A Discovery of the Means of Determining the Comparative Length or Duration of Human Life, and Other Important Physiological Facts
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
Mr. Cox, of Edinburgh, " suggests," says Mr. Combe (System of Phrenology), "that the size of the convolutions lying at the base of the brain may be estimated by their projection below a plane passing through the superciliary ridges and the occipital spine, and by observing the distance at which the opening of the ear, the mastoid process and other points of the base of the. skull lie below that plane." With reference to this subject, Mr. Combe says " that individuals in whom the opening of the
... the opening of the ear stands nearly on' a level with the eye, are in general little prone to violence of temper." This appears to be the sum and substance of the inference that has hitherto been drawn from the application of this plane; and it matters nothing whether it be true or false, so far as regards the law which I am about to deduce from it. As a question of fact, however, I will state that Mr. Combe's conclusion has not been sustained by my observations. He does not teach that those whose ear stands " nearly on a level with the eye, are " uniformly, but only " in general little prone to violence of temper." I do not admit a law or rule to have exceptions, and I will contend for none in the result which I have discovered the application of this plane to reveal. In the spring of 1835, a case occurred in the Charity Hospital of New Orleans, which caused me to suspect that the function of the cerebellum was not exclusively the amatory propensity, and hence my attention was, in an especial manner, directed to its further investigation. In less than a year I discovered that the functions of sensation and motion also depended upon it. Indeed, I refer to it all of the animo-vital functions, except the respiratory.-For further information on this subject, see Eclectic Practice, ]st Book, by Powell and Newton. Henceforward I treated of the functions of the cerebellum under the cognomen of the animal forces. During the same time, or nearly so, I became convinced that the anterior inferior portions of the middle lobes of the cerebrum The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal as published by The New England Journal of Medicine. Downloaded from nejm.org at MONASH UNIVERSITY LIBRARY on July 2, 2016. For personal use only. No other uses without permission. From the NEJM Archive.