Page images


mission of experts, appointed to investigate the disease, had its first meeting on March 21st. They decided, among other matters, to issue cards to doctors in hospitals, with blanks to be filled in with data from the bacteriological standpoint, showing the evidences of communicability and what is known of the biology of the disease micrococci with reference to differentiation, agglutination and pathogenesis. Clinically they will inquire about the effect of drying on the cocci and their viability in spray as bearing on isolation and infection. Complete information about the patients' surroundings and the conditions under which they were stricken with the disease will also be collected. It is probable that the scope of the investigation will be world-wide, and that information will be sought from hospitals all over the globe. We may, therefore, expect that any data of a bacteriological or clinical character which Canadian hospital doctors may possess about this disease will be placed at the disposal of the New York commission on cerebro-spinal meningitis.

In an original article, which appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association,and is republished at page 298 of this number, Dr. Councilman writes : “ Acute meningitis may be produced by a number of bacteria, but chiefly by those belonging to the pyogenic organisms. The three organisms most generally concerned are the diplococcus intracellularis meningitidis, the pneumococcus and the streptococcus. Of these the first-named deserves the most attention, in that it is the cause of the epidemic form of the disease. This organism was first described by Weichselbaum in

to Jäger belongs the credit of first recognizing it as the cause of epidemic cerebro-spinal meningitis." The disease which is caused by this organism occurs epidemically or sporadically, and is characterized by an inflammation of the meninges of the brain and spinal cord and a great diversity of clinical manifestations. The germ is found chiefly in the polynuclear leucocytes, both in the tissues and in the cerebro-spinal fluid, sometimes in the fluid of the joints. The diagnosis should be confirmed

be confirmed by the demonstration of the diplococcus intracellularis meningitidis in the fluid removed by lumbar puncture.

On account of the fact that the disease is concealed in the nervous centres of the patient, it seems unlikely that the causative germs should be carried on the persons or belongings of those who have been in contact with the sick, or that direct transference of the disease from the sick to the well should occur. An explanation of the probable method by which the disease is communicated


is given by Leube, as follows: "The disease does not appear to be contagious from person to person. The mode of infection is probably similar to that which obtains in diphtheria, i.e., communication of the disease occurring by direct or indirect transference (by means of healthy persons) of material containing cocci, especially from the nose and the pharynx of meningitis patients.”

With regard to the route by which the germs reach the meninges, Strümpell and Weigert believe that as the germs are found in the secretions of the nose, infection takes place through that channel, and it has been suggested that the meninges may be reached by way of the Eustachian tube and ear. Dr. Councilman says, among other conclusions expressed in the article from which we have already quoted, “That the diplococcus intracellularis meningitidis may be found on the mucous membrane of the nose, where it may produce a rhinitis, and that it is probable that infection of the meninges takes place by extension from some of the adjacent mucous membranes, by means of the lymphatics. We can only explain the epidemics of the disease by the assumption that at certain times the power of the infection is increased either by an increase in the virulence of the diplococcus, or by a decrease in the resistance of the tissues."

Inasmuch as the disease is transmissible the patient should be isolated and the discharges, especially from nose, ear and lungs, should be disinfected.

Physicians interested in the preventive treatment of disease may derive some satisfaction from this view of the etiology of cerebro-spinal meningitis. Moreover, when one considers the deadly character of this disease, death occurring in from 20 to 70 per cent. of the cases, attention to the hygiene of the nose and throat, especially during the season when it prevails, should not be neglected. In this connection it may also be stated that the rhinologists advise the use of antiseptic solutions sprayed into the nares and throat as preventives. This is not all, however ; for as lack of ventilation and crowding in cabins, houses, barracks, tenements, prisons and workhouses are important predisposing influences, the opposite conditions of life should be made to prevail, if the disease in question is to be kept in abeyance. Neither is the fresh air of the country a cure-all, for epidemics of it have been more frequent in rural districts than in the cities. Not that the pure air of the country is at fault, but rather the lack of it, owing to overcrowding and uncleanliness in the dwellings. J. J. C.


On March 17th, 1905, the centenary of Manuel Garcia, the discoverer of laryngoscopy, was celebrated in a public manner in London, England. During the morning he was received at Buckingham Palace by the King, and decorated with an honorary commandership in the Victorian Order. At a gathering, held at 20 Hanover Square, he received a message from the King of Spain, containing the announcement that the Grand Cross of the Order of Alfonzo had been conferred on Senor Garcia, and also a message from the German Emperor, who conferred on him the Great Gold Medal of Merit. Addresses and messages were also presented by representatives of universities, laryngological societies, academies of music, and personal tributes from many of the great singers who had been his pupils. A portrait of Senor Garcia, painted by Mr. Sargent and subscribed for by friends and admirers throughout the world, was also presented.

