Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

be granulating, and the orifice in the great sinus was closed. But the brain had not risen up to occupy the exposed cavity; and it was found impossible to place the flaps of the scalp in contact with the dura-mater in the usual way, so as to close the wound. Mild dress. ings of patent lint were applied over the surface, and confined with moderate pressure by means of a double-headed roller. On the twelfth day after the operation, the cavity below the bone was evidently diminished, and every day thereafter it continued to decrease, until, in the fourth week, the surface of the brain covered by the granulating dura-mater had risen up to the level of the inner table. The natural pulsatory motions did not appear, however, until the cavity was nearly filled ; and, in the mean time, forcible pressure could be made on the surface of the brain without exciting any degree of stupor or inconvenience on the part of the patient. But as soon as the pulsations began to appear, every kind of pressure proved irritating to the brain. At the same time, a remarkable change took place in the character and bearing of the patient. He then became exceedingly timid and irresolute. It would render him pale and almost pulseless to approach him with a pair of scissors for the purpose of trimming away his hair from the margins of the wound; and the sight of a piece of lunar caustic, or a pair of forceps, in the surgeon's hands, would throw him into great trepidation. This state of his mental faculties continued for a long period after his complete recovery from the wound. He could not even go down into a cellar containing some plaster busts, without a sense of faint. ness and sinking; and the operation of taking a cast of his head in plaster, nearly prostrated all the functions of his mind and body. His carriage also became remarkably affected. Instead of maintaining his natural erect posture and bearing, he sunk his head and shoulders into an awkward stoop, and looked timidly and anxiously forward, as if he was afraid of blundering against a door-post.

At the time of the operation, and until the pulsations of the exposed portion of his brain returned, he was remarkable for his firmness of mind and resolution. No patient ever bore a severe and protracted operation with more intrepidity. He sat upright in a chair, without any confinement, until the blood vessel gave way at the close of the operation; and during its performance, he repeatedly inquired of the bystanders if it was the brain which was coming out under the efforts of the surgeon. It has been, moreover, stated by those who have known him well for years, that previous to this injury he had always been distinguished for his firmness, courage, and inde. pendence.

He is now (two years after the operation) living in perfect health

a

at the Exchange Hotel, Pittsburg. He is engaged in active business, and is entirely exempt from any symptom of a return of the disease. His former firmness and intrepidity of mind have been gradually returning for a year past, and at present no departure from a healthy condition of mind or body can be discovered. A thickening or induration of the flaps of the scalp, which resulted from their long exposure and separation from the subjacent dura-mater, and which at one period gave origin to a report that the disease had reappeared, has become entirely softened down, and attenuated by the natural process of absorption.

As this case occurred during the period of Mr. Combe's first course of lectures in Philadelphia, it excited great attention among all phrenologists. One of the gentlemen who attended the operation, addressed a letter to Mr. Combe, stating that both organs of Firmness were lost or destroyed; and asked for an explanation of the apparent contradiction in the conduct of the patient to the principles of phrenology. Mr. Combe read this letter publicly to his class, and endeavoured to explain away the difficulty, by locating the position of the tumour posteriorly to the organs of Firmness. On a further, and subsequent examination of the wound, however, he decided that a great portion of the skull, over the region of Firmness, had been removed, together with that of several of the neighbouring organs, as I have enumerated them.

In no respect, however, does this case militate against the principles of phrenology. The organs, instead of being destroyed, were merely displaced or depressed by the growth of the tumour, in the same way that deformities are produced in some of the savage tribes by gradual pressure of the skull. Perhaps a better analogy may be drawn between the state of these organs and the parts of the brain pressed upon by internal effusions of blood, and depressed fractures, which do not produce the symptoms of compression. A compensation is then made for the space occupied by the effused blood or depressed bone, by a corresponding amount excluded from the cavity of the vessels, and retained in the general circulation.

A careful examination of this case will, I think, elicit observations in support of phrenology. The tone and excitement of the depressed region of the brain must probably have been increased by the invasion of the tumour, on the same principle that the muscles of labour. ing men are sometimes supported by leathern straps and bandages. On the other hand, the extirpation of the tumour must have had the same effect in removing the tension and mechanical support of the organs, as tapping for abdominal dropsy exerts upon the viscera of that great cavity. As soon as the depressed convolutions began to be unfolded or distended by the pulsation of the blood vessels, they experienced a want of that pressure which had before stimulated them into an increase of activity. Their tone then became enfeebled, and continued so until the scalp had contracted adhesions to the outer surface of the dura-mater, and the cicatrix became consolidated, so as to afford a firm and counteracting support to the pressure of the circulation below.

