Reviews and Notices of Books

1920 The Lancet  
Press. 1920. Pp. 90. 7s.6d. THE old materia medica is passing away, with its study of barks and roots and seeds and the preparation of mysterious compounds by bored and unwilling students. In its place has arisen the newer study of the action of the drugs in man and animals with more or less successful attempts to explain the way in which they affect disease. In most schools this discipline precedes attendance in the wards or, at the latest, is taken in the beginning of the clinical work, when
more » ... he student is still unfamiliar with the aspect of disease and can hardly be expected to follow very closely the changes wrought by treatment. This position in the curriculum, necessitated by the close dependence of pharmacology on physiology, results in a certain want of reality in the treatment of the subject, and in order to remove this a number of books on practical pharmacology have been issued of late years, chiefly in the United States. In some of these the student seems to be expected to spend his time, which must apparently extend over months, in performing experiments on animals, which would be formidable operations for a trained physiologist, and in which one would suppose that the chief interest must lie in the preparatory operation rather than in the drug action which it is expected to illustrate. Professor Dixon's little book avoids this spectacular method and deals largely with such facts as can be demonstrated in simpler ways, with test-tubes and frog
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(01)16586-4 fatcat:zvvsjckgurczlmwylq7cbd3siy