Imatges de pÓgina

moir, entitled “Inquiries into the Nervous System in general, and the Brain in particular.” This body appointed a committee, consisting of M. M. Tenon, Portal, Sabatier, Pinel, and Cuvier, to examine this Memoir. The report of these commissioners bears the date of April 1808, and is as clear and perspicuous an explication of the doctrines of Gall and Spurzheim, as the obscure and intricate nature of the subject of this Memoir admitted. It is evident from this report, that the investigations of these anatomists were always ingenious, sometimes highly satisfactory; and that Messrs. Tenon, &c. frequently agreed with them, though they were sometimes compelled to dissent. From a production, in itself highly ingenious, and employed on a subject of such decided interest as the development of the structure of a part of the human frame, from whence is believed to spring the susceptibility to impression in the organs of sense, and the distribution of feeling over the whole system, and which has also a direct connexion with the mental operations, it would be extremely satisfactory to quote largely, did the space allotted to this Sketch admit. We must be content, however, to refer to the Report itself, or to a translation of it in the Edinburgh Medical Journal, January 1809. It appears that Messrs. Gall and Spurzheim were not satisfied with this Report of the Commissioners, who they will scarcely allow, notwithstanding their frequent intercourse and repeatedly dissecting the brain with them, to have understood the subject. This opinion is fully expressed in their observations sur la Rapport, &c. These Recherches will probably raise the character of Gall in this country; and he may no longer be known only as a philosophical chare latan, but rather as an anatomist' who patiently inquires into the structure of the nervous system; and often as a physiologist of happy conjecture on the functions and operation of the brain.

From these abstruse and bewildering speculations, which leave the jaded intellect uncertain of what is, or is not, to be believed ; it is satisfactory to turn to productions where something like common sense and demonstrable fact appear. Of this kind is the work jointly produced by Mr. Watt and Mr. Lawrence. To correct views of Nature in this, are joined descriptions of the parts delineated, so perspicuous that they leave but little farther to be wished on the subject. The anatomico-chirurgical views of the nose, mouth, larynx, and fauces, present explanations of parts not readily comprehended by the student from actual dissection; but who will, with the assistance of these plates,



soon overcome this difficulty. The“ Views of the basis of the brain and cranium, with a dissertation on the origin of the nerves,” by Mr. Pettigrew, is to be considered as the work of a young man, ardent in the pursuit of professional knowledge. We are concerned that in this eagerness to signalize himself he has become obnoxious to the castigation of a harsh critic, who accuses him (Ann. Med. Rev. & Register, v. ii. p. 320.) of unpardonable faults in composition, and of bungling piracy. Without designing also to become accusers, we cannot but remark, that Mr. Pettigrew claims the discovery of certain rules for ascertaining the situation of the trunks of cutaneous nerves, which rules have been publickly taught by Mr. Brookes, for many years, both in his Dissecting-room, and at his Lecture. And not only have these rules been applied by Mr. Brookes to the par trigeminum; but he has likewise been in the constant habit of pointing out methods for discovering the exact seat of the trunks of all the cutaneous nerves in the superior and inferior extremities; so that a surgeon, acquainted with what Mr. Brookes has, on this subject, been teaching his pupils for a long time, cannot possibly err, in either dividing these perves, or exposing them only, as may be intended. We hope Mr. Pettigrew was not aware of these facts, when he says, I have endeavoured to lay down an almost invariable rule (p. 11.) to accomplish this (the division of nerves) to a certainty upon all those ramifications of nerves superficially situated.

In addition to the separate anatomical works above men' tioned, several ingenious papers have appeared in periodical publications. At the head of these publications may properly be placed the Philosophical Transactions. In the first part of this national work for 1809, Mr. Brodie relates the case of a fætus, in which the heart was wanting, though it had advanced to considerable fætal maturity. Its stomach had 'no cardiac orifice; there was neither coa lon, omentum, liver, nor gall-bladder; and the circulation must have been carried on entirely by the arteries.

Mr. Home details an examination of the vertebræ of the squalus maximus Linn. by which he discovered that three pints, at least, of mucous fluid, was found within the intervertebral substance. This apparatus, probably, serves to facilitate the motions of the spine, by affording a fixed centre, round which the vertebræ may move with steady velocity. A similarity of structure was discovered in the spines of other animals. The intervertebral fluid was, however, generally greater in fish than in quadrupeds; the B 3


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rapid motion of the spine in swimming, requiring in them a higher perfection in this apparatus. Mr. Home had an opportunity of further examining the structure of the syualus marimus, by one having been accidentally caught on the coast near Hastings, in the night of the 19th of November 1808. In the pursuit of a subject, which seems to have occupied much of his attention, Mr. Home particularly directed his inquiries to the stomach or this fish. In the 2d part of the Phil. Trans. he relates the result of these inquiries. From the examination of this organ, in which was found an immense quantity of pebbles, it is presumed that this species of squalus affords the connecting link in the gradation of animal life, beiween the whale and the cartilaginous fishes. Upon tracing the 6th ventricle of the brain, which corresponds with the 4th in the human subject, to its apparent terinination, the calamus scriptorius, Mr. Sewell perceived the appearance of a canal, contipuing by a direct course into the centre of the spinal mar. row. By sections of the spinal marrow, he relates in a letter to the Roy. Soc. it was ascertained that this canal terminated iu sensibly in the cuuda equina. As all reason, ings on natural subjects should be founded on absolutę fact, and all conclusions formed from fair analogies, resulting from such facts, though we may not be prepared now to say what is the design of placing such a canal in the centre of the spinal marrow, we bave a satisfaction in recording an appearance that may hereafter explain some law in the yet hidden operations of the brain and nerves.

