The heat-regulating, or thermogenetic, centre maintains normal body temperature at 98.4F. It is located in the hypothalamus. Afferent nerves in the skin and mucous membranes carry sensations of temperature to the cerebrum. The vasomotor, cardiac and respiratory centres, as well as the metabolic centres and sweat centres in the cord, all receive impressions of temperature from the external nerves.
We know that in hot weather, loss of bodily heat is effected by dilatation of cutaneous vessels, perspiration and accelerated respiration. Also, muscular activity is decreased with corresponding decrease in heat production.
On the other hand, in cold weather, there is diminished loss of bodily heat through contraction of cutaneous vessels, arrested perspiration, and slower respiration. There is increased muscular activity which increases metabolism and results in the production of heat.
We possess various medicinal agents, such as diaphoretics, sudorifics, anhidrotics, diuretics, purgatives, antipyretics, etc., which affect body temperature. There are also purely physical agents, such as electro- and hydro-therapy, which can be used to raise for lower body temperature.
We know that Sodium salicylate, Acetyl salicylic acid, Phenacetin, Amidopyrin, Acetanilide and Phenozone reduce febrile temperature by their depressant action on the thermogenetic centre.
The body temperature can be raised by stimulating the spinal sweat centres with such drugs as Strychnine, Camphor, Physostigmine, Acetyl-choline, Pilocarpine and Muscarine.
Quinine is said to act as an antipyretic by reducing metabolism, by its action on the heat-regulating centre, or by its toxic effect on the causal organism, as in malaria.
A possible connection between malaria and the thermogenetic centre, or heat-regulating mechanism, from probably a new viewpoint, is the subject of this paper.
A French-Canadian male, aged 47, height 6 ft. 2 in., weight 220 lbs., came to came to see me about an injury to his hand. I learned that he was a premature birth, had had none of the usual childhood ailments, served in World War I, and was vaccinated against smallpox, typhoid and cholera. He contracted malaria in the spring of 1918. He has had no operations of any kind, and is a fine physical specimen of manhood.
What interested me particularly was his discomfort in temperate climates and enclosed spaces. That is what brought him to Canada in 1925, and to the Yukon in 1931. Up till then he had suffered a recurrence of malaria every summer, with backache, dizziness and nasal haemorrhage.
He said he felt best when the outside temperature was low. At 40 degrees below zero, he is able to go out in the snow to chop wood, with moccasins and shorts his only clothing. He claims that at this temperature without adequate clothing he does not feel the cold He has apparently withstood temperatures of 70 and 80 below zero without any difficulty whatsoever.
He used to haul the mail between Dawson and Stewart City, and has fallen through the ice many times, and without stopping to change his wet clothes suffered no ill effect. During the winter he sleeps mostly in tents. He has had frostbite on the face and toes, which only resulted in the skin peeling, but otherwise he experienced no pain.
I have taken pains to verify his history and found that everything he said was true. I should add that I took the patients temperature repeatedly, over several days, and it was always about 97.6F.
I therefore considered that it might be of interest to the profession to bring this case to its notice.
Malaria produces a hyperpyrexia. How does it affect the thermogenetic centre, and what relation is there between malaria and the heat-regulating mechanism?.
Large-scale refrigerating laboratories were in existence before and during the late war (and may still be) for testing the effect of very low temperatures in aerodynamics and also the insulating properties of various items of clothing for pilots and for arctic wear.
I have already given some of the allopathic drugs which affect the thermogenetic centre. Homoeopathic medicine has over seventy remedies which combat the sensation of chilliness or coldness, and I will mention only a few of the more common remedies: Aconite, Antimonium tart., Arsenicum alb., Calcarea carb., Camphora, Capsicum, Carbo veg., Ferrum met., Gelsemium, Kali carb., Magnesia phos., Mercurius, Nux vomica, Pulsatilla, Silicea and Veratrum alb.
I do not know whether this case warrants any large-scale experimentation. It should, however, be interesting to learn whether people who have had malaria are better able to resist the cold than others. If this is found to be true, would a mild innoculation with malaria increase the well-being of ordinary people and troops who had to be in arctic or sub-arctic climates? Will experimentation with the drugs and remedies, outlined above, prove which are capable of increasing body temperature (or resistance to cold) safely and comfortably under arctic conditions?.
If the equipment exists, there are plenty of soldiers, ex- soldiers and civilians who have had malaria, and who could undergo tests.
The advantages from such an experiment would be two-fold.
First, from a military standpoint, it would be possible to have an army capable of being fighting fit under subnormal temperatures.
Second, civilians or ex-soldiers, who have had malaria, would know definitely where they could live a normal life without recurrence of the fever.
DAWSON, YUKON TERRITORY, CANADA.
AUTHORS NOTE– Since writing the above paper, I have had a few more ex-malaria patients. They appeared to support my theory. Alone and in this out-of-the-way place I cannot conduct any large-scale experimentation. However, if every homoeopath were to test one remedy in connection with this experiment, we would have sufficient evidence and, I trust, results which would be a veritable feather in the cap for homoeopathy, and a splendid example of professional cooperation.