IT is with deep regret that we have to record the death of our valued contributor, Dr. John McLachlan, of whom Dr. Burford has written an appreciation which appears elsewhere in this issue and which we most profoundly endorse. It is a happiness to us that we are able to publish what may be called his “swan song,” being the last articles written by him. There is no sign of lack of vigour in the articles quite the contrary but McLachlan seems to have had some presentiment of the coming change, as he told us a little time ago they would be the last articles he would write.
We have another article already in type so that our readers will still be kept in touch with our colleague and friend. Friendship belongs to the eternities and knows nothing of death, which belongs to the illusions. We are not shedding any tears for John McLachlan, but we do very keenly regret that he has left no successor to take up his work in the University city, which has never yet, we believe, been without a representative of our art since it first became established in the country.
ALUMINIUM COOKING UTENSILS.
DR. LE HUNTE COOPER, who was one of the first in this country to draw attention to the dangers of using cooking vessels made of aluminium, informs us that the provings of Alumina gives an exact picture of the symptoms we may look for. This is confirmed by a case that has come under our notice. A patient who had been warned of the risk passed the information on to a friend who had been six months under treatment for gastric trouble, which her doctor could do nothing to relieve. She smiled incredulously when told of the risk, but she scrapped her aluminium saucepans nevertheless and quickly lost her gastric disorder.
The husband of the above-mentioned patient had been for many months troubled with persistent breakings-out on his lips which nothing relieved. On abandoning aluminium cookers, the lips soon became normal. Turning to the Materia Medica, under Alumina we find this: “Lips dry and cracked, with exfoliation of the skin. Swelling of the lips. Pimples and scabby eruptions on the lips.” This is a striking confirmation of Dr. Coopers statement that Alumina and Aluminium have identical pathogenetic effects.
DR. CHARLES T. BETTS.
DR. CHARLES T. BETTS, of 320 Superior Street, Toledo, Ohio, is the leading authority in America on the dangers of Aluminium used in cookery. In his book “Aluminium Poisoning” he has brought together a vast amount of evidence from many different sources. There is nothing like the “Argumentum ad hominem” and it was personal experience which first put Dr. Betts on the track of the enemy. He was a sufferer from gastritis and ulceration of the stomach and was ordered West for his heath.
Whilst in Manitoba he made the discovery that Aluminium utensils might be the cause of his trouble. He observed that a solution of soda effervesced when poured into an aluminium cup, but not when poured into a glass. On his return home he scrapped his aluminium vessels, lost his stomach troubles and started on his experiments and then launched his anti-aluminium crusade. Dr. Betts has sent us a number of journals containing articles on the subject which leave no doubt as to the reality of the dangers he alludes to.
ON February 9th Dr. McLachlan sent a note enclosing three Addenda to his article on Duodenal Ulcer which appeared in our issue of December last. They have a practical bearing and we sub- join them as he sent them to us:.
1. When the appendix is lying behind the caecum, we may get an exact imitation of Duodenal Ulcer, due to the “pull” on the ileo- caecal valve. The action of this valve seems to be linked up with that of the pyloric sphincter.
2. Ruptured Duodenal Ulcer may cause pain in the right supra- spinous fossa, or over the right acromion process, or above the right clavicle (via Phrenic nerve, and the descending branches of the cervical plexus).
3. Cancer of the Stomach may mimic Duodenal Ulcer; but there is an absence of the intervals of freedom from pain so characteristic of Duodenal Ulcer.
ADENIA “THE WORLDS DEADLIEST POISON”.
The Morning Post (March 16th) published the following: The deadliest poison in existence is claimed to have been discovered by Dr. H. H. Green, an expert at Onderstepoort Laboratory, according to the Pretoria correspondent of “Die Burger.”.
The poison, the scientific name of which is Adenia, is discovered in a bulbous herb growing in the Transvaal. It leaves no traces in the organs of its victims and it is declared that one thousandth part of a grain is sufficient to kill an adult. This is five thousand times deadlier than strychnine.
The discovery came about when labourers working near the Pienaars river tasted the bulbs in order to quench their thirst. All became violently ill and one died.
Dr. Green, who examined the organs of the dead man obtained some of the bulbs and ordered two natives to cut them up. It was this which strikingly demonstrated the deadliness of the poison for both of the natives were overcome by the smell of the leaves and their lives were only saved with the greatest difficulty. Reuter.
The name “Adenia” does not tell us much, and does not appear in The Treasury of Botany. As a bulb is mentioned the plant may belong to the Arum tribe.
SCARLET FEVER AND ENDOCARDITIS. H. Zischinsky (Jahrb. f. Kinderheilk., May, 1930, p. 337), who records several illustrative cases, states that scarlet fever plays no important part in the etiology of cardiac valvular defects. In a few very exceptional instances an endocarditis may be formed at the necropsy in a case of scarlet fever. Such cases, however, represent a septicopyaemic manifestation and are invariably fatal. In order to justify the diagnosis of scarlatinal endocarditis the following conditions must be fulfiled: either a recent endocarditis of the valves must be demonstrated, or the change in the clinical finding of endocarditis into a permanent valvular defect must be established by several subsequent examinations made for months or years. British Medical Journal, August 16th, 1930.