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108 6 1962
DIETETIC AND HYGIENIC GAZETTE
The ultimate aim of the study of medi- the theory of any new cult of universal cine is the prevention of disease; the bring- health, the greater, apparently, is the foling about of such perfection in the manner lowing. The inanities of a mountebank who, of living that but one mode of death—the denies the existence of pain, or the realities gradual decay of old age-shall be probable. of disease, are enthusiastically applauded by
It is obvious that we can make no at- her disciples, many of whom have forfeited tempt at prevention of disease unless we their physical welfare by appeasing with know the cause. In the last century an too liberal a hand the cravings of their too empiric flourished whose beautifully simple material digestive apparatus. Said a recent theory was based on his belief that all dis- lecturer upon this fallacy: "Whatever may eases were caused by buttercups. Every be the evidence given by the corporeal man, woman or child ate mutton, beef or senses, we deny its reality.” Here the correbutter, or drank milk. Cattle and sheep, sponding hygienic rule is the renouncing with their grass, ate buttercups-conse- of the corporeal senses, for they tell us quently buttercups were the cause of all falsehoods. If decayed teeth trouble you diseases. Here the one important hygienic deny that they are decayed, protest against principle was the utter destruction of this the evidence of your reason, and you may direful meadow-blossom.
laugh at the dentist. Many of the theories of medicine of to- The ancient custom of wearing amulets day are as preposterous, or as idiotic, and to ward off disease has not yet entirely disare built upon total error, stupidity or mere appeared from even the most civilized comfractions of truths.
munities. And the shriveled potato, to preThe preservation of health and the at- vent rheumatism, may be found in the mys6 tainment of old age are of such eminent terious depths of many a pocket.
importance to mankind that, though per- In this respect the world has made but haps ignorantly or heedlessly disobeying little progress since the age of the knightly the simplest rules of hygiene, many inquir- Ponce de Leon, who explored the wilderers are spending their lives in the eager ness of Florida in search of the fountain search of the alchemical agent. And the which was to restore to him his youthful heavens, the earth, the Bible, the shadowless ardor. Or the Flagellants, who in former spirit-land, even the caldrons of the votar- centuries hoped to propitiate the Divine Beies of the Black Prince, are explored and ing and ward off Black Death, by scourging probed for the unattainable Elixir Vitae. to the blood one another's bared shoulders.
The more ridiculous or incomprehensible In all this rummaging for panaceas by
the world at large the very essentials of our off by the kidneys. But imperfect oxidation well-being are generally overlooked or ne- converts it into products closely allied to glected—the air that we breathe, the food fecal excretions, with which the unrenewed that is to sustain us, and the drink with air will become charged. In the midst of which we slake our thirst. In the improper a close ill-ventilated atmosphere of this kind use of one or all of these lies in almost it is physiologically impossible for human every instance the root of our afflictions. beings to grow up in a sound state of body And it is a sad reflection upon our vaunted
Individuals sometimes accommocivilization that the lower the station of a date themselves to a most unwholesome atrace the less common is disease. Joseph L. mosphere, but they will usually become vicStickney, regarding the Basutos in Africa, tims of the first passing epidemic, to which writes: "They are a thriving people of great their death will be ascribed. physical strength and courage; they are not The large majority of our dwellings are yet broken by tlie' vices and diseases that too poorly ventilated. The absolute necessity often accomparty the approach of civiliza- of a constant change of air, if a perfect contion." Want compels these simple people to dition of health is desired, is but seldom use that which is nearest at hand; the fresh considered of sufficient importance. The air of the veldt and forest, the pure water of unwholesome emanations of the soil are not the mountain rill and unadulterated animal excluded. With few exceptions the bedand vegetable food. Still lower, among the rooms are too small and their occupants too beasts in the wild state, the ravages of dis- many. They should be the largest, sunniest ease-producing germs are sought for in vain. and most pleasant rooms in the house. They They do not contract typhoid, cholera or should contain plants, which exhale oxygen malaria for the reason that the micro organ
and absorb carbonic acid. But the fragrance isms of these afflictions do not find in their of flowers in sleeping apartments is not tissues the media favorable to their growth. healthful. The periodical cleansing of For a similar reason the observance by suic- dwellings, by preventing the deposition of cessive generations of mankind of proper pathogenic materials, is an important factor hygienic principles will not only overcome in maintaining the purity of the air. the inherited morbid proclivities of their Breathlessness, lassitude, drowsiness, forebears, but it will modify the character muscular inertia, anemia and neurasthenia and virulence of pathogenic bacteria or their are common results of the inhalation of air products, and will endow the body with a that is contaminated, or is deficient in oxynatural immunity against their evil influ- gen. Individuals thus surrounded may beence; for it is necessary to infection that come uncomfortably obese. The hydrothe tissues shall be, in some degree, disor- carbons, not being consumed by a suffidered.
