Introduction.—For half a century there has been a steady growth in the use of electricity as a medical agent. At this date many institutions are organized for the purpose of applying electrical treatment to various diseases and medical-healing is taught in nearly all the medical colleges.

Application.—At first electricity was thought to be useful for only that class of diseases due to the nerves and it was generally applied by means of the galvanic battery, which was made in various forms for home use. But the treatment has grown to embrace a variety of diseases.

Dyspepsia.—Electricity is found to be an excellent treatment for dyspepsia on account of the relief it affords to both the physical and mental conditions that accompany the disease. It gives tone to the appetite, cures sleeplessness, removes distress after eating, strengthening the powers of digestion and drives away despondency and gloom.

Fits, Epilepsy, Falling Sickness.—These diseases being nervous in character yield satisfactorily to the electric treatment. Any nervous disease is more readily reached by electricity than by other remedies and some remarkable cures have been placed to its credit.

Anemia.—This means want of blood and the patient becomes pale and weak. The disease is a general condition, and as a cure electricity is found efficacious. It stimulates the same as oxygen, produces more red corpuscles in the blood, imparts increased vital energy to the blood currents and does away with languidness and depression.

Consumption.—When this disease is traceable to catarrhal inflammations, faulty secretions and impaired nutrition, electricity is found beneficial as a purifier of the blood, a quickener of circulation and a preventive of the tuberculous deposits in the lungs. It is even claimed that by its stimulating effects on nutritive functions it builds up that part of the system which has gone to decay.

Catarrh.—Those skilled in electric-healing claim that electricity is almost a specific for the cure of this disease and they have placed many cures to its credit. The grip and hay-fever, being catarrhal in their nature, are also treated effectively by electricity.

Nervous Debility.—This is produced by a constant drain upon the nervous forces and fluids of the system. Its symptoms are loss of memory, dimness of sight, constipation, gloominess, impoverished blood, and so forth. The modern electro-therapeutic treatment is applied with great success in this distressing disease and many permanent cures are claimed.

Neuralgia.—This painful nervous disease, yields to but few treatments, but it is claimed that the electric treatment can be relied on in all cases, acute or chronic, to give almost instant relief and effect a cure.

Sciatica.—This is only another form of neuralgia and is also amenable to treatment by electricity.

Rheumatism.—In modern electro-therapeutics it is found that rheumatism yields readily to the electric treatment, the claim being that the disease is due to a storing of waste material in the body which can only be removed through the circulation, a process which electricity effects when skillfully applied.

Diabetes.—In this terrible and baffling disease the electrical treatment has been found efficacious, not only arresting the disease but producing cures. The claim is that it stimulates the system and so fortifies nature that the disease is finally overcome.

Kidney Diseases.—In diseases of the urinary tract producing weakness of the organs, extreme nervousness, milky or cloudy urine, pain in the back, frequent, scanty or painful urination, the electric treatment is found to have a powerful tonic effect on the organs, enabling them to reassert their functions and in the end eradicate disease.

Paralysis or Palsy.—This disease, due to an overworked or debilitated nervous system, is amenable to the electric treatment, and it has been found that such treatment is about the most effective that can be used.

Conclusions.—It will be seen that while many of the diseases curable by electricity are outside of the strictly nervous class, yet all are more or less associated with that class, so that after all, the merits of the electric treatment may be said to rest largely on its stimulus to and power over the nervous system.

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An astounding electrical revelation came during the last years of the nineteenth century through the discovery of the X, or unknown, or Roentgen, rays. In 1894, Hertz showed that the cathode rays of the Geissler tubes would penetrate thin sheets of metal placed within the tubes. Subsequently Paul Lenard showed that the cathodic ray could be investigated as well outside of the tube as within it, and secured some photographic effects. Professor Roentgen took up the subject, and, in 1896, fairly set the scientific world aflame with the announcement that the cathodic, or X, ray would not only penetrate solid substances, but deposit solid substances within or behind those other substances. He invented a photographic instrument to take advantage of his discovery, and by means of it, electricity was turned to the account of photography, pictures being possible of the interior of the human body, and of any foreign substance therein.

The discovery and application of the X-ray has proved of immense value to medicine and surgery. By its means the physician is enabled to carry on far-reaching diagnoses, and to ascertain with certainty the whole internal structure of the human body. Fractures, dislocations, deformities and diseases of the bones may be located, and their character and treatment decided upon. In dentistry the teeth may be photographed by means of the X-ray, even before they come to the surface, and broken fangs and hidden fillings may be located. Foreign objects in the body, as bullets, needles, calculi in the bladder, etc., may be located, and the surgery for their safe removal greatly simplified. The beating of the heart, movement of the ribs in respiration, and outline of the liver and other organs may be exhibited to the eye. It has even been suggested that the X-ray may become an agency for destroying the bacilli which produces disease in the human body. Verily the X-ray opens the field for the grandest of electrical possibilities.

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