Nutrition and dysentery
Mukerji, Upendra Nath
From a Physiological point of view - there are two obvious and serious defects - in the experiments, which form the basis of these papers. The first defect is the over- lapping of the results. A small quantity of fish is added for 10 days, to an otherwise purely vegetable diet of a man. The effect on the elimination of urea, for that period is . noted. Then the fish is stopped for some days. The effect on urea for that period, which lasts for a week or so, is noted. Finally, oil is rubbed on the body of the same man for 10 days - and the effect of urea is again noted. This goes on for sometime. The question arises, how far the effects of the first experiment, influence the second or even the third.The second defect is, that the conclusions are based on insufficient data. The amount of Nitrogen, that is eliminated from the body, with urea, is only a part of what escapes from the system. Unless the total quantity can be estimated - namely, all that pass from the skin, Lungs, Kidneys and the Bowels - the calculation of Nitrogen obtained from urea alone, cannot be accepted, either to prove or to disprove any statement.From a Physiologist's point of view both the objections, are unanswerable. At the same time, something may be said about the justification of the experiments.First, as regards the chance of overlapping. There is no such thing, 'practically speaking - as a mathematical precision in the amount of secretions or excretions from the Human Body. Consequently when the effects of the addition of a certain food or drug, or that of its abstraction from the food commence or end - cannot be determined by e. any known means in our possession. The object in view, was not so much to estimate the exact amount of urea passed, as it was to find out what the indications were that could be traced as to the working of the system - under a certain condition. It may be added that each series of experiments was repeated three times, and the conclusions were based on the general result.In the next place, whether it is possible to institute experiments, on -a large number of Human Beings on the same lines as the well -known experiments of Pettenkofer and Voit - is more than doubtful. .Even if such experiments could be performed, their value will be extremely questionable, for the artificial surroundings, and the abnormal-conditions that it will be necessary, to keep the subjects under, for their . proper study - will introduce factors that would so affect the results, that they can never be held applicable to an ordinary, healthy man - living under normal conditions of life.If Physiology is to help medicine, it will have to do so for a long time to come, more by suggestion than by demonstration.