Omaha daily bee. (Omaha [Neb.]) 187?-1922, March 12, 1916, NEWS SECTION, Image 14

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    Tee Omaha Sunday Bee Magazine Paqe
ALL 71
How Science
By William Brady, M. D.
IT is with a feeling of sadness that we witness the
encroachment of the new upon the old we old
timers. It makes us realize In a Terr intimate
war how nearly senile we are getting to be.
' Borne of us strife' earnestly to keep up with the
times; we go in for all the fads and fashions of the
day; we Tenture to trip the tango or the turkey in
the whirl of youth ; we wear gay, "classy" clothes and
cultlrate the company of the younger set and all and ,
all hut in dWers ways and la spite of all dlssem
blaneea the grim conviction Is forced home to Us
' that we are not keeping pace with the march. . '
Almost dally we make some little slip that be
trays us. If in bo other respect, then in gossiping
about our health. One's health is always a proper
topic of conversation; It Is more available than the
weather itself because after all it is hard to say any.
thing original about the state of the weather. But
even the ills of flesh are changing with the process of
the suns. ,
If you want to be up to the minute you may have
neuritis, myositis, cynovitls, bursitis or arthritis, but
you must not have "rheumatism" any more.
"Rheumatism" is now nothing but a vulgar almanac
complaint the kind of trouble Uncle Ebeneser thinks
he has when he motors to town, after prolonged re
search, to buy a one-dollar bottle of earsaparilly, to
purify his blood, for seventy-nine cents at the dry.
goods store. "Rheumatism" is a blanket title tor those
aches, pains and lamenesses which accumulate over
.Winter and cry out for relief at plowing time la the
Spring. It is what alls you when you have to be your
own. diagnostician. , !'!,'.'." . '
.The beauty of "rheumatism" Js its impenetrable
atmosphere of mystery. Nobody knows what he la
talking about when be talks about "rheumatism"-
Great Importance of the Discovery That a GERM Causes this PAINFUL DISEASE
nobody but the almanac publisher and the proprietary
medicine manufacturer, and neither of these fellow
will ever telL Since no one knows what It is it be
comes obvious that no victim of the complaint can be
quite sure, until he tries a few bottles, that any old
remedy offered won't help him a bit.
Wherefore It follows as comfortably as you could
wish that any person having a Job lot of drugs, foods
or appliances he can't dispose of legitimately, will find
a ready market by advertising the goods in the medi
cal and lay press as a good thing for rheumatic con
ditions. And since we are all so eager to rush Into
print there will be no lack of warm testimonials to
keep the business going. Under the Influence of a
pleasantly medicated bracer one will say or do almost
anything to accommodate a friend.
Nevertheless rheumatism, as a near-diagnosis, an
almanac complaint, a fulcrum for the promulgation of
nostrums, is passing. Masquerades are no longer fash
ionable in medicine. The "rheumatlz" Is not long for
this world.' Even now it exhibits signs of approach
' Ing dissolution, it is suffering from exposure and feeble
circulation, and if our prognosis is not utterly at fault
rheumatism will be as obsolete in another generation
as the scrofula of our forefathers is to-day the title,
we mean and as uncommon as smallpox the con
ditions confused under the title, we now mean. True,
current medical literature still summons rheumatism
to fill a vast void occasionally; and so it does a "cold"
whatever that may mean. For doctors, like ordinasr
folk, are fond of phrases.
- A century ago rheumatism covered a great many
niore mistakes than it does at present. To our be
. nfghted forefathers pneumonia, pleurisy, bronchitis,
tonsllltls and even common coryza were all "the
The word rheumatism is derived from a Greek root
meaning -"catarrh, a flow." It is scarcely fifty years
since tuberculosis of Joints was differentiated from
t rheumatism, and within . our generation some half
dozen other specific diseases have been spilt off from
the group called rheumatism. Such refinements of .
diagnosis as neuritis, myositis, bursitis, synovitis and
arthritis representing intelligent efforts to determine
what Is really the matter with the patient are still so
new that comparatively few lay readers have any Idea
what they mean. Of late years, Indeed, the old hen
rheumatism has covered with its motherly wings only
a dwindling, nondescript brood of orphaned Jolftt..
troubles which failed to find a home anywhere else.
