Inflammation of the Gums.A skillful French physicianII. Marchalhas recently laid before the Paris Academy of Sciences an account of a disease of the gums, which, although it is rarely or never fatal, yet it causes much suffering, especially at the moment of eating; it gives an offensive odor to the breath, and very often results in the loss of the teeth. It first loosens the teeth, and finally causes them to fall from their sockets ; and from this circumstance Dr. Marchai has named the disease, "expulsive inflammation of the gums." In most cases, the locality of the disease is tho inner dental portion of the gums, but it sometimes appears in tha dental sockets. In some instances, it takes the shape of an abscess, opens and leaves the tooth bare; in others, it is a simple inflammation, without any tumor or abscess. It seems to be hereditary, but sometimes arises from exposure to a damp cold, from the presence of tartar around and under the gums, from a foul state of the stomach, or from pregnancy. Tho remedy is a local application of iodine. Hydrophobia.Tho French have paid great attention to this terrible disease, and their investigations concerning it have just been published in the Annales d'Hy-giene Publique, of 280 cases; 18S were said to have been produced by the bite of a dog, 26 by a wolf, 13 by that of a cat, and 1 by the bite of a fox. In two case, in which the bite of a cat produced the disease, one animal is reported to have become rabid in consequence of an extensive burn ; another owing to its having been robbed of its young. These cases are of considerable interest, as they tend to resolve the still doubtful question of the spontaneous development of hydrophobia in other species of animals than the canine. Nearly two-thirds of the whole number of cases occurred during hot weather, and only about 60 persons out of 100 who were bitten were subsequently seized with hydrophobia, and the remaining 40 experienced no ill effects. Dr. Tardien, the eminent French physician who prepared tho official report, observes that the fact cannot ba too strongly insisted upon, that the only hopes of security from the fatal effects of this dreadful disease consists in immediate cauterization with the red hot iron, and that every other method only compromises the future safety of the patient by the irreparable loss of the only moments during which the preventive treatment is applicable. Poisons.found in A/coholic Spirits.In a communication to the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal, Dr. Hay, S-tsete Assaver of Massachusetts, states that he has made a somowhat extended series of analytical observations on spirits, and in no case had he found that any deleterious body had been added by manufacturers to distilled liquors. Cases of sudden poisoning by low-priced, common spirits frequently occur, but these are caused by the fusel oil which is produced by the fermentation of mixed grains. American distilled spirits, when allowed to become old, are less deleterious than most of the foreign brandies. In newly distilled spirits, however, there is a sourcs of great danger, which should bo publicly known, as it is of special interest to the medical profession. Of these, Dr. Hays says: "Newly distilled spirits, of the most common kind, often contain salts of copper, of lead or tin, derived from the condensers in which the vapors are reduced to a fluid form. The quantity of copper salt contained in the bulk usually taken as a draught is sufficient to produce the minor effects of metallic poisoning ; the cumulative character of these poisons may even lead to fatal consequences." In the " old spirits " examined by Dr. Hays, he found that those metallic salts had all deposited to tho bottom of tho cask. New spirituous liquors nnd the dregs at the bottom of the cask may, therefore, bo considered highly poisonoiis. Blindness by a Curious Tooth.The Dental Cosmos cites the case of a man thirty years of age, and of good constitution, who lost the sight of his left eye by severe pain which commenced shooting upward from his jaw. The piin in his eye was so severe that he ultimately went to a famous oceulist in Germany to have his eye removed if no other remedy could be found. This physician closely examined his teeth, and found one of the molars on the left side carions. This was extract, ed, nnd at its root was found a very small splinter of wood, which had probably been introduced in picking the teeth. The pain almost immediately ceased, and on the ninth day the patient could see almost as well as ever, after being blind for thirteen months. This is certainly a remarkable case. The Dental Cosmos states that many cases of blindness have occurred from dental irritation, which had been relieved by extraction of the teeth. Arsenic Eating.A paper was lately read on this subject before the Manchester (England) Philosopical Society, by Dr. H. E. oscoe, in which tho author stated that he had communicated with seventeen medical gentlemen in Styria, and all of these agreed as to the prevalence of the practice of arsenic eating among the peasants of that country. In the presence of Dr. Knappe, of Oberzehring, a man of robust health, thirty years of age1, ate, on the 22d day of February last, 4J grains of arsenious acid; and on the next day, 5J grains, and went away on the 24th in his usual health. He informed Dr. Knappe that he was in the habit of taking such quantities of arsenic three and four times every week. Dr. Holler, of Hartberg, states that he is acquainted with forty persons who eat arsenic. Dr. Koscoe stated he could not tell for what purpose the Styrian peasants eat arsenic ; but that they did so, and in quantities sufficient to produce death in other persons, there could be no doubt ; his investigation has proven this conclusively. At the same meeting, Dr. Clay stated that in various diseases arsenic was given with decided benefit ; but if taken for other purposes, it was most pernicious in its effects. In some parts of the country the practice prevailed of giving it to horses to render their coats sleek. Mr. Eansome stated that sulphuric acid manufactured from arsenical pyrites always contained arsenic, and he had even found it in some flowers of sulphur.
This article was originally published with the title "Useful Medical Items"