An Essay on the Physiology of Mind. An interpretation Based on Biological, Morphological, Physical and Chemical Considerations

1922 Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)  
If this book is intended for the expert, it is far from meeting his needs; for much unnecessary elementary material is included, and there is little consideration of the most recent advances. One unfamiliar with the electrocardiograph will not be made to understand the principles of the instrument, how to run it, or how to interpret its results. At times the descriptions are full, at others incomplete, frequently bewildering. Most of the fragmentary discussions of physiology and pathology are
more » ... and pathology are out of place. The author should either assume that his reader knows these facts, or he should be more explicit and exact. Much use is made of statistics, one of the characteristics of the workers in the Mayo Clinic. These statistics might well be condensed; and a little less positiveness as to conclusions drawn from even large numbers would be the safer procedure. The author is not fortunate in his style; he is not clear. Sometimes the lack of clarity seems to be due to confused thinking. At times it depends on a clumsy use of English. The whole result is a book which, in spite of many excellent features and the evi¬ dence of faithful and conscientious work, does not satisfy. We surmise that the book is largely made up of a rearrange¬ ment of some of the author's published articles. To write a good article for the medical journal, giving the results of investigative work, and to write a textbook in which all knowledge on a given subject should be digested and pre¬ sented in a simple and logical manner, are tasks of widely different character. If the author, in writing the book, had had clearly in mind the exact purpose for which he was writing ; and if then he had rewritten the volume, many of · these regrettable errors would have been avoided. Le Sang in Vitro: \l=E'\osinophilie\p=m-\Fibrinogen\l=e'\se\p=m-\Phagocytose des H\l=e'\maties.Par Dr. \l=E'\mileLiebreich. Paper. Price, 10 francs net. Pp. 125. Paris: Masson et Cie, 1921. This consists of a series of morphologic and physicochemical studies, which the author has made in an attempt to show the close relationship which he believes exists between eosinophilia, on the one hand, and the process of coagulation of the blood (fibrogenesis), on the other. In this connection he has been called on to discuss the subjects of hemolysis and cytology in general, in order to explain his findings. A review of the methods adopted in this research and of the results obtained cannot be given here. Suffice it to say that Liebreich concludes that it is possible to produce, in vitro, a condition analogous to a "local eosinophilia" and to show that the substance constituting the eosinophil granulations is a crystalloid identical to that forming the so-called Charcot crystals. Further, he believes that it is by the immediate and complete crystallization of a substance, which he styles "substance a," that a cell becomes an eosinophil in the morphologic sense. The relationship of the production of eosinophilia to coagulation of the blood follows from the assumption by Liebreich that coagulation is due to the action of the substances abundantly secreted by the leukocytes after extravasation, among which substances he finds crystallizable one which is derived from fibrin and which he styles the "substance a" mentioned above. A study of this little book is recommended to those interested in the mechanism of the various processes discussed. Although the ideas which it presents may be somewhat novel, yet the work will prove interesting reading. shillings, net. Pp. 80. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1922. This useful little monograph discusses the significance of death rates in general, and the methods of mathematical treatment involved in the study of death rates, calculation of life tables, and the like. The nature of the discussion may be illustrated by two brief quotations: "The mean age at which deaths from measles occur in towns is considerably lower than that in the country. As nearly every one exposed to measles develops the disease, an adequate explanation is at once suggested. The phenomenon is due to the fact that epidemics occur at shorter intervals in the towns than in the country, and in consequence there is on the average a larger susceptible population at higher ages in the latter." The similar difference in age incidence in cancer, however, has another explanation. "To compare, for instance, the death rate from cancer in town and country, between the ages of 55 and 65, is to compare sections of the population which consist of different elements, as it has been rendered probable that the inhabitants of the country are at these ages biologi¬ cally about six to seven years younger than the inhabitants of the town." There are many illuminating remarks of this sort. In the first part of this essay are cited and described those reactions of the ameba and sponge which seem to show selection or choice. With the appearance of a nervous system, these reactions also are fixed, but become much more rapid \p=m-\transmissionis greatly improved. With the development of the synaptic nervous system, the transmission of stimuli becomes specialized and intensified. In the second part, the forms of stimuli to which protoplasm responds, and the automatic nature of responses, are discussed. This leads up to the author's theory of the ameboid movement of the dendrites\p=m-\theestablishing of connections between neurons.
doi:10.1001/jama.1922.02640740074033 fatcat:5t73ikoovbdlvio3nfymlznzwu