly physicians. The almost daily habit of advising and counselling" gave them a haughty superiority, and views not based on clinical researches were set aside as unsound. Physiology and chemistry applied to the normal individual were well enough, and pathological anatomy with the post-mortem room as an adjunct to the clinic was very proper, but for the laboratory investigator to invade the clinic and present his views concerning the cause of disease or to explain its phenomena was another matter. A well-known surgeon of that time stated:

Laboratory results should be brought out in a circumspect, modest and reserved manner, as long as they have not been sanctioned by long clinical researches.

But at the very time (1873) of this statement, the forces which were to make the era of laboratory research the greatest of medical eras were already at work; Hoppe-Seyler was establishing (1872) the first laboratory of physiological chemistry, v. Piecklinghausen was studying the wanderings of the white blood cell, Weigert was staining bacteria with carmine, Ehrlich was applying dyes to the study of the cells of the blood (both later developed the use of the aniline dyes in histological and bacteriological technic), Abbe was developing his condensing system of illumination for the microscope, Cohn was classifying bacteria according to their morphology, Klebs was separating bacteria from their culture fluid by filtration through animal cells, Pettenkoffer was studying the relation of water to epidemics of typhoid fever and cholera, Obermeier had found a parasite in the blood of relapsing fever, and Koch, a country physician, was carrying on those early researches which were soon to make him the leader in the science of bacteriology. At the same time (since 1866), pathologists (Eindfleish, v. Piecklinghausen, Waldeyer, Birch-Hirschfeld and Klebs) had been examining individuals dying of septicemia, pyemia, erysipelas, abscess, inflamed wounds, etc., and had found bacteria in all these lesions, Birch-Hirschfeld, moreover, had called attention to the resemblance, in