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In this state it is observed, that their temperature is greatly diminished, though it still continues somewhat above that of the surrounding medium.
2d. The frequency of pulsation in the heart and arteries is greatly diminished.
3d. Respiration becomes less frequent, or ceases entirely.
4th. The stomach and intestines cease to act. 5th. Sensation and voluntary motion are lessened, or The Phil. Trans. of this year afford some specimens of ingenious physiological speculation. The Croonian Lecture, by Dr. Young, on the Functions of the Heart and Arteries, takes a prominent station among these. The Jearned author particularly directs his investigation to the following heads.
Ist. What would be the nature of the circulation of the blood, if the whole of the veins and arteries were invariable in their dimensions, like tubes of glass or bone?
2d. In what manner would the pulse be transmitted from the heart through the arteries, if they were merely elastic tubes ?
3d. What can, with propriety, be attributed to the muscular coats of the arteries themselves?
4th. Observations on the disturbances of these, which may be supposed to occur in different kinds of inflammations, and of fevers,
In pursuing this inquiry, much curious research, ingenia ous speculation, and profound mathematical reasoning are employed. The calculations and experiments of Keil, Hales, and Haller, are resorted to for the decision of dira sficult points; but whether the main object of the paper, which is to prove that the circulation of the blood through the arteries is but little promoted by the muscular power of those vessels, is established, remains, at least, doubte ful. It is a singular fact, that in the volume where Dr. Young labours to establish this principle, a case of monstrosity should be given, where the circulation was carried on without the assistance of the heart, that organ being entirely wanting. The superiority of fact over speculation is pointedly put by this fortuitous circumstance. The plain narrative of Mr. Brodie will, probably, carry conviction much further than the elaborate and able reasoning of Dr. Young. The power of working up the phantoms of imagination with plausible dexterity, is sometimes given in ex
traordinary profusion ; and speculations on the functions of animal' bodles then mislead in a ratio agreeing with their ingenuity. It is not meant to insinuate, however, that this property or power has been exercised in the Phil. Trans, of this year, with any uncominon adroitness, or redondance of dexterity. On the contrary, there seems a disposition in the Royal Society to urge that the foundation of opinions be laid on actual experiment, and on known or ascertainable facts. *
Physiology has been much indebted to modern chemistry, for the illustration of many phenomena in animal life heretofore inexplicable. Especially, have the laws and effects of respiration been unfolded by this science: and a paper on this subject, by Messrs Allen and Pepys, in the Phil. Trans. of this year, will shew the ardour with which, in this view, it is still cultivated.
Under the denomination of Animal Chemistry much has also been done to ascertain the true properties of the materials, whether solid or fluid, of which the animal frame is compounded. Ainong those who have laboured on this subject with most effect, Dr. Bostock, of Liverpool, must be noticed for his persevering ingenuity. A paper on the gelatine of the blood, in the Transactions of the Medico Chirurgical Society of London, for this year, will manifest the claim this gentleman has to particular attention. Beside the chemical object of this paper, in it will be found a neat epitome of the history of opinions on the nature and properties of the blood. In the Philosophical Transactions, Dr. Pearson's paper on Espectorated Matter; Mr. Brande's Observations on Albumen, and some other api. mal fluids, with remarks on their analysis by electro-chemical decomposition ;--and Mr. Home's Hints on the subject of Animal Secretions, are properly arranged under the class of Animal Chemistry. The first of these is defective in a practical view, as it does not state “those properties by which expectorated secretion may be distinguished from expectorated pus.” Every practitioner has felt how desirable it is to have a criterion, by which to distinguish pus from mucous, as regarding discharges from the lungs.
* Mr Knight has made some curious observations on the comparative influence of male and female parents on their offspring. These are inserted in the hil. Trans. of this year, and deserve attention speculations of an abstruse, but interesting subject.
If Dr. Pearson has discovered such a criterion, the spirit for scientific improvement indicated in the general tenor of his pursuits, will prevent his long withholding it from the public.
The practical part of Surgery, has in modern times received so much' in provement, as scarcely to resemble what it once was. Every year, indeed, adds something eitber to its reasoning or operative part; and the present is not wanting of this spirit of improvement. Among the publications on Surgery, in 1809, we notice a second vojume of Charles Bell's System of Operative Surgery, and his Letters concerning Diseases of the Urethra.-Wardrop's Observations on Fungus Hæmatodes. A Dictionary of Practical Surgery, by Mr. Cooper. - Dr. Serney's Treatise on Local Inflammation.--An Essay on the Nature and Treatment of the Malignant Contagious Ulcer, as it generally appears in the British Navy, by James Little, Surgeon, R. N.Abernethy's Surgical Observations on the Constitutional Origin and Treatment of Local Diseases; and Aneurism.-And, as the latest production on the Surgery of France, that the designed difficulty of communication with that country has perunitted us to examine, M. Richerand's Nosugruphie Chirurgicale.