Over In England, where one would think they ought
to know rheumatism if anybody knows it, unromantlc
. . i
iirlilriHnrli m-ll ll'llnl'VI 'II If l.r ''r- n .rtg" I i.nnii , .r TT-r
Hands and Uw.r LimKs of a Sufferer from Acute Rheumatoid Arthritis. It Was from
Joint Affected as ThU Man' Are That Profesnor Rosenow Took the Genoa Which,
, When Injected Into the Veina of Dogs and Rabbita, Produced Similar Joint Trouble.
These Experiments Helped Establish the Fact That Rheumatism la Caused by a Germ
ml Nitt Kw UfV.t Y,i F ik. fl:--. : urv-.i v
' 3 " .. - - " -- -..uaaiw iu nnicn ion
practitioners forty years ago began
to wonder It the weather, bad as It
was, could be the sole cause of
such a protean disease.. One tim
orous scientist even expressed a
theory that microbes had some
thing to do with it much to the
amusement of .his compeers.
, Alfred Mantle; consulting physi
cian to the Royal Halifax Infirm
ary, wrote a thesis entitled "Rheu
matism Considered from the Bac
terial Point of View", away back In
1877, before bacteriology had cut
Its milk teeth. Mantle's Idea was
"severely frowned upon by the emi
nent examiners of the university
as the wild dream of an inexpe
rienced young upetartr-because in
those days every fool knew that
rheumatism,' pneumonia, consump
tion and the like Were mere, conse
quences of exposure to the obdu
rate weather which prevailed in
THE great majority, of snakes '
found in this country are
entirely harmless, being
without venom or fangs. .
Yet almost everybody, when un
expectedly brought into close prox
imity to any kind of a snake, large
or small, venomous or non-venomous,
or even to anything resembling -t
a snake, Is suddenly seized with a
panto of tear and the Impulse to
flee as it the very eight ot it were
The fear of snakes is really a
deep-seated animal Instinct which
has survived long after the condi
tions that gave it origin. Its per
sistence, 'science sow believes, is
evidence that . the human . race
originated in India or some other
part of tropical Asia where all sorts
ef venomous serpents have always
been abundant.
. Man's Instinctive horror ot ser
pents probably originated during
the countlesa generations when he
.was slowly climbing up from his
animal ancestry. Being without
fire and without clothing or shel
ter, 'ha was peculiarly defenseless
against the deadly serpents which
constituted the greatest danger and
the greatest menace to the survival
of the race that he had to en
' counter.
! The !idea that India; was the
cradle in which the white race c
quired tha dread of serpents that
persists to the present day has a
number of things to support it One
is the fact that India has always
been Infested by venomous snakes.
Notwithstanding the efforts of the
British authorities to suppress the
evil over 20,000 persons died last
year as a result of the attacks of
serpents. In prehistoric times con
ditions In this respect were prob
ably much worse.
Our serpent fear is very similar
to a form of fear displayed by
horses. Everybody who has ever
had anything to do with horses
knows what an Insane and uncon
trollable fright they exhibit at sight
ot some unfamiliar wayside object.
Why do horses behave In this
wayT Because the sight of such
an object represents, to them, Just
as the sight of a snake does to men
a danger which at some tar distant
time was tha great peril that
threatened their development as a
This danger took the form ot
lions, tigers and other ferocious
beasts ot prey that lay concealed
In the Jungles waiting for a favor
able opportunity to spring upon
passing horses and devour them.