While Mr. Richardson was recovering from the operation, he was visited by several phrenologists, for the purpose of establishing the precise location of the wound. Although they differed in their opinions in regard to the degree in which the organ of Firmness was involved, they all agreed that Self-esteem was affected, and some thought the injury extended also to the organ of Concentrativeness. Inquiries were therefore directed by them to the mani. festations of these faculties; and the patient did suggest some points of character in relation to which he conceived he had undergone an .alteration. He asserted that he had for a long time previous to the operation lost his self respect in the presence of company, and his power of confining his mind to any particular train of thought. But these peculiarities were not obvious to me, or to any of his familiar friends; and I have not thought it right to put them down in my estimate of his condition, as affected by the operation. Such affections may have been the result of that confusion in the mind which generally accompanies excessive determination of blood to the head. It has been suggested that they were produced by a paralysis of those organs which were most severely depressed by the deepest portion of the tumour; while, at the same time, the convolutions which lay under the edges of the tumour, and were only slightly pressed upon by it, were stimulated into increased activity of their functions. I will leave the decision of this point, however, to more experienced phrenologists, trusting that the facts which I have here given, will be judged of according to their merits.

ARTICLE VI.

STATISTICS OF PHRENOLOGY IN THE UNITED STATES.

An article with this title has just appeared in the “ American Medical Almanac for 1841.” This work is published annually in Boston, and is compiled by Dr. J. V. C. Smith, editor of the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal. It is designed, as its name imports, more especially for members of the medical profession, and contains a great variety and amount of matter on subjects connected with this profession. It is particularly valuable, as a work of reference, for its numerous statistics of medical institutions and societies, as well as for its various notices and essays on medicine. Among other matters, there is an interesting article on the Statistics of Insanity and Institutions for the Insane in the United States, by Dr. S. B. Woodward, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Lunatic Hos. pital.

We are glad to find the subject of phrènology introduced into the Medical Almanac. If the principles of this science are designed, by their numerous and important applications, to interest and benefit any class of persons, it is certainly physicians. And as this annual cir. culates extensively among the members of this profession, the article on the Statistics of Phrenology is well calculated to give them some idea of the present state of the science in this country. Though many of the facts here stated may not be altogether new to our readers, yet we are induced to present the following extracts, under their several heads, as they appear in the Medical Almanac:

History of the Science.—The two principal agencies by means of which phrenology was introduced into the United States were, first, the circulation of foreign periodicals and works; and, secondly, the reports and labours of some of our own countrymen who had made tours in Europe. It is probable, however, that even the influence of these means raised up more enemies than friends to the science. The number of intelligent believers and advocates of it, prior to 1830, was quite small, and those were mostly confined to members of the medical profession. Between the years of 1820 and '26, phrenological societies were formed in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington; this was effected chiefly through the instrumentality of Dr. Charles Caldwell.

The two other most important agencies in advancing phrenology, have been the writings, lectures, and personal influence of Dr. Spurzheim and George Combe, Esq. Dr. Spurzheim landed at New York in August, 1832, and died at Boston in November, three months after his arrival. And though he had scarcely entered upon his labours, yet he lived long enough amongst us to give a strong impulse to the science. While here, he made arrangements for publishing several of his works on phrenology, and delivered two courses of lectures; one in Boston, and the other at Harvard Univer. sity, Cambridge. His early and unexpected death was greatly lamented. His remains now lie deposited in Mount Auburn Ceme. The average

tery, beneath a plain marble monument, on which is engraved, in large capital letters, the name of SPURZHEIM. This was deemed a sufficient epitaph. Dr. Spurzheim's visit to our country will ever constitute an important and interesting era in the history of the science. Mr. Combe arrived in September, 1838, and returned to Edinburgh in June, 1840. While here, he delivered full courses of lectures in Hartford, New Haven, Albany, New York, and Philadelphia. In the three cities last mentioned, he repeated them, besides giving one or two lectures in several other places. number that regularly attended, may be safely estimated at three hundred persons in each place. Dr. Andrew Boardman, of New York, has prepared a complete and accurate report of those discourses, which are now having an extensive circulation. The mission of Mr. Combe cannot fail to exert a very strong influence in advancing phrenology on this side of the Atlantic. Some idea of the present state and prospects of the science may be gathered from the following statistics.

Books on Phrenology.- Among these stand first the works of Drs. Gall and Spurzheim, which still continue to have a constant sale, and, wherever circulated, find attentive readers. These works are better calculated for careful study and useful instruction, than for mere reading and general popularity. The productions of Mr. George Combe and Dr. A. Combe are decidedly popular, as well as instructive, and have a very great circulation. The “ Constitution of Man” has already passed through many editions, having been published in several different forms. It is thought that more than twenty thousand copies have been sold in the United States. Dr. A. Combe's work on the “Principles of Physiology, as applied to Health and Education,” (a part of which is strictly phrenological,) has had an extensive sale. The Messrs. Harpers, of New York, have sold more than thirty thousand copies of it. American produclions on phrenology are also beginning to multiply, and to meet with a ready sale. Several works of this character have recently been published : among which, are Warne's Phrenology in the Family ; Dean's Philosophy of Human Life ; Grimes's Phrenology; Haskin's History of Phrenology, &c. Fowler's Practical Phrenology has reached the fifth edition; nearly ten thousand copies have already been sold. This is, perhaps, the best work now extant on the elementary principles and practical part of the science.

Phrenological Almanac.-Mr. L. N. Fowler, of New York, pub. lished for 1840 an almanac, which, besides a calendar, embraced 32 octavo pages on phronology. More than ten thousand copies were sold, and it is expected thai more than double that number for 1841

a

« VorigeDoorgaan »