FEATURES OF PITUITARY FUNCTION
Journal of the American Medical Association
milk industry is that it truly represents the application cf scientific investigation. Progress has been based for the most part on study rather than mere empiri¬ cism, and the possibilities of popular education in scien¬ tific matters have been exemplified in a degree that is both significant and encouraging. To quote a recent writer, success does not flourish under an attitude of antagonism growing out of compulsion, but under one of cooperation. The inspection agencies have thus been a
... e thus been a medium of instruction, and the experiment stations in their investigations have had the producer in mind quite as much as the consumer, in order that he might improve his business in producing a better quality of product. DAKIN'S DISCLAIMER OF NOVELTY IN THE "NEW ANTISEPTIC" Some time ago The Journal commented1 on the alleged discovery of a "new antiseptic," credited to Drs. Carrel and Dakin, which was at that time receiving attention in the medical as well as the lay press. This preparation is produced by the action of sodium carbonate on a solution of chlorinated lime; the resulting fluid, after being siphoned off from the precipitate of calcium carbonate and filtered, is neutralized with boric acid. It was stated that the solution thus produced is essentially the familiar solution of chlorinated soda (Labarraque's solution), the only novelty being the use of boric acid for neutralization. Chlorinated lime and Labarraque's solution are well-known disinfectants, and their use in surgery is not unknown, although both are alkaline and thus destructive of tissues except when applied in highly dilute solutions. In a recent article,2 Dr. Dakin notes that the so-called "new antiseptic" was discovered by Berthollet in 1788. Dakin shows by quotations from his original communication to the Académie des sciences that no claim of originality in the method was put forward at the time it was announced by him; the alleged dis¬ covery was a newspaper-manufactured sensation. The various counterclaims to priority in the use of this disinfectant are all a waste of ink and paper. "It would seem," says Dakin, "as if the time was fitting for a statement that what we have all been striving for is to find the best means of preparing, preserving and applying the powerful antiseptics, hypochlorites and hypochlorous acid, the main properties of which substances were discovered by distinguished French chemists many generations ago." In this connection Dakin refers to the methods of Lorrain Smith, who aims at a liberation of free hypochlorous acid by the addition to chlorinated lime of an equal weight of boric acid ; to that of Lumière, who uses three parts of boric acid to one of chlorinated lime, and to that the staff of the French hospital ship Charles Roux. The latter have used for surgical dressings a hypochlorite solution prepared by the elec¬ trolysis of sea water. Dakin says that, as compared with Lorrain Smith's and Lumière's preparations, his own mixture contains less free hypochlorous acid and a smaller concentration of available chlorin, and that it can therefore be more freely and continuously applied. Delbet and Quénu3 believe, by the way, that the virtue of sodium hypochlorite solutions as surgical dressings resides largely in the irritant actions on the tissues, and that consequently Dakin's solution is the less effective because of the absence of alkalinity which is its special characteristic. Dakin points out that the antiseptic action of hypo¬ chlorous acid is generally attributed (by others) to its decomposition in the presence of organic matter with the attendant liberation of oxygen. He believes, however, that the antiseptic action is due, not to the liberation of oxygen, but to the formation of chloroimido (> NCI) groups in the protein, and that these in turn may cause the antiseptic action. In either case, however, according to the modern electron conceptions, the reaction would be interpreted as one of oxidation. Dakin quotes from the Lancet* the statement that recent results "confirm the conclusions of various investigators that hypochlorous acid is the most power¬ ful antiseptic known." Such a statement, he remarks, unless qualified as to the conditions under which the antiseptic acts, is meaningless. It should be remem¬ bered that disinfection is a chemical reaction, and the reagent acts, not only on the bacteria, but also on the medium in which they are found. An antiseptic which shows high relative activity under one set of conditions may show a low one under other conditions. Hence, no just comparison of the relative power of antiseptics can be made except under comparable conditions. The one conclusion which all results appear to justify here is that hypochlorites, whether applied in an acid solu¬ tion, as by Lorrain Smith and Lumière, in an alkaline solution, as advocated by Delbet and Quénu, or in a neutral solution, as used by Carrel and Dakin, are of genuine value in the treatment of infected wounds. FEATURES OF PITUITARY FUNCTION Out of the bewildering mass of data derived in recent years from a diversity of sources in regard to the so-called ductless glands, some order is beginning to assert itself. One by one the functions of the "internal secretions" of what have lately been designated as the endocrine glands \p=m-\ the thyroids, parathyroids, suprarenals, pituitary, etc. \p=m-\ are being unraveled by experimental investigations or clinical observations, or, in favorable instances, by a happy combination of the two methods.