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THE ultimate aim of the study of medicine is the prevention of disease; the bringing about of such perfection in the manner of living that but one mode of death-the gradual decay of old age-shall be probable.

It is obvious that we can make no attempt at prevention of disease unless we know the cause. In the last century an empiric flourished whose beautifully simple theory was based on his belief that all diseases were caused by buttercups. Every man, woman or child ate mutton, beef or butter, or drank milk. Cattle and sheep, with their grass, ate buttercups-consequently buttercups were the cause of all diseases. Here the one important hygienic principle was the utter destruction of this direful meadow-blossom.

Many of the theories of medicine of today are as preposterous, or as idiotic, and are built upon total error, stupidity or mere fractions of truths.


No. I.

the theory of any new cult of universal health, the greater, apparently, is the following. The inanities of a mountebank who, denies the existence of pain, or the realities of disease, are enthusiastically applauded by her disciples, many of whom have forfeited their physical welfare by appeasing with too liberal a hand the cravings of their too material digestive apparatus. Said a recent lecturer upon this fallacy: "Whatever may be the evidence given by the corporeal senses, we deny its reality." Here the corresponding hygienic rule is the renouncing of the corporeal senses, for they tell us falsehoods. If decayed teeth trouble you deny that they are decayed, protest against the evidence of your reason, and you may laugh at the dentist.

The preservation of health and the attainment of old age are of such eminent importance to mankind that, though perhaps ignorantly or heedlessly disobeying the simplest rules of hygiene, many inquirers are spending their lives in the eager search of the alchemical agent. And the heavens, the earth, the Bible, the shadowless spirit-land, even the caldrons of the votaries of the Black Prince, are explored and probed for the unattainable Elixir Vitae.

The more ridiculous or incomprehensible

The ancient custom of wearing amulets to ward off disease has not yet entirely disappeared from even the most civilized communities. And the shriveled potato, to prevent rheumatism, may be found in the mysterious depths of many a pocket.

In this respect the world has made but little progress since the age of the knightly Ponce de Leon, who explored the wilderness of Florida in search of the fountain which was to restore to him his youthful ardor. Or the Flagellants, who in former centuries hoped to propitiate the Divine Being and ward off Black Death, by scourging to the blood one another's bared shoulders.

In all this rummaging for panaceas by

the world at large the very essentials of our well-being are generally overlooked or neglected the air that we breathe, the food that is to sustain us, and the drink with which we slake our thirst. In the improper use of one or all of these lies in almost every instance the root of our afflictions. And it is a sad reflection upon our vaunted civilization that the lower the station of a race the less common is disease. Joseph L. Stickney, regarding the Basutos in Africa, writes: "They are a thriving people of great physical strength and courage; they are not yet broken by the vices and diseases that too often accompany the approach of civilization." Want compels these simple people to use that which is nearest at hand; the fresh air of the veldt and forest, the pure water of the mountain rill and unadulterated animal and vegetable food. Still lower, among the beasts in the wild state, the ravages of disease-producing germs are sought for in vain. They do not contract typhoid, cholera or malaria for the reason that the micro organisms of these afflictions do not find in their tissues the media favorable to their growth. For a similar reason the observance by successive generations of mankind of proper hygienic principles will not only overcome the inherited morbid proclivities of their forebears, but it will modify the character and virulence of pathogenic bacteria or their products, and will endow the body with a natural immunity against their evil influence; for it is necessary to infection that the tissues shall be, in some degree, disordered.

The bodily vigor is greatly augmented by the habitual respiration of pure air. An atmosphere that is charged with the exhalations of the lungs and skin is a most potent predisposing cause of disease. The oxidizing processes which effect the destruction and the elimination of effete matters from the system, and the activity of cell-growth, will be greatly weakened by even a small quantity of carbonic acid gas. Waste material, completely oxidized, will be carried off in the form of water and carbonic acid; the nitrogenous parts passing

off by the kidneys. But imperfect oxidation converts it into products closely allied to fecal excretions, with which the unrenewed air will become charged. In the midst of a close ill-ventilated atmosphere of this kind it is physiologically impossible for human beings to grow up in a sound state of body or mind. Individuals sometimes accommodate themselves to a most unwholesome atmosphere, but they will usually become victims of the first passing epidemic, to which their death will be ascribed.