The horse had no means ot de
fense against this danger except
' alertness In eluding the- spring of
his enemy and fleetness of foot In
escaping pursuit. 'The Individual
horses that developed these pro
tective qualities most highly sur
vived, while , those that failed to
reach the necessary standard ot
efficiency fell victims to their
We now see, thousands of years
after the domestication of the
horse, that he suddenly falls into
a senseless panic and flees at
' break-neck's speed from an Jmag
. inary danger behind. So terror
stricken does he often become over
' tha imagined danger behind that he
becomes heedless of real dangers .
ahead and rushes on to a broken
There seems to be little doubt
that the instinctive fear of Imag
inary dangers in the horse, and the
same kind of fear ot serpents in
manhad a similar origin In the
early experiences of both.
i . .
those parts.
. Tft'at painful and serious condition called acute In
flammatory, or acute articular rheumatism, or rheuma
tic fever, or acute multiple arthritis, has been looked
upon- as probably of infectious origin for the past de
cade. But so-called chronic rheumatism, Including all
the Joint troubles not identified specifically, has re
mained a matter of guest-work and controversy within
the medical profession and a veritable hodgepodge of
the imagination without the profession. Chronic rheu
matism, In short, has been and still is in too many In
stances a fair target for all the conventional and un
conventional modes of treatment human Ingenuity has
been able to devise. And in the rare Instances when
recovery has followed any particular brand of treat
ment no one has been able to furnish a satisfactory
explanation as to how the recovery has been brought
The one best bet and the worst Is the fake nos
trum maker's battle cry, that the treatment "drives out
the uric acid," an explanation which would be eminent
ly satisfactory but for the fact that scientific tests
prove that neither an Increase nor a diminution of the
amount of uric acid in the body occurs with Joint dis
ease or with recovery therefrom. " .."
f inca Alfred Mantle's time scores of, original In,
vestigators have added their testimony to tha "bug"
theory ot rheumatism. British. French, German and
America clinicians and bacteriologists have centring
uted, point after point, a scientific working knowledge
of the nature of rheumatism, building up a sound hypo
thesis upon Mantle's idea. Within the past two years
this constructive-hypothesis has attained -maturity.
Certain epochal discoveries by American bacteriolog
ists and physicians have supplied the answer for the
age old riddle: What Is rheumatism? Thanks to
Mantle's childish dreams, and the work; of those who
followed in his footsteps, medical art to-day is restor
ing despairing invalids to health, curing the Incur
able chronic rheumatism.
On April 11, 1914, the rheumatism-weather tradi
tion definitely expired. On that day a thousand-word
preliminary note entitled "Etiology of Arthrtlii DeJ
formans," by E. C. Rosenow. M. D.. a Chicago bacteri
ologist, appeared in the Journal of the American MedW
cal Association, In which Rosenow described re
searches which establish the specificity ,of at least
one species of bacteria, the Streptococcus vlridans. In
the causation of the kind of rheumatism doctors call
arthritis deformans or rheumatoid arthritis.
This particular germ Rosenow found In tha lymph
nodes in the region of affected Joints in a large num
ber of cases, and by injecting cultures ot It into tha
veins of dogs and rabbits he was able to produce
specific Joint lesions, which, he observes, "would
parallel the condition found In the patient from whom1
the strain (of germs) was Isolated." . . I
This specificity noted by Rosenow ia tha Strepto
coccus vlridans is of the utmost importance. The lm'
presslon has long prevailed that most of these cases
of Joint trouble were of bacterial origin, rather than
the result of dletetio or climatic conditions, bat phy
sicians have been either timid or indifferent about
putting the theory to tha test In actual practice. (
That ta, If a possible port of entry or septic focus for
the propagation of the suspected germs has been
recognized In a given case,, such for Instance as a
chronic pyorrhoea (Rlggs disease of tha gums), or a
chronic pelvic inflammatory focus, no very radical
effort to remove or clean up the focus has been made,
because the physician has lacked confidence In tha
efficacy of radical measures, or, perhaps, the patient
has preferred to ignore the seemingly unimportant
focus in his anxiety to have the rheumatism relieved.
Rosenow's work, then, convinces the physician be
yond peradventure of the need for Just such radical
procedures In the treatment of chronio Joint disease.
