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MEDICAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL INTELLIGENCE.
ROYAL SOCIETY.-Jan, 31. A paper by Mr. Home was read on the nonconducting powers of the thoracic duct and the spleen from the stomach to the bladder. Mr. H. related a number of ex. periments made with ligatures, or by removing the spleen and keeping a ligature on the thoracic duct, in which state rhubarb was taken int) the stomach of the animal, and was detected in the urine ; whence he inferred, contrary to some opinions he formerly published, that those two organs' are not necessary to the secretion of urine.
Feb. 7. Mr. Smithson's paper on zeolite was read. This inge. nious mineralogist having received some specimens of this mineral' from M. Haiiy himself, and labelled by his own hand, he deemed it a'favourable opportunity of ascertaining if there were any che. mical difference between the mesotype of the French crystallogra. pher, and zeolite or the natrolith of Klaproth, as he had previously discovered the existence of soda in all the specimens of zeolite which are found in these kingdoms, as well as those in Germany. M. Vauquelin analysed several specimens of zeolite without disco. vering any traces of soda ; but Mr. Smithson discovered alkali even in the mesotype sent him by M. Haüy, and in every other speci. men of zeolite in his possession. From this circumstance he is inclined to prefer the original name of zeolite, as given to this mineral by its discoverer Cronsted, in preference to that of mesotype given it by Haily; and considers the distinction between me. sotype and patrolith as unsupported by chemical analysis.
Feb. 14. A long paper on the effects of vegetable poisons on animals by Mr. Brodie was read. The author has pursued his researches for a considerable time, and detailed to the society the result of his experiments on rabbits, cats, and dogs, with alcohol, oil of bitter almonds, extract of aconite, tobacco, &c. These vegetable substances thrown into the stomachs of dogs, cats, rabbits, &c. instantly killed them by acting on the nervous system, and pro.. ducing a compression of the brain : thrown into the rectum, the same effects were produced. The pulsation and heat of the heart, after administering these poisons, were maintained for a considerable time by means of artificial respiration, except with tobacco, which instantly destroyed the powers of the heart, and arrested the pulsations. One drop of the empyreumatic oil of tobacco let fall on the tongue of a cat killed her, but did not destroy the pulsation so instantaneously. Mr. Brudie made a great number of experiments with the vegetable poison used by the American Indians to poison their arrows, and with nearly similar results.
On Thursday, the 21st of February, a paper was read by H. Davy, Esq. LL.D. Sec. R.S. on a gaseous combination of oxymuriatic gas and oxygen." (No. 146.)
Mr. Davy procured this extraordinary body by acting on hyper. oxymuriate of potash by diluted muriatic acid. Mr. Davy stated, that it explodes by the application of a heat equal to that of the human body; and that though the oxygen and oxymuriatic gas expand in separating from each other, yet heat and light are pro. duced. The metals which burn readily in oxymuriatic gas do not act upon this body till it is decomposed. He described a number of properties of this compound, all of which he considered as strengthening his opinion of the undecompounded nature of oxymu. riatic gas; and as particularly opposed to the idea of its containing oxygen. Mr. Davy proposed the name zuthine or zuthic gas for this body from its colour, which is bright yellow; but he stated that he should be content to adopt any other name which might be considered as more appropriate. Phil. Mag.
ROYAL SOCIETY OF EDINBURGH.-On the 7th of January, Sir George Mackenzie continued his account of the mineralogy of Ice. land, and described some very curious geological facts, On the 21st he concluded his mineralogical detail, with an interesting description of Mount Hecla, and other volcanic districts. In this paper Sir George made some remarks which tended to place obsidian and pumice in a conspicuous point of view, as relating to the dif. ferent theories of the earth, and clearly proved their origin to be igneous ; a position which has hitherto been denied by Werner and his pupils.
On the 4th of February, Dr. Brewster read an ingenious paper on the longitude of the comet of 1770. Sir George Mackenzie described some remarkable hot springs in Iceland. To one of these he gave the name of the alternating Geyser, as it spouted from two distinct orifices evidently connected within, but only from one at a time, whose operations alternated with those of the other intervals of time.
