A recent case of acute encephalitis under our daily observation, but not with homoeopathic treatment, brings the incentive to review what the practice of similia has been able to do for this most serious malady.
This case, Mrs. M. R., aged 54, out of a clear sky started Sunday evening with a headache. Monday, when her husband phoned, she reported so ill that she went to bed. On his return from work the headache was still severe and touching her skin anywhere produced a state of extreme agitation both physical and mental; her body and limbs would jerk violently in all directions and great drowsiness now pervaded the whole picture. This soon passed over into unconsciousness, although the great sensitiveness to touch continued. Now hospitalization and modern therapy were begun, including sedatives and the everpresent penicillin and vitamins.
After three and a half days a spinal tap brought a return to consciousness and now any movement would bring on a terrific headache, but the march back to health has been continuous and uninterrupted until now, in the third week, only stooping brings on the headache. Of course any real exertion is out, although she walks about, helps get dinner and is apparently much her old self.
Naturally the young M.D. in charge is elated at the unusual outcome of this fatal or maiming malady.
Personally, this is the first case of acute encephalitis ever to come under our observation so we go to our usual source of information, the bound copies of our Recorders. Here we find in the April number of 1929 an excellent abstract from the Journal of the American Institute of Homoeopathy of February 1929 on Epidemic Encephalitis by Linn J. Boyd, M.D., of New York, which invites your perusal, if available.
He calls attention to the fact that remedies commonly used in influenza and polio are seldom of value in epidemic encephalitis, which tends to support the idea that these diseases are not so closely related. Also that from a therapeutic standpoint, the pathological indications lead to several interesting suggestions:.
1. Primary lesion being vascular, properly indicated homoeopathic remedies at this time may lead to recovery.
2. Remedies chosen later in the course of the disease should be essentially neurotropic or with an affinity for nervous tissue.
3. The peculiar pathology found is that noted in the effects of the heavy metals such as Manganese acetate, Mercurius corrosivus, Lead iodide, etc.
4. Late in the course of the disease, when there is marked nerve disintegration, many of the sequelae are present.
“Gelsemium is probably the most often used and best indicated in the acute stage but it also is valuable when oculomotor, pontine and bulbar symptoms arise.
“Bell., Hyos. and Stram. in the more excited stage. Op. and Nux. m. where lethargy is more pronounced.
“The venoms give a symptomatic but not a pathological picture and often fail to be of value except in the acute febrile attack.
“Remedies following later are Ars., Caust., Gels., Merc. cor. (probably the most valuable in the myoclonic cases–rigidity and relaxation succeed each other).
“Also think of Zn., Cu. and Cicuta.
“In the later stages, Ars.i., which may also be valuable in the vascular stage, Lead iodide and Merc.c.
“Mangan. acetate gives almost a perfect picture of the paralysis agitans type of this disease”.
In an article by Dr. Boyd in another issue of this Journal, entitled “Manganese, a Neglected Remedy”, he describes cases of chronic Manganese poisoning by Edsall, Drinker, Casamajor and others, which show a marked similarity.
Summary of chronic manganese poisoning:-
1. Languor and sleepiness.
2. Stolid, mask-like face.
3. Muscular twitching varying in degree from fine tremor of hands, to gross rhythmical movements of arms, legs, trunk and head.
4. Low monotonous voice, economical speech.
5. Cramps in calves of legs especially at night. Complaints of stiffness of muscles of legs.
6. Slight increase in reflexes.
7. Ankle and patellar clonus. Rhomberg inconstant. No incoordination.
8. Retropulsion and propulsion.
9. A peculiar, slapping gait.
10. Occasional uncontrollable laughter and, less frequent, crying.
11. Liver changes.
“These changes were noted only after the patient has been working with manganese for long periods, six months to four years, and has been under observation for ten years”.
Here are Dr. Boyd’s conclusions: “There is a very close similarity between the symptomatology and possible pathology of chronic manganese poisoning and paralysis agitans, progressive lenticular degenerations and pseudosclerosis and, therefore, homoeopathically Manganese may be, if research shows, a specific for these diseases”.
So with these cases bobbing up here and there you homoeopaths may run into a case or an epidemic and perusal of this review may supply you with a starting point and a confidence. But ever keep in mind the idea that one of many remedies may be indicated and be alert for outstanding symptoms to guide to whatever the curative remedy.