Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/388

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pigeons fed on white bread sit, with their feathers out, huddled together to keep each other warm.

The metabolism, circulation, respiration and expansion of the lung are all reduced. The warm, moist atmosphere lessens the evaporation from the respiratory tract, and therefore the transudation of tissue lymph and activity of the ciliated epithelium. The unexpanded parts of the lung are not swept with blood. Everything favors a lodgment of the bacilli, and lessens the defences on which immunity depends. In the mouth, too, the immune properties of the saliva are neutralized by the continual presence of food, and the temperature of the mouth is kept at a higher level, which favors bacterial growth. Lieutenant Siem informs me that recently in northern Norway there has been the same notable increase in tuberculosis. The old cottage fireplaces with wide chimneys have been replaced with American stoves. In olden days most of the heat went up the chimney, and the people were warmed by radiant heat. Now the room is heated to a uniform moist heat. The Norwegians nail up the windows and never open them during the winter. At Lofoten, the great fishing center, motor-boats have replaced the old open sailing and row boats. The cabin in the motor-boat is very confined, covered in with watertight deck, heated by the engine, crowded with a dozen workers. When in harbor the fishermen used to occupy ill-fitted shanties, through which the wind blew freely; now, to save rent, they sleep in the motor-boat cabins. Here, again, we have massive infection, and the reduction of the defensive mechanisms by the influence of the warm, moist atmosphere.

The Norwegian fishermen feed on brown bread, boiled fish, salt mutton, margarine, and drink, when in money, beer and schnapps; there is no gross deficiency in diet, as in Labrador, and beri-beri does not attack them. They return home to their villages and longshore fishing when the season is over. The one new condition which is common to the two districts is confinement in stove-heated, windless atmospheres. In old days the men were crowded together, but in open boats or in draughty shanties, and had nothing but little cooking-stoves.

The conditions of great cities tend to confine the worker in the office all day, and to the heated atmosphere of club, cinema show or music-hall in the evening. The height of houses prevents the town dweller from being blown upon by the wind, and, missing the exhilarating stimulus of the cool, moving air, he repels the dull uniformity of existence by tobacco and by alcohol, or by indulgence in food, e. g., sweets, which are everywhere to his hand, and by the nervous excitement of business and amusement. He works, he eats, and is amused in warm, windless atmospheres, and suffers from a feeble circulation,