Bibliographical Notices A Treatise on Food and Dietetics . By F. W. Pavy, M.D., F.R.S. Philadelphia: Henry C. Lea. 1874
Boston Medical and Surgical Journal
1874. In the volume before us, the author has brought together and presented in a very readable form a larger amount of information in regard to food than has appeared in any similar work. The first part of the book íb devoted to remarks on the dynamic relations and the origination of food. Although the statements and explanations in this portion of the book are, as a rule, in accordance with the teachings of the most advanced science, yet it seems that on certain points the author's ideas are
... author's ideas are not characterized by that clearness and precision which arc so important in treating questions of this sort. We find, for instance, " force " defined as " the power of producing energy," and from the context it is evident that the author regards "force'"and "potential energy" as synonyms, though tho terms, as used by modern physicists, have very different significations. Again, in considering the force-producing value of various alimentary principles, the author seems to regard oxidation as the only source of force. Thus, he describes the nitrogenous constituents of the food as being " broken up-1st, into a nitrogenous portion-urea-which is eliminated as useless, and, 2d, a liydrocarbonaccous residue which represents capacity for force-production." The force which must be set free by the conversion of complicated albuminoid substances into the comparatively simple urea is here entirely disregarded. The position which the author early took in opposition to Bernard's theory of the glycogenic function of the liver, has apparently led him to ignore a great deal of the work by which, in recent years, our knowledge of this function has been so much increased. Ho still asserts " that there is no appreciably recognizable destruction of sugar anywhere effected within tho circulatory system," and, unwilling to admit that glycogen can be normally changed into sugar, speculates upon the possibility'of its being changed into fat. With this exception, the description of the digestion, assimilation and Íi hysi ol ogi cal uses of the alimentary principles is excellent, and deserves ligher praise than is bestowed by saying that it is the best in the English language. Tho discussion of the relation of nitrogenous food to muscular exorcise is admirable, and includes an excellent criticism of Flint's observations on Weston, the pedestrian. The brief account of the alcohol question is also extremely clear and well written, and the conclusions arrived at are all that arc justified by the present condition of our knowledge. This portion of the work would, however, have been rendered moro valuable by an account of recent Gorman investigations in this department of physiology, particularly those conducted under Voit's directions in the laboratory at Munich. The catalogue of alimentary substances or articles of food is very complete and valuable, the description of the various sorts of alcoholic beverages deserving especial praise. Some remarks on the different methods of preserving food find their place appropriately in this connection.