A CASE REPORT AND COPIES OF SOME PROVINGS.
The object of this paper is to preserve Lecithin in our homoeopathic literature. In the past it has been extremely difficult to find any mention of Lecithin as a remedy.
In 1939, a man called me to his home. He was very worried and apprehensive about his health. He was somewhat forgetful too. Previous to the 1929 depression he had been wealthy, but when the crash came to his estate shrank to one-tenth of its former value. He had a long wearisome fight to save any of it. A few years before he had a severe fright. An airplane in which he was a passenger ran into a storm, went into a tail-spin, and fell 1500 feet or more before the pilot straightened it out. I mention these psychic shocks because we shall find them mentioned in the make-up of Lecithin.
He was low spirited, at times irritable. He could not keep his mind on what he was doing. There was mental confusion, and slowness of action, but he was adept at covering up his mental deficiencies. He might even address a friend as someone else. He was tired and exhausted. There was dull pain in the occiput. He was nervous, and unable to do any mental or physical work. There had been a gradual onset of these symptoms.
He could count his pulse in his ear when lying down. There was ringing in one year. There was a mild sensation of pressure in both zygomata. There was a dry mouth, with a heavy white coating on his tongue. He had a bloated feeling after eating, and belched tasteless gas. He dreamed much, and would cry out in sleep from fright. He was chilly from the least exposure, and sometimes when there was no exposure. He gave a history of painful feet over a long time, but no pathology could be demonstrated.
He bought shoes quite often, only to throw them away in a few weeks because they did not help his feet. He thought his finer joints were a little sore at times, but was not certain of it. A roentgenograph showed a cavity in the body of the fourth lumbar vertebra, extending into the adjoining cartilages. A famous clinic made a diagnosis of osteomyelitis of the fourth lumbar vertebra, and sent him home with orders to stay in bed for three months, and then return to the clinic, when perhaps they could do something for his surgically. At this point, I case in on the case.
I prescribed Tuberculin 10M. In three months the cavity was filled with bone, and the cartilages were bridged over with osseous material. The backache continued. The patient was not well, but surgical work was no longer contemplated. Repertory analysis was repeatedly carried out, and always Phosphorus or Phosphoric acid seemed indicated. These selections seemed reasonable, but neither remedy did any good. The fourth lumbar remained healed, but the back ached, and felt weak. Finger and foot joints were still slightly lame.
The scalp became slightly sensitive to the touch. There was lack of energy, and an increase of tired feeling, forgetfulness, and mental confusion. He would get lost on streets that had been familiar to him for years. Hearing became more difficult. Apprehension increased. Lecithin was then prescribed for him for no other reason than that it was a compound of Phosphorus. No proving was available then, although I searched for it. Lecithin was used in 1M., 500, 200, and 30th potencies; also in 6x., 3x., and 2x. The 2x. proved to be too low.
Then followed a marked improvement. In two or three months, because of a desire to rule out brain tumor, he was returned to the clinic for an electrocephalograph reading. This was in May 1942. Then by means of X-ray of the cranium, a diagnosis of Pagets disease of the bone was made.
It was not clear that the osteomyelitis of the fourth lumbar vertebra was not the usual infectious osteomyelitis. Pagets disease has the phenomenon that while a part of the lesion in the bone is breaking down without pus formation, in some other portion of the lesion healing is advancing. The roentgenogram showed much thickening of the bones of the cranium. The outside measurements of the cranium had increased during the preceding year. he could not wear a hat worn in former years. The clinician said that they had no treatment for the condition, and that the patient should continue with his present treatment.
Now here was a problem! Lecithin had proved extremely valuable for this patient, but no proving was available. Only a short, inadequate synopsis was found in the 9th edition of Boerickes Materia Medica. Finally Dr.Royal E.S. Hayes found the Proving for me in the Medical Advance of 1908.The proving had been made by Dr. J.C. Fahnestock, of Piqua, Ohio. What a wonderful memorial for any doctor to have; something that will be of benefit to humanity long after marble and granite have crumbled to dust.
I am submitting a copy of Dr. Fahnestocks proving of Lecithin for publication in the Homoeopathic Recorder, so that it may more easily be found.
It is valuable remedy in selected cases. The mental picture is essential. Notice how closely the proving of the remedy fits the symptoms of the case.
LECITHIN: A PROVING
From the Medical Advance, vol. 36, 1908; by J.C. Fahnestock, M.D., Piqua, Ohio.
The lecithins are ethereal compounds which result from the union of choline with glycerin-phosphoric acid, in which the two glycerin hydrexl groups have been replaced by fatty acid radicals.
On decomposing the lecithins with acids or alkalis we accordingly obtain glycerin-phosphoric acid, fatty alkalis, and choline. At the same time, however, another basic substance, neurin, is usually found; and it is to be noted that in contradistinction to choline, neurin possesses extremely toxic properties. It results from choline through the loss of two atoms of hydrogen and one of oxygen, and is also formed during bacterial decomposition of the lecithins in the presence of much oxygen. The lecithin which is most commonly found in the animal body is the choline compound of distearyl-glycerine-phosphoric acid.
In its dry state, common lecithin occurs as a wax-like plastic mass, which is soluble in alcohol (at 40 to 50 C.) ether (less readily), chloroform, benzol, carbon disulphide, and in fatty oils; while in water, it is insoluble. Placed in water it swells and becomes pasty, and on microscopical examination it will be noted that the substance occurs in the form of peculiar droplets and threads, which are generally termed its myelin forms. From its alcoholic solution it crystallizes in wart-like masses, which consist of small platelets.
Of special interest is the tendency of the lecithin to combine with the albumins to form more or less stable compounds, which have been termed lecithalbumins. Such compounds have been found in the mucosa of the stomach, in the lungs, the liver and the spleen.
In the yolk of eggs it occurs with vitellin, but is here apparently not closely bound. A certain similarity thus exists between the lecithins and the nucleins: both combine with the albumins to form more complex substances; both contain phosphorus in their molecules. The lecithins occur widely distributed in both the animal and vegetable world. According to Hoppe-Seyler, they are found in all cells and bodily fluids. They are especially abundant in nerve tissue and in the eggs and semen of most animals.
W. Koch has recently pointed out that the probable import in the life cell of the lecithins, for which he proposes the collective term “lecithins,” and summarizes his conclusions as follows: 1. In association with albumins, in colloids solutions they furnish the basis for the establishment of the necessary viscosity by the ease with which they (the lecithins) are influenced by the ions (Na, Ca). They are concerned in the metabolism of the cell, and in consequence of the presence of the unsaturated fatty acids, they take part in the oxygen metabolism and by means of their methyl groups, are united to nitrogen in still other unknown reactions.
From Lecithins.-A Textbook of Physical Chemistry, by Charles E. Simon, M.D. Lea Brothers & Co., 1904, pp.78-80.