The large majority of our dwellings are poorly ventilated. The absolute necessity of a constant change of air, if a perfect condition of health is desired, is but seldom considered of sufficient importance. The unwholesome emanations of the soil are not excluded. With few exceptions the bedrooms are too small and their occupants too many. They should be the largest, sunniest and most pleasant rooms in the house. They should contain plants, which exhale oxygen and absorb carbonic acid. But the fragrance of flowers in sleeping apartments is not healthful. The periodical cleansing of dwellings, by preventing the deposition of pathogenic materials, is an important factor in maintaining the purity of the air.

Breathlessness, lassitude, drowsiness, muscular inertia, anemia and neurasthenia are common results of the inhalation of air that is contaminated, or is deficient in oxygen. Individuals thus surrounded may become uncomfortably obese. The hydrocarbons, not being consumed by a sufficiency of oxygen, are deposited as fat. There is a tendency to neuralgia; aortic and pulmonary murmurs are common. All of which lead eventually to confirmed invalidism.

One of the fertile sources of infantile diseases is a poverty of wholesome air. Toward the end of the last century, in the Dublin Foundling Hospital, during a space of twenty-one years, out of 10,272 children sent to the infirmary only 45 recovered, as a result of deficient ventilation of the wards. Life spent in a pure air and deep expansion of the lungs in an atmosphere charged

with health-giving ogygen will effect the perfect æration of the blood, and will render the system tolerant to the various disease germs which are inhaled with every inspiration; and it will impart to the individual the delightful sensations of energy and vigor.

In a greater measure, perhaps, the good and bad states of the body depend on the food; but it is not always easy, with a balance in hand, to determine that which is proper for each individual. Some persons fatten on a quantity of food on which others would starve. The regimen proper for a man at leisure may be very unfit or insufficient for him that swings the sledge. The appetite would inform every person when he has eaten enough were it not for the seasonings which excite to excess. As Nature has distributed a large variety of nutritive substances a regimen conducive to health need not be uniform, but we should confine ourselves to a few dishes at a time. Desserts may be very tempting to the palate and they are not necessarily unwholesome, but as they are generally taken when hunger is satisfied they do not tend to promote good health or long life. Vinegar, mustard, pickles and other condiments, though necessary in many inactive conditions of the stomach and bowels, in health stimulate the desire for more food than the body requires.

Take simple foods, in quantities sufficient to satisfy hunger, is a dietetic rule of the first importance; and to it may be added that no meal should be taken until the previous one has been digested. Two or three repasts a day, according to the necessities of the individual, are generally sufficient. The proper mastication of food and the thorough intermixture of saliva are very necessary. The rapid feeding at lunch counters is in many cases the prime cause of poor health, needless worry, vexation and eventual breakdown in business men.

"When I see the fashionable tables covered with all the riches of the four parts of the world I think I see gout, dropsy, fevers, lethargy and the greater parts of the other diseases hidden in ambush under each

plate," says Addison very truly. It cannot be denied that more sickness can be attributed to the pleasures of the table than to any other cause.

If the potency of the digestive secretions. were not weakened many patho-organisms that find their way into our drinking water would be innoxious. The human body has become peculiarly susceptible to microbic invasions, and water, looked upon with suspicion as the habitat of many invisible enemies of man, is imbibed less freely than the system requires. Were it not for the continual flow of this clear product of nature through the tissues our very existence would be impossible. This constantly moving water amounts to two-thirds of our body weight, and every motion, every organic activity, every thought, requires nutritive elements which this common carrier of the organism always holds in readiness for the use and repair of every part. At the same time that it deposits constituent elements it washes from the tissues, as quickly as they are formed, the effete products and removes them through the kidneys, the skin, the bowels and the lungs and prevents their conversion into toxins of disease. The rapid removal of waste matter augments assimilation. Thus the liberal use of water acts as a tonic, improves the appetite and increases the body-weight.

Water is the supreme drink of health. Four pints at least should be daily consumed, as otherwise the effete materials cannot be removed with proper rapidity, and a coated tongue, foul breath, costiveness, tenacious secretions, fetid perspiration and a dense complexion are the results.

It is an excellent diuretic and a diaphoretic of no mean potency. A tumbler full at bed time, by aiding the rapid excretion of waste matter, will prevent that languid, weak feeling of which many well-fed people complain when they arise in the morning. A pint of water in the morning will tone up the digestive organs and stimulate the actions of the bowels; and when too libera! a diet has been indulged in the free consumption of water will prevent manifest

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