ciency of oxygen, are deposited as fat. The bodily vigor is greatly augmented by There is a tendency to neuralgia; aortic and the habitual respiration of pure air. An pulmonary murmurs are common. All of atmosphere that is charged with the ex- which lead eventually to confirmed invalhalations of the lungs and skin is a most idism. potent predisposing cause of disease. The One of the fertile sources of infantile disoxidizing processes which effect the de
eases is a poverty of wholesome air. Towstruction and the elimination of effete mat- ard the end of the last century, in the Dubters from the system, and the activity of lin Foundling Hospital, during a space of cell-growth, will be greatly weakened by twenty-one years, out of 10,272 children even a small quantity of carbonic acid gas. sent to the infirmary only 45 recovered, as Waste material, completely oxidized, will be a result of deficient ventilation of the wards. carried off in the form of water and car- Life spent in a pure air and deep expanbonic acid; the nitrogenous parts passing sion of the lungs in an atmosphere charged with health-giving ogygen will effect the plate," says Addison very truly. It cannot perfect aration of the blood, and will ren- be denied that more sickness can be atder the system tolerant to the various dis- tributed to the pleasures of the table than ease germs which are inhaled with every to any other cause. inspiration; and it will impart to the indi- If the potency of the digestive secretions vidual the delightful sensations of energy were not weakened many patho-organisms and vigor.
that find their way into our drinking water In a greater measure, perhaps, the good would be innoxious. The human body has and bad states of the body depend on the become peculiarly susceptible to microbic food; but it is not always easy, with a bal- invasions, and water, looked upon with susance in hand, to determine that which is picion as the habitat of many invisible eneproper for each individual. Some persons mies of man, is imbibed less freely than the fatten on a quantity of food on which others system requires. Were it not for the conwould starve. The regimen proper for a tinual flow of this clear product of nature man at leisure may be very unfit or insuffi- through the tissues our very existence would cient for him that swings the sledge. The be impossible. This constantly moving appetite would inform every person when water amounts to two-thirds of our body he has eaten enough were it not for the sea- weight, and every motion, every organic sonings which excite to excess. As Nature activity, every thought, requires nutritive has distributed a large variety of nutritive elements which this common carrier of the substances a regimen conducive to health organism always holds in readiness for the need not be uniform, but we should confine use and repair of every part. At the same ourselves to a few dishes at a time. Des- time that it deposits constituent elements it serts may be very tempting to the palate and washes from the tissues, as quickly as they they are not necessarily unwholesome, but are formed, the effete products and removes as they are generally taken when hunger is them through the kidneys, the skin, the bowsatisfied they do not tend to promote good els and the lungs and prevents their converhealth or long life. Vinegar, mustard, sion into toxins of disease. The rapid pickles and other condiments, though neces- removal of waste matter augments assimisary in many inactive conditions of the lation. Thus the liberal use of water acts stomach and bowels, in health stimulate the as a tonic, improves the appetite and indesire for more food than the body requires. creases the body-weight.
Take simple foods, in quantities sufficient Water is the supreme drink of health. to satisfy hunger, is a dietetic rule of the Four pints at least should be daily confirst importance; and to it may be added sumed, as otherwise the effete materials canthat no meal should be taken until the pre- not be removed with proper rapidity, and a vious one has been digested. Two or three coated tongue, foul breath, costiveness, tenarepasts a day, according to the necessities cious secretions, fetid perspiration and a of the individual, are generally sufficient. dense complexion are the results. The proper mastication of food and the It is an excellent diuretic and a diaphothorough intermixture of saliva are very retic of no mean potency. A tumbler full necessary. The rapid feeding at lunch coun- at bed time, by aiding the rapid excretion ters is in many cases the prime cause of poor of waste matter, will prevent that languid, health, needless worry, vexation and event- weak feeling of which many well-fed peoual breakdown in business men.
ple complain when they arise in the morn"When I see the fashionable tables cov- ing. A pint of water in the morning will ered with all the riches of the four parts of tone up the digestive organs and stimulate the world I think I see gout, dropsy, fevers, the actions of the bowels; and when too lethargy and the greater parts of the other libera! a diet has been indulged in the free diseases hidden in ambush under each consumption of water will prevent manifest