The observations on the Fungus Hematodes will deservedly excite considerable attention; and the labour of Ms. Wardrop must reflect credit on himself, and benefit science, notwithstanding he may have extended the appellation far beyond what a sober view of a specific disease can justify. We apprehend this alarming complaint' must have existed in all periods, and even before there were records of science; but it has been the fortune of Mr. Burns, of Glasgow, in the year 1800; first, distinctly to point it out in his Dissertations on Inflammation. Mr. Hey, of Leeds, in 1803, (Practical Obst rvations in Surgery) accurately detailed some cases of this disease, and applied to it the term Fungus Hematodes. In 1804, an analagous affection, under the name of Medulinry Sarcoma, was described (Surgical Observations, &c.) by Mr. Abernethy. It has sometimes been called soft Cancer: and Mr. Pott mentions a similar disease in the calf of the leg, which he cousidered as arising from a rupture of the posterior tibial artery. Since the attention of the profession was first excited to this complaint by Mr. Burns, the cases of it seem to have increased with great rapidity. This is to be accounted for, however, by the appellation given to it by M
Hey, being made to comprehend many morbid alterations of structure, which had before gone by other designations. It is most desirable that a disease so destructive should be fully identified: and if it can be considered as a genus comprehending several species, the generic relation of these, as well as their specific differences, should be clearly defined. Opinions on the cause of this malady are greatly at variance. Some have considered it as arising from a morbid change in the structure of the small arteries, similar to that which, in the large ones, disposes to aneurism. Others look upon it as "a living parasitical animal, nou. Tished by the vital Auid of the patient; and capable of absorbing from the adjacent vessels what is effused from its own.” The progress of this disease, when it attacks the eye-ball, is described with great accuracy; and constitutes, perhaps, the chief excellence of Mr. Wardrop's Work. * The first appearance of the Fungus Hamatodes, when it attacks the eye, he says, is observable in the posterior chamber. The pupil becomes dilated and immoveable, and, instead of its vatural deep black colour, it has a dark amber, and in some cases a greenish hue, giving to the eye very much of that appearance which is observed in the sound eye of the sheep, the cat, or any of the lower animals. As the progress of the disease advances, the colour becomes more remarkable; and it is soon discovere ed to be produced from a solid substance, which is forming ip the bottom of the eye, and gradually approaching towards the cornea. The surface of this substance is gene. rally rugged, and not unlike what may be supposed to. ao. rise from a quantity of effused lymph. In some cases, red vessels may be seen running across the opake body; but these are not the vessels which nourish it, but ramifica. tions of the cerebral artery of the retipa. When the disease advances further, the form of the eye-ball begins to alter, acquiring an irregular knobbed appearance; at the same time, the sclerotic coat loses its natural pearly white colour, and becomes of a dark blue, or livid hue. The tumour, by its continued growth, finally occupies the whole anterior chamber, and, in some cases, a quantity of purus Jent matter collects between it and the corneå. At last the cornea ulcerates, and a fuogous tumour shoots out from the portion of the diseased substance, contiguous to the ulcerated cornea; and in other cases, the tumour pushes itself through the sclerotic coat. The substance of this fungus is very readily toro; and when a portion of ių is se
parated, or if it be slightly scratched, it bleeds profusely: In other cases, the tumour is of a firiner texture; and if, as sometimes happens, instead of coming through the cornea, it burst through the sclerotic coat, it then pushes before it the conjunctiva, and thus derives a mucous cover. ing. When the tumour becomes very large, portions of the most prominent parts begin to lose their vitality, and separate in sloughs, which have a very offensive and fætid smell, and are accompanied with the discharge of an a. crid serum.” The opinions of Mr. Abernethy will always have, as they will always deserve, a considerable share of public attention. It would, however, occasion much regret, if these opinions were becoming hypothetical, and were carried to the extreme of deriving almost every chronic disease from the same source. The “ Observations on the Constitutional Origin and Treatment of Local Diseases," is in part a reprint of a former work, with some alterations and additions; particularly a paper on Aneurism, with which the volume concludes. The object of this publication is, to lay before the profession the facts which have come under the author's observation, relative to the disorders of the digestive organs, and their connection with and effects on other parts of the frame.
For some years, a species of ulcer called the ship, or contagious malignant ulcer, had afficted the British Navy to an extent that was extremely alarming. Mr. Little, in the pamphlet mentioned in the preceding enumeration, has given the pathology and treatment of this ulcer. But, that the cases of this disease are so decreased in number, as to be, comparatively, an object of slight professional consideration, will appear from the following statement of admissions of patients with it for a series of years, into the Royal Hospital at Plymouth. From May to the 31st of December, 1803, were received 87 cases.- In 1804, received 621.-In 1805, 377.-In 1806, 505.- In 1807, 346.-In 1808, 223.In 1809, 220.-And to the 30th of April, 1810, 58. In 1804, 19 died in the hospital of this ulcer. In 1806, 23 died. In 1808, 5 died. In 1809, none died. In 1810, to the 30th of April, none. The rise, progress, and decline of this disease, presents a curi, ous fact in the history of the Medical Art, and deserves a minute and unprejudiced investigation. Perhaps the following authentic notices may be of use to its future historian. Some idea may be formed of the ravages occasioned by