On the 18th, Professor Playfair read part of a biographical sketch of the late John Robison, LL. D. and Professor of Natural Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh.-Mr. Allan commu. nicated a letter from Dr. Henry, of Manchester, describing the position of some singular masses of a substance apparently composed of wax and rosin, which had been laid bare by a late overflow of the river Mérsey, a little below Stockport, about three feet under the soil, and supposed to be the refuse of some manufactory, of which no other vestige or recollection now remains. Phil. Mag.'
- French NATIONAL INSTITUTE.-Abstract of the Report of the National Institute at Paris for the year 1810,
Messrs, Gay Lussac and Thenard. have directed their attention to compare the relative powers and energies of different Galvanic piles, They have discovered that the force of the pile is not increased in proportion to the number of plates. To produce a dou: ble effect, the number of plates must be increased eight times. In general, it was found that the quantity of gas the piles will pro
duce, is nearly in proportion to the cube root of the number of plates employed.-Amongst the discoveries to which the Galvanic pile has given rise, there are few more interesting to general che. mistry than the transformation of the alkalies into combustible suba stances of metallic splendour.
This transformation, first discovered by Mr. Davy, was afterwards doubted by Messrs. Lussac and Thenard. In their former, report they were disposed to consider potassium and sodium as combinations of the alkalies with hydrogen, and to class them amongst the compound substances called hydrurets : subsequent ex, periments have led them to incline to the opinion of Mr. Davy, and to regard potassium and sodium as simple metallic substances.
M. Berthollet has communicated a process for making the muriate of mercury, called mercurius dulcis or calomel, by passing oxygenated muriajic gas through mercury ; it combines rapidly with the metal, and forms with it the muriate of mercury; and as this metallic salt has a perfect analogy with other mercurial salts produced by other acids, and mercury at the minimum of oxidation, he con. cludes that the mercury, in forming this combination, has been reduced to an oxide by the oxygen of the acid, and not by that of the water.
M. Guyton has directed his attention to the mode of giving a permanent red colour to glass, by ineans of copper, which by acci. dent he first discovered might be done. M. Sage has also taken a part in these experiments, with the intent to colour glass red by means of copper and the phosphate of lime, or with bones ; and he has shown crystals of glass, from the bottom of the pots used to mele glass in the bottle-manufacture at Seves, wbich had some resemblance to hexaëdral prisms. It is well known that simple means have been discovered to extract soda from common salt. France, formerly imported this article, so necessary to the arts: an incon. venience attended the mode of preparing it, from the quantity of acid gas which escaped, and was highly injurious. Amongst the different means of preventing this inconvenience which have been at. tempted, that of M. Pelletan the younger is deserving of notice. It consists in making the muriatic gas pass through long horizontal tubes partly filled with calcareous earth, which absorbs the gas, forming with it the muriate of lime. The experiments of M. Sage on plumbago (black lead) show that this substance does not contain any iron, but consists of a coaly matter mixed with one-tenth part of clay.. The fossil carbon of St. Symphorien, near Lyons, ap. proaches nearer to this substance than any other known mineral.
M. Deyeux has presented to the class of agriculture a loaf of sugar made from the red beet (betterave), whicli had all the whiteness and flavour of the sugar from the cane. He has announced that this substance may be made in great quantities by the proprictors, who have devoted to this attempt 400 acres of ground. Should it succeed on the great scale, it will change the relations of the two worlds.
MEDICAL SOCIETY OF LONDON.-This Society held its Anniver.. sary Meeting on the 8th of March.
l'he customary Oration was given by Mr. Blair ; its subject, the Origin, nature, progress, and diffusion of Syphilis.
Mr. Blair assumed that lues venerea was not brought from America to Europe-- that it was not known to the ancient medical writers, or noticed by any one b. fore 1493—and, therefore, that it was generated in Europe about that period.
We apprehend this to be a correct statement of the data on which the oration was founded ; and we have no fear of being contradicted when we assert, that the orator manifested great powers of research, a respectable portion of erudition, and considerable ingenuity in the employment of his materials.
