DEFECTS AND DISEASES; THEIR PREVENTION AND CURE
The following pages are compiled to diffuse information upon subjects of the deepest medical and philanthropic interest. The facts here given throw light upon subjects of great maternal anxiety. To prevent disease is the highest development of the medical art. To prevent malformations and physical defects in the coming generation is an achievement that should arrest the attention of the civilized world. “To do good and to communicate forget not.”
To further the study of this important topic I would adopt the words of Dr. Burnett : “Feeling that the experience of one individual in this branch of Preventive Medicine can count for but very little, I should be glad to receive from my readers any information bearing on the subject, either as regards man or the lower animals.” 1881.
Preventive medicine is a bold step. It is beyond a century since Jenner’s attention was called to the fact that vaccination with cowpox would prevent an attack of smallpox, and about the same time Hahnemann evolved the new idea that Belladonna would prevent scarlet fever, as then prevailing. He believed that the remedy that would cure a disease would also prevent the same disease. This fact opened up a wide field for experimentation.
The next most important fact in the line of preventive medicine is given by Grauvogl (1865) in his Text-book of Homoeopathy, where medicines were administered to correct antenatal physiological defects.
PREVENTING HYDROCEPHALIC CHILDREN.
He writes as follows :
A young married pair had, two years previously, lost a child from hydrocephalus acutus; the second, then eight months old, was committed to my charge, when the disease had already reached the convulsive stage; it died after a few days.
It devolved now upon me, as the family physician, to solve the problem of protecting the next child from this disease, and thus to remove the conditions under which, both times, the development of the fatal disease had been possible, a problem which everybody knows the physiological school is not able to solve.
Both parents were perfectly healthy, and never sick. Both had blonde hair, thin skin, and blue eyes. The husband spare; the wife of a full habit. *Blondes should not intermarry, both lack bile and red blood that gives health and vigor–T. C. D. Hence no positive point of support could be gained from either. The wife, however, had nursed both of the children, but without possessing sufficient nourishment for them, as I learned on inquiry, for she was obliged to give them milk, and sugar-water besides and both children were taken sick when they began to cut their teeth.
In hydrocephalus the nutrition of the bones is always deficient, and hence, during the period of dentition, this nutrition must be carried on at the expense of other tissues. But the conditions of this deficient nutrition of the osseous system must have been given long before the period of dentition.
I hence stated to the wife that she must not nurse the next child, and that she must, during her next pregnancy, take Sulphur 6th one day, and Calcarea phosphorica 6th the next, so that she could not lose a third child by this disease.
Sulphur I wished to exhibit as a nutritive remedy favoring the formation of tissue, while Calcarea phosphorica was to favor that of the bones.
Five weeks later the woman informed me that she was again pregnant, and asked me for those remedies.
She was delivered at term, and this child, now five years old, remained healthy, as well as a second, now three years old, which was carried the regular term under this prophylactic treatment.
These are not solitary cases, for I have pursued this method for six years in all families in which there has been a hydrocephalic child, and with the same good result.
But where I have taken charge, in other families, of children who had already suffered from hydrocephalus none have died during the last seven years, in which time I have given such children, every morning and evening, a powder of the second trit. of Calcarea phosphorica; and only such children as I first see in the last stage receive, morning and evening, a few drops of Argentum nitricum 6, and every two hours the powder of Calcarea phosphorica, and with the best results. At the same time, I have repeatedly convinced myself that, in such cases, one of these remedies alone affords no such relief.
Dr. G. E. Shipman, Superintendent of the Chicago Foundlings’ Home, reports that he had proved the value of Grauvogl’s prophylactic treatment in several instances. I have also followed this plan with gratifying success in many cases, some so striking that the parents were satisfied that it was the medicines given that ensured the happy results. My plan has been not to give these medicines on alternate days, but to allow one or more days to intervene, and then control the diet of the mother along the lines indicated for acid or alkaline subjects.