1847 The Lancet  
1847. pp. 219. DR. CHILD'S treatise on indigestion is well written, minute, and clear, with regard to what is already known; evincing a good acquaintance with the literature of the subject, and an acute observation of the ordinary phenomena of the disorder. But there is no mark of originality, and no attempt at grappling with any points except those which have already been discussed again and again by writers on dyspepsia. There is considerable care displayed in the arrangement of the different
more » ... points, and many minor topics are well and lucidly argued. As far as personal observation is concerned, Dr. Child gives, in various places, a reference to 200 cases; and apparently the observation of these cases forms the basis of the essay. There is one point we cannot avoid pointing out as injurious to the book as a piece of professional writing—namely, that the author "ventures to offer it" "to the public;" and we say this, fully convinced that the popular study of "indigestion, and certain bilious disorders often conjoined with it," would only tend to render the dear public dyspeptic, instead of curing the disorder. We dislike, too, the translation of many professional terms, as an indication of a popular aim which is prejudicial to medical literature. Thus, certain chapters are headed, cephalalgia, or headach;" "pyrosis, or water-brash," " rumination-a rising of food into the mouth," &c. With the hygienic portion of dyspepsia, the public may have some concern; but the hygienic and strictly medical divisions of the subject should be kept separate, or it becomes a fruitful source of self-tampering and of weakened faith on the part of the sick. Though we make these remarks, we give Dr. Child the full benefit of a quotation from his work, which displays a sound spirit on the subject of empiricism generally. He is speaking of those thousand aches and pains occurring in the nervous, and which imitate more serious disorders. " It may be observed that the term pseudo-disease, or mimosis, is far from unobjectionable as a name for the cases now being considered, because, although they accidentally resemble other and more serious disorders, they are not the less on that account real diseases in themselves, and often of a very distressing character. When their exact nature is mistaken by the medical attendant, it usually happens both that the remedies employed are more severe than what the case demands, and that the friends of the patient are made to suffer much needless alarm. The diseases here alluded to-the mimoses-are the mine which the quack works easily and with success. There is undoubtedly a strong propensity in the mind to magnify dangers incurred, and this observation applies to disease not less than to other things: hence, one person expatiates on the perils of a crisis in sickness happily passed through, with as much zest as another on the dangers of a voyage. With this tendency, the notions, or at all events the interests, of the quack chime in admirably; accordingly, with him and his patients there never are any imitations. The mimosis without danger passes for the formidable or generally fatal complaint which it resembles, -consequently wonderful cures abound. He can point to a hundred instances of disease against which the greatest physicians must admit they seldom can contend, wherein he triumphs nearly every day, and a host of grateful and rightminded patients are ready to back his assertions out and out. Who can feel surprised that quackery should prosper ? and where is the remedy for it to be found, except in seeking to elevate the attainments, both scientific and moral, of all permitted to practise in the professions"—p. 186. Medicines; their Uses and lWocles of Administration. By J. MOORE NELIGAN, M.D. Second edition. Dublin : Fannin and Co., 1847. pp. 485. DR. NELIGAN has already acquired a solid reputation as a writer on materia medica and therapeutics. This, the second edition of his work, has received a large addition of new and I important matter, many of the former articles having been entirely re-written, and a full account introduced of all the newest remedies. The work includes the preparations of the three British pharmacopoeias. In the arrangement, an alphabetical order is followed, both for the different classes of remedies, and for their various specimens, as antacids, anthelminties, antispasmodics, &c. The remarks on the therapeutic classes of remedial agents are brief and succinct, and the individual agents, and their various preparations, are treated with great fulness and perspicuity-a separate consideration being given to the botanical characters, preparation, physical properties, chemical properties, adulterations, therapeutic effects, dose and mode of administration, and incompatibles. Altogether, the work will be found useful both to the student and the practitioner; while it is indispensable to the library of the special cultivators of therapeutics. The following quotation is a very good specimen of the sagacity and practical character of the work:-' " Antacids are medicines which correct acidity of the stomach and digestive organs, by combining chemically with the free acid existing there, and neutralizing it. Their action is manifestly only temporary and palliative, as they do not cor. rect that peculiar state of the digestive organs which favours the formation of acid; their protracted use, indeed, produces a precisely similar disease of the alimentary canal; and few individuals can bear the continued use of free or carbonated alkalies, a state of general anoemia usually attended with oxalic acid deposits in the urine being caused by it. Antacids should therefore be prescribed in combination with vegetable tonics; and in no case should their administration be long persisted in without occasional interruptions. One or two circumstances, relating to the particular remedy of this class which ought to be employed, require to be noticed :-Where the acid exists in the stomach in the gaseous state, ammonia and its carbonate should be preferred, as, in consequence of their volatility, a gaseous acid, which would elude the action of the fixed alkalies, will be neutralized by them. If the acidity be present in the lower-bowels, as in the cæcum or colon, magnesia or lime ought to be administered, as being less likely than the other antacids to be neutralized or absorbed before they reach that portion of the intestinal canal. Where the acid exists in the urinary organs, the alkalies will be found best adapted, as they have a tendency to act more directly on the kidneys; and where it is lithic acid that predominates in the urine, the preparations of potash should be preferred to those of soda, as the salt formed by the combination of the former with the acid in question is much more soluble than that formed with the latter."-pp. 1, 2. This will be sufficient to show our high appreciation of the book. There is, however, one point which we consider a blemish; but which we have no doubt escaped the consideration of the author-namely, the introduction of formularies for quack medicines, and of medicines taking the names, whether truly or falsely, of medical persons. We conceive quack medicines should be banished from legitimate medical writings altogether, or never referred to, except for special condemnation,-certainly not for the sake of ascertaining and mentioning their constituents; and so much lying, knavery, and barefaced quackery, has grown out of the habit of affixing the names of medical persons to particular preparations, that we had rather see the point reformed altogether. In Dr. Neligan's otherwise exemplary work, we find reference made to a very heterogeneous mixture of quack and semi-
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)86607-7 fatcat:opurgdlzkzc5lk5tbqbc2kjdhq