Mr. Blair's opinion of the non-existence of lues venerea in the new World, was founded on a close examination of the early Spanish his. torians, who had been quoted by Friend, Astruc, and Gintanner, to prove the American origin; so that Mr. Blair did not adopt his opinion, in opposition to them, without first weighing the whole evidence. The total silence of medical authors respecting this disease, prior to the end of the 15th century, was his chief motive for concluding that Syphilis was unknown to remoter ages ; and although Hensler, Sanchez, Gruner, Sprengell, &c. &c. have attempted to throw light on the appearance of this disease in Europe, Mr. Blair did not acquiesce in the sentiments of any of those learned authors. He likewise combated the ideas of several English writers and others, to whom we owe certain hypotheses on the generation and first production of lues venerea ; especially the notions of Sydenham, Harvey, Lettsom, and Howard, who suppose the disease to have arisen from a combination or modification of two other affections, or from the conversion of leprosy or yaws into Syphilis. These suppositions were rejected on historical grounds, or for want of sufficient evidence.
Toward the conclusion of this spirited, and what the painters call finished sketch, Mr. Blair dwelled particularly upon a fortuitous concurrence of incidents, as remarkable, as they were important in the affairs of men.. The discovery of America, the wars that desolated the fairest provinces of Europe, and a pestilence which spread with wasting destruction over Spain, Germany, Italy, and France, marked the close of the 15th century. It appeared to us, that Mr. Blair looked to this awful and dire epidemic, perhaps, in conjunction with the aggravation of all human calamity by war, for the origin of Syphilis.
The source of this disea'e has been sought by philosophers, historians, and physicians, with little success; and it the importation of lues from America be denied, its origin is yet left in utter darkness. Though the opinion of Mr. Blair may not be original, we expect he will illuminate the obscurity in which the question of the origin of Sy. philis has hitherto remained ; and therefore we hope he will accede to
the REQUEST OF THE Society, and publish his Oration ; with a fair · scatement of his evidence, and a full reference to his authorities.
. Officers for the ensuing rear. President ... George Pinckard, M. D. .
r James Hamilton, M. D.
Richard Temple, M. D.
(John Abernethy, Esq.
George Birkbeck, M. D
Hospitals for the Small-Pox and Inoculation, St. Pancras.
ANNIVERSARY, THURSDAY, the 14th March, 1811.
The House Committee avail themselves of the present return of their Annual Meeting, for recalling the public attention to the great Utility of this Establishment, exemplified by its beneficial effects during the past year.
They desire to remind a liberal Public of the importance of an Instia tution devoted to the relief of persons under circumstances peculiarly distressing to themselves-often dangerous and always inconvenient to their relatives and others :-an Institution by which the treatment of a most malignant disease has been much improved, and the means of its communication in a great degree lessened-an Institution, to the close investigation and faithful reports of which Vaccination is in a great degree indebted for its general reception with the Public.
Into the House appropriated for the reception of poor patients afficted with the casual Small-Pox, 149 have been received :-some of them unfortunately became victims to the extreme malignity of their cases; but by far the greater part have been restored to their respective families and occupations. Into the House for Inoculation, 127 Patients have been admitted, all of whom have recovered :-and, in order to secure Infants thereby, (even before they can be removed from their mothers), thirteen of the latter have, at their own desire, been admitted, with their offspring, on payment for their own board.
· In addition to these, the benefit of Vaccination has been given to 1,720 Out-patients.
Thus have these Hospitals afforded relief to One thousand Nine Hundred and Ninety-six poor persons in the year 1810; and from the perind of their first establishment in the year 1746, to the present time, they have protected and relieved no less than 96,329 poor of this metro. polis and its neighbourhood, without fee or expense.
Hence it is obvious tha this institution has greatly alleviated the affliction of the casual Small-Pox ; that it has, with scrupulous observ-' ance, 'met the recent orders of the Governors, in limiting the Inoculation of the Small-Pox within its own walls---while it has given, and is daily giving, with alacrity, the benefits of Vaccination to all who apply