Irratibility of Muscular Fibre
BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)
reviewer has often, in his various publications, kindly called my attention to the experiments and reasoning of Dr. J. Reid on "Muscular Contractility", as published in the Edinburgh Monthly Medical Journal in 1841, and recently reprinted in that distinguished author's Physiological Researches. He has, in particular, done me the same service no less than twice in the last number but one (No. vi) of the British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review. At page 449 of that work, he observes: "
... we thus fully recognize the correctness of the facts adduced by Dr. M. Hall, and admit the value of this new means of Diagnosis (which, however, even on his own admission, is by no means constantly to be relied on), we must still express our dissent from his theoretical interpretation of these phenomena, namely, that the irritability of the muscles is derived from, or directly dependent upon, the spinal cord. Nothing can, to our minds, be more convincing than the proof afforded by Dr. J. Reid's experiments, that the muscular irritability is the proper endowment of the tissue itself, depending (like other vital properties) upon its state of nutrition, which, in its turn, is regulated, ceteris paribus, by the degree in which t$e muscle is exercised. Dr. Reid has shown that the irritability of muscles may be maintained for any length of time after the complete division of the nerves, if they be duly exercised; and he has further shown, that it may be recovered, under the same circumstances, after it has been entirely exhausted. How, then, is it possible that this property can be derived from the spinal cord? Dr. Hall has never, so far as we are aware, attempted to explain these results, but persists in his old theory, as if they had never been presented. It is not difficult to explain all the facts adduced by him, in accordance with the doctrine which we-advo-