Among the many marvelous advances of modern medicine is the interesting one which treats disease by the use of organs or glands taken from the animal economy. This applies to a restricted class of diseases, but we find that with the increase of our knowledge of disease the class amenable to treatment with animal extracts also increases.

Origin of the Subject.—The subject is yet in an unsettled and undeveloped condition, yet in some instances the results have been most certain and positive. Much as is known upon the subject of the anatomy and physiology of our bodies, there are certain organs, such as the spleen, the functions or uses of which were long a matter of controversy.

Illustration.—An illustration will make the matter clearer. Situated at the upper part of the trachea or windpipe is a gland weighing about two ounces. It will be more readily comprehended when it is mentioned that it is a disease of this gland that constitutes a goitre. The purpose and use of this gland (called the thyroid gland) was for a long time not understood.

History.—King, of London, at the close of last century, held some advanced ideas on the thyroid gland, but it was not until well on to our own day that much was definitely known. Experiments were first made upon animals, dogs being selected. It was found that when the gland was removed from the animal certain definite symptoms developed. As these did not exist before it was fair to suppose that their presence was a result of the loss of the gland. Schiff, in 1859, found that if in a dog from which the gland had been removed a healthy gland from another dog was transplanted in the abdominal cavity, the usual symptoms failed to appear.

Gland Treatment.—It was not until 1883 that Kocher and Reverdin showed that the same phenomena occurred in man under like conditions. Investigations had in the meantime shown that disease of the gland produced symptoms similar to those appearing on its removal. It therefore followed that we had a means of treating a large number of obscure diseases depending more or less upon disease of the thyroid gland. This method of treatment is to administer to a patient the thyroid gland of an animal, the sheep usually being selected.

We shall now take up the more important animal extracts.

Bone-Marrow.—The use of bone marrow is based on the supposition that the red blood corpuscles are produced mainly in the red bone-marrow. In cases where the blood or its corpuscular elements have been deficient great benefit has followed the use of red bone-marrow. All forms of anemia are thus benefited. The method of preparing the bone-marrow is to comminute the anterior extremities of calves' ribs and expose the cancellous tissue. The fragments are then placed in a jar and covered with glycerine. It is so kept for three or four days. The liquid is then strained. A teaspoonful three times a day is the usual dose.

Brain and Nerve Extract.—A number of investigators have treated various nervous diseases with extracts made from the brain cortex. A glycerine extract made from the brain and spinal cord of the sheep is usually employed.

Ovarian Extract.—In disturbances following removal of the ovaries or uterus, or in the nervous states following or attending the menopause, ovarian tissue administered has given great relief. The ovarian tissue may be administered in two forms. Heifer's ovaries are reduced to powder by a process of drying. The powder is then made up into pills. Another method of administration is in the form of the glycerine extract.

Pituitary Extract.—There is a small body in the brain known as the pituitary body. A disease accordingly shows after death abnormal conditions of this gland. Exhibition of some form of pituitary body during the course of the disease is followed by happy results.

Splenic Extract.—Preparations from the spleen have been used with advantage in certain blood disorders notably in that form where the white corpuscles are increased. After removal of the thyroid gland symptoms develop which may be checked by the use of splenic extract.

Suprarenal Extract.—Placed on the top of each kidney is a small body known as the suprarenal capsule. Experience has abundantly proven that the disease known as Addison's disease can be checked by the use of a preparation made from these small bodies. Just what their exact function is cannot at present be stated.

Testicular Extract.—It is a well-known fact that after removal of the testicles, the manly characteristics, if it be done quite early, fail to properly develop. In these cases, and as well in those cases where the operation is done later, it is found that the use of testicular extract increases the mental and physical vigor.

Thyroid Extract.—In an article of this kind it would not be proper to more than mention the list of maladies that have been benefited by the use of preparations of the thyroid gland. Among these may be mentioned arrested mental development, goitre, cretanism, obesity, lupus, psoriasis and disorders of lactation. Many forms of insanity improve with its use. Syphilis is sometimes benefited to a slight degree. While in many cases there are unfavorable circumstances and symptoms which prevent the best results, the fact that so many cases are benefited warrants their further investigation and trial.

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Last Modified: Monday, 13-May-2013 15:31:47 EDT