ELECTRICITY AS A THERAPEUTIC AGENT— WHAT CAN BE DONE TO DETERMINE ITS VALUE?
Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease
THERE are few subjects toward which the mind of the medical practitioner is more in need of proper ad¬ justment than that of the use of electricity as a therapeutic agent. It is now more than a century since a professor of anatomy in the University of Bologna an¬ nounced to the profession-that is daily puzzling its brains over the various ills that flesh is heir to-that he had discov¬ ered, in the association of dissimilar metals with the legs of decapitated frogs, a force was generated capable
... of acting as a substitute for nerve impulse in causing muscular contrac¬ tion. ' Electro-physiological inquiry received a new impulse from this discovery of the effects of a continuous or gal¬ vanic current on living tissue, and from that time on there has been an unceasing activity displayed by many of the best minds in the profession in adding to our knowledge of the power of electricity in modifying and controlling the vital processes going on in animal structure, until medical and scientific literature is burdened with the rich fruits of their researches. Many of the discoveries in electro-physiology suggest valuable additions to our therapeutics, and while there have not been wanting examples of able men in the profes¬ sion like Remak, Duchenne, Von Ziemmssen, Erb and De Watteville, who have used their best energies to gain for electro-therapeutics the recognition which its importance deserves, its power as a curative agent is as yet but imper¬ fectly understood by the vast majority of physicians. The reason for this is readily explained. The work of the phys¬ iologist, though indispensable as antecedent to rational 0 Read before the American Medical Association, June 5th to 8th, 1891.