The first volume of the Transartions of the Medical and Chirurgical Socie:y of London, contains three papers on anatomical subjects. The first of these is a description of two muscles surrounding the membranous part of the uretbra, by Mr. Wilson, of Windmill-street. These muscles have the power of diminisbing the capacity of the urethral ca. nal. Some practical circumstances respecting the state of the urethra, are explaiued from the action of these muscles, which have the power, not only of diminishing, but closing up that part of the canal where the membranous portion of the urethra joins the penis. On this Mr. Wilson remarks, that “knowing such muscles exist, we shall not hastily infer, that a permaneut stricture of the urethra is formed, because we cannot introduce a bou, gie or catheter; we shall therefore avoid using those remedies, which, though adapted to the cure of a stricture attended with a morbid alteration of the urinary passage, would, in a case arising from contraction only of these


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muscles, prove injurious to the patient. In cases of retention of urine, where no instrument will enter the bladder, we shall be induced to persevere in the means best adapted to overcome a temporary, but forcible contraction of the muscles. When this has been done, our st cond attempt to draw of the urine will probably succeed." This circumstance, perhaps, explains an occurrence that has been as flattering to one operator as humiliating to another. A surgeon of notorious dexterity has been foiled in his attempt to pass a catheter into the bladder. After long persevering he gives up the point; when another, whose skill he has held in great contempt, passes the instrument immediately, and with apparent ease. This happens from the first attempts having fatigued the muscles, which Mr. Wilson describes, nearly to the exhaustion of their contractile power. In the interval between the exhaustion of the muscular power of the uterus by one labor pain, and its recovery to produce another, the hand is easily passed into its cavity. It is a known fact that, in dislocations of the humerus, long continued efforts exhaust the muscles which resist the return of the bone to its place, and ren. der its reduction easy. The being liable to exhaustion of power by continued effort seems a general law of the muscular fibre, and may frequently be applied to practical purposes. Mr. Wilson's paper is accompanied by a drawing, which gives a distinct view of these muscles, with the relative situation of the neighbouring parts.

Connected with anatomy are two more papers in this volume. One of these, is the case of a boy who had a fætus found in his abdomen. Mr. Young, the relator of this curious fact, states, that the boy, who is the subject of it, was born in May 1807, and died in February 1808. In bis short life he suffered much from disease, the origin of which seemed to be among the abdominal viscera. On opening the body, a substance was found in a cyst within the abdom men, having unequivocally the shape and character of a human fætus. A minute account is given of the state of the abdominal viscera in general, accompanied with plates, which render the history very intelligible. A similar phenomenon occurred at Paris a few years since, and was published in a bulletin de l'Ecole de Medicine. The other paper contains an historical account of Philip Haworth, a boy, in whom the signs of puberty commenced at the early 'age of one year. A minute history is given of this boy by Mr. Wbite, accompanied with notices of similar deviation's froin the course of nature. The subject of this paper is B 4


still living, and has now entered bis fifth year. When we saw him, some time in 1809, he was extremely robust, and had, with perfect marks of virility, the intelect of a child of three years old.

Physiology, a branch of science certainly more fascinate ing, ihough less correctly understood than Anatomy, bas, during this year, experienced considerable acquisitions. Dr. Reeve, whom we had an opportunity to notice in the Report for 1808, as the author of an ingenious history of Cretinism, has published an Essay on the Torpidity of Animals. Among the phenomena of animal life, the property, or the habit of having suspended some of its most striking functions; and of remaining, for a great length of time, in a state of apparent sleep, without motion, and without nutriment; seems the most extraordinary. On this curious subject, Dr. Reeve has collected a number of facts of considerable interest, and collated the opinions of many celebrated authors, forming an Essay which will both excite to inquiry and assist the inquirer. As this is, we think, the first separate publication expressly on this peculiar state of animal life, in the English language, it has the merit of leading to disquisitions on a curious physiological fact. The property of having the obvious actions of life suspended for a great length of time, without the absolute destruction or separation of the vital principle, is not confined to animals; it is plainly seen among vegetables, for the reduced temperature of every winter occasions it; and by a certain degree of cold, artificially employed, this hybernation of trees has been much extended. At Moscow, M. Demidow, placed apple and pear trees, that came from France, in' an ice cellar, and suspended their vegetation for nineteen months : yet these trees, when afterwards subjected to the stimulus of heat, produced flowers and fruit. In some animals, especially of the class Vermes and order Testacea of Linneus, torpidity was continued a great length of time without destroying life. This as been remarked particularly to happen to the Helix hortensis, which has continued in this state for many years, without parting with the vital principle. The leading facts relative to hybernation are arranged under the following heads.

Ist. On the approach of winter, many animals retire from exposure to the atmosphere into retreats, where they roli themselves up, and yield to a kind of sleep, which usually continues till the return of warm weather.

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