During the proceedings the patriarch was, of course, seated ; but his great age was not evident in his bearing. He sat upright, a spare figure, with short, white hair, white moustache and handsome, aquiline features. In the evening he was entertained at a banquet in the Hotel Cecil.

Garcia is of Spanish birth, but has lived the greater part of his life in England. He visited America in 1825, and took the leading part in the “ Barber of Seville,” then produced for the first time in New York. He retired from the stage in 1825, and devoted himself to teaching and writing on music. His greatest distinction rests on the fact that in 1854 he improvised or adopted certain appliances for the visual study of the action of the vocal cords in singing

He practised auto-laryngoscopy by placing against his uvula a dentist's mirror, illuminated by solar light from a hand mirror. He repeated his experiments so as to be able to study the two great functions of the larynx, the production of sound and respiration. He may, therefore, in a certain way be regarded as the first laryngoscopist. Fifty years ago, March 22nd, 1855, his paper, “Observations on the Human Voice,” was presented before the British Royal Society.

Although nothing of special interest from the musical standpoint resulted from Garcia's invention, it was not allowed to perish. Three years later, 1857, Türck, Professor of Pathology at Vienna, and Czermak, Professor of Physiology at Pesth, simultaneously published papers in which they related their experiments an showed that it was possible to see the larynx by means of artificial light. Since then the use of the laryngoscope has brought into existence a 'branch of medical practice from which brilliant results have flowed.

Without wishing to introduce controversial matter, it may be remarked that the discoverer of auto-laryngoscopy was fifty years of age when his great discovery was announced to the world of science. Senor Garcia certainly deserves the gifts of kings, the laudatory addresses of universities, and the acclaim of the laryngologists of the twentieth century." It must also be a source of intense satisfaction to admirers of genius the world over to know that the honors conferred on him were given to the living man, centenarian though he be. Posthumous honors carved upon a man's tomb can only interest posterity. A gift such as Manuel Garcia gave to medicine is rare indeed.

J. J. C. '

[ocr errors]



A LETTER appears in our Correspondence column, in this issue, which is, to say the least of it, interesting. It is from the Publication Committee of the First Church of Christ Scientist, and is dated “ Boston, Feb. 25th, 1903," and is signed by one of the publishing staff of the Christian Science “firm,” one “ Alfred Farlow,” evidently one of the tools of Mary Baker Eddy.

We were much surprised on the reception of this friendly word.”

It is ludicrous for Christian Scientists, who aim at eradicating medical science, root and branch, to appeal to us so pathetically for sympathy just because writers will persist in smuggling attacks on Christian Science into pamphlets and periodicals.

We quite agree with Mr. Farlow that it is.“only fair and just that all incorrect allusions” to Christian Science, or to any thing else, should be suppressed, if possible, but we do not see how that could be accomplished without a censorship of the press, which, we fear, would not be acceptable in this year of grace.


[ocr errors]

Mr. Farlow's “kind” suggestion that Christian Scientists “would gladly assist publishers in determining the accuracy of matter relating to Christian Science,” is certainly very “kind,” but we trust he will not be offended because we decline, with thanks, his proffered assistance.

Mr. Farlow knows perfectly well that it is a war to the knife between us and Christian Scientists, and must deem us simpletons to suppose that we would allow them to meddle with our arms.

We deem' ourselves quite competent to judge for ourselves in the matter, and, even if we doubted our capability, we would decline to call in the aid of those whose brains are so befuddled as to aecept the following as revealed Truth (with a big T):

1. “ All human knowledge must be gained by the five corporeal senses." Yet,

: 2. “The evidence of the senses is never to be accepted”

2 (S. & H., 384).

3. Without reversing them, “ Their evidence is to be reversed” (S. & H., 60).

4. “How can man be dependent on such material senses for knowing, seeing, or hearing ?" (S. & H., 485).

5. “All error grows out of the evidence before the senses (S. & H., 535).

6. “ The senses are unnatural, impossible and unreal” (S. & H., 543).

7. Yet,“ Sight hearing--all the senses of man-are eternal. They cannot be lost” (S. & H., 482).

Mr. Farlow desires us to extend the same “ courtesy to Christian Scientists that is accorded to other denominations."

We would be sorry to wound the feelings of any of the estimable people who have been deluded by Mrs. Eddy, but we do not hesitate to say that we entertain for Mrs. Eddy, and her whole system, unbounded contempt.

Mrs. Eddy has dubbed her six hundred pages “ Science," and declares that there can be no other science.

“ There can be no physical science. · Christian Science eschews what is called natural science” (S. & H., 21).

What her science is may be judged from the following speci

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


« PreviousContinue »