It furnishes the clearest scientific proof that certain
bacteria have a particular affinity for certain tissues,
like the synovial lining of a Joint or the fascia near a
Joint or the muscles over a Joint And this affinity, as
Rosenow shows, is quite constant for a given strata
of germs.
(To be concluded next Sunday.) ". ;
this Is not a ten-pin
or a water bottle or a
dumbell or an' old
Egyptian vase or any of the
'i things it looks like. It is an
egg laid a few days ago by a
full-blooded (Plymouth Rock
wb.6 enjoys the distinction of
being one of the greatest, egg-,
producers In the State of
Ohio.'1 '-', v'l .! r
As the photograph ' shows,
this egg Is certainly the queer
est that ever came from a. hen.
It Is nearly as large and
weigh as much as three ordi
nary hen's eggs and the shell .
Is unusually thick and firm.
This Is the first freak egg
this particular hen has laid.
She has, however, . always
been remarkable for the num. ,
ber and size ot her egg. .
i -.te;.v
TT I l.' L. L' 1 j
the Other Day by '
, aa Ohio Han.
IT is a curious fact that savages
are never near-sighted. Their
sight is clearer and more dls
, tlnct than that of the strongest eye
of any civilized man. To under
stand why this must be so It is
necessary td first make plain Just
what near-sightedness is.
Near-sightedness is due to un
due length ot the eye, which causes,
the parallel rays of light to unite
not on the retina, but In front
of it
Now, while nature has achieved
the seemingly impossible in fash
ioning the eye, which consists of
crystalline, clear living tissue, H ia
not Inert, In spite ot the wonder
ful clarity of the substances that
compose it ,
It it were an inert mass, then It
would be able to focus only per
fectly parallel rays of light, that
Is to ssy, rays striking It after
travelling a long distance, and this
would . mean only distant objects
could be visualized. Consequently
the muscles of the eye must make
an effort in order to visualize near
by objects.
In the normal eye, this effort,
unless unduly prolonged, is part of
the day's work, and has no bad
after effects. But if near-sighted
persons continue to make this ef
fort, forcing the muscles ot the eye
to perform an uncalled far amount
of work, instead of correcting the .
defect by wearing concave glasses,
which will focus the light right
upon the retina, instead of in front
ot it, they will ruin their eyes
past redemption.
. The eyes of a child of ten can
gather in rays ot light coming from
very close range rays which are
as near-by as six and seven-tenths
inches. But after the tenth year
this power rapidly declinea,
. The decline of this power is
undoubtedly due In part to the
work required ot the child in
school. After the tenth year the
human being in civilized countries
Thia Photograph Sttewa How the Stalks
. Ler Curve Towards light Coming
from the Direction lnU
cated by the Arrow.
Tkis Photef rapb Skowa Haw Ceranium'e Stalk
Bekaea When Split Up to the Apec and
Ecpoeed to Light Coming from the
tiw Indicated by the Arrow.
IN the whole realm ot science nothing is
more wonderful or of greater importance
to mankind than the behavior of plants
under the influence ot light. ' .
In growing plants carbon dioxide and
water are transformed Into starch and su
gar. This transformation can take place
only through the action ot light upon the
substance, known as chlorophyll, but ex
actly how it Is effected we do not know.
Ot the light that tails upon a green leaf
a part ia reflected from Its surface, a part is
.transmitted, and another part is absorbed.
That which Is reflected and transmitted
gives to the leaf its green color; that which
Is absorbed, consisting of red, blue and vio
let rays, is the source of the energy by
means ot which the leaf la enabled to carry
on its work.
Wa have only to look at any of the plants
around us to see how successfully they con
trive to arrange their leaves to obtain the
maximum advantage from the light that
falls upon them. A plant organ responds
to the directive influence ot light by a cur:
vatura which places it either in a direct
line with the rays of light, as in grass seed
lings, or at right angles to the light as In
ordinary foliage leaves.
