Reviews and Notices of Books

1891 The Lancet  
258 transfusion he had Aveling's, substituting Dr. Robert M'Donnell's cannula for the ordinary one supplied. At each contraction of the ball he assumed that about half an ounce was iniected. INFIRMARY MEDICAL SUPERINTENDENTS' SOCIETY. THE usual monthly meeting of this Society was held on ' , Saturday, the 24th inst., at Camberwell Infirmary. Mr. Herbert Chabot exhibited two cases of Joint Disease in I Children much improved by treatment. Also a well-marked case of Duchenne's Paralysis in a boy
more » ... leven years of age, and another of Jacksonian Epilepsy. A specimen of Aneurysm of the first part of the Arch of the Aorta extending backwards into the posterior mediastinum and rupturing into the pericardium was also shown. The members had an opportunity of inspecting the new block of infirmary buildings erected on the circular system, and the remainder of the afternoon was occupied in discussing matters relating to the improvement of infirmary administration. IT is felt by some that in physiology, as in anatomy, the facts ascertained are too numerous for any student to retain in his memory, and that it is more important that he should obtain a good general view of the subject, a knowledge of principles rather than of details. It is, however, extremely difficult in physiology to single out those facts that are the most important, and still more to discard theory. What one teacher thinks important another passes lightly over. In most physiological treatises the coagulation of the blood is considered at great length. Here it is briefly treated, and we could imagine a student reading through the section devoted to it without noticing that the exudation of serum is a very remarkable feature of the process. The work commences with a description of the cell and the phenomena of karyokinesis. Examples are given, with short descriptions of the life-history of unicellular organisms and of the lower fungi, vorticella, and hydra. An instructive comparison is drawn between the forms that belong to the organic and the inorganic worlds respectively, and we give a quotation from this to show that Professor Mills writes in an attractive manner: "A modern watch that keeps correct time must be regarded as a wonderful object; a marvellous triumph of human skill. That it has aroused the awe of savages and been mistaken for a living being is not surprising....... Now, however well constructed the watch may be, there are waste, wear, and tear, which will manifest themselves more and more, until finally the machine becomes worthless for the purpose of its construction. If this mechanism possessed the power of adapting from without foreign matter so as to construct it into steel and brass, and arrange this just where required, it would imitate a living organism; but this it cannot do, nor is its waste chemically different from its component metals; it does not break up bras and steel into something wholly different. In one particular it does closely resemble living things in that it gradually deteriorates, but the degradation of a living cell is the consequence of an actual change in its component parts, commonly a fatty degeneration. The one is a real transformation, the other mere wear. Had the watch the power to give rise to a new one like itself by any process, especially a process of division of itself into two parts, we should have a parallel with living forms; but the watch cannot even renew its own parts, much less give rise to a mechanism like itself. Here, then, is a manifest distinction between living and inanimate things. Suppose, further, that the watch was so constructed that after the lapse of a certain time it underwent a change in the inner machinery and perhaps its outer form, so as to be scarcely recognisable as the same, and that as a result, instead of indicating the hours and minutes of a time reckoning adapted to the inhabitants of our globe, it indicated time in a wholly different way ; that after a series of such trans. formations it fell to pieces, took the original form of the metals from which it was constructed, we should then have in this succession of events a parallel with the development, decline, and death of living organisms." Professor Mills carries out the parallelism to a greater length, but we have quoted enough to show that his power of illustration is considerable and his writing attractive. The last section is that on the brain, which is well given, and is illustrated by many and very good engravings. Even
doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(02)18546-1 fatcat:yz2gvx4okvahvd7k4ygp554bqu