When the leaf stalk or blade reaches the
position of msxlmum advantage, the move- .
ment toward the light ceases and it then
remains fixed, save for some alight rotating
motions, until either the direction, of the
light changes or its intensity Is decreased.
We do not yet know by what means the
plant is able to adjust tts position to the
rays of light, nor Just how it perceives that
it ia or is not in tha most advantageous
Recent experiments seem to prove that
the perception ot light i3 located not In the
blade ot the leaf, but In the stalk. When $
stalks are exposed to the light and the
blades kept in the dark, the stalks all curve
distinctly toward the light But when the
blades are exposed and the stalks kept in
the derk, the latter show no definite curva
ture toward the light
Other experiments show that it is the
upper part of the stalk which perceives the
light and which has the power ot lriduclng
a motor response in the lower half.
Not only is the stalk capable of perceiv
ing light, but it can distinguish between
the different kinds ot light Although the
plant absorbs rays of light both at the red
end and at the blue end of the spectrum It
responds mainly to those at the blue end.
Copyright. m, by tha Star Company.
r , :im- ,. .j.,... : ,i ;- - : ; ;;;, , ,.
Is forced to spend .a. great part ot
the time in poring over books
either to read or write.
The child is admonished not to
allow his attention to stray, but to
apply himself diligently . to the
work in hand, when he should be
taught Instead, that, while reading
or writing, he must glance up every
few seconds and look at a distant
object as a tree to be seen through'
the window, or the chimney of a '
far-off house. In keeping his eyes
riveted on the book right in front'
of him, the child is doing the worst
possible harm to bis eyes, for such
continual application to a near-by -object
changes the form of the eye,
and produces that elongation which
results in near-sightedness.
The reason why the savage is -never
near-sighted is that he Uvea
an outdoor lite, knows nothing of.
books and pictures. What manual
labor he performs is performed in
the open air, and the manifold dan
gers which surround him, the
beasts 'of the Jungle or hostile
tribes, make constant vigilance and
an alert scanning ot the horizon
' There is no better remedy for
keeping tha eyesight in good trim
than to look up every few seconds
from one's - work, focussing the
eyes on a distant object. A mo
ment devoted every now and then
to this corrective exercise will be
of the greatest benefit to the eyes.
So Important is this care of the
eyes considered that in many large '
manufacturing establishments
where close, confining work Is done,
theh foremen ere expected to see to
- It that employes lift their eyes from
their machines for a second or two
every now and then.
. If such a practice were followed
in our schools there would be far
fewer near-sighted persons. ,
la This Case Only the Upper Portion of the
Plant's Stalk la Exposed to the Light, and
Yet the Unexposed Part Curvea
Under the Light's Influence : in
the Curioua Manner Shown
in the Photograph.
On the Left, Three Leaves Placed Upside Down
with Their Stnlka Vertical. On the Right,
the Same Stalks aa They Appear Whoa
Exposed to Light Coming from
the Direction Indicated by
the Arrow.
Orsat Britain Righta Raeti
New Use for Hopvines.
ANE of the latest results of the efforts of Germany's sclenti&tl to aid
" the Fatherland Is the discovery that hopvines make an excellent ma
. terlal for paper, Jute and charcoal.
Paper Made from Grass.
A SPECIES of wire grass which is common on the Pacific Coast has been
" found to have just the degree of toughness which makes It an excel-
lent substitute for wood pulp In the manufacture of paper. '
Why Tires Get Hot.
IT is a mistake to think that automobile tires are hot after a long, fast
run because of their friction on the road. The heat in really due to
friction inside the tires themselves, due to the fact that the various layers
of which they are composed do not act uniformly as the tires are deflected
by the road.
Winding Watches by Electricity. i
a New York watch repairing establishment, where more than ssven.
'hundred matches have to be wouni every day, an electrical apparatus
has been '.ustalled to do the winding. It does the work more efficiently
than human hands can, and takes the place of several men formerly r
juired for tMs work.