Volltext: Elements of Physiology

of the same limb: the action of the poison was not prevented. He 
applied a strong ligature to the. hind leg of a rabbit, excluding only 
the principal nerves, and then inoculated the leg with woorara; but 
no poisonous effects were produced until he loosened the ligature, 
when they immediately ensued. Wedemeyer* § found that prussic 
acid, so strong that it proved fatal within a second when introduced 
into the eye and other parts of the body, pro&uced no such rapid 
effect when applied immediately to the nerves. Emmert amputated 
the extremities of animals, leaving them connected with the trunk 
by the nerves only, and then introduced poison into the feet; no 
general symptoms resulted. He likewise applied the poison to the 
nervous trunks themselves, but without effect. C. Viborgt applied 
almost a drachm of concentrated prussic acid to the brain of a horse, 
laid bare by means of the trephine, without the slightest symptoms 
of poisoning being produced.^ Hubbard§ has, it is true, seen prussic 
acid applied to the nerves, act rapidly; but he himself confesses that 
when he isolated the nerve by placing a card beneath it, the poison 
produced no effect. 
The rapid action of the greater number of narcotic poisons is per¬ 
fectly explicable by the facts above detailed respecting absorption 
by imbibition. Prussic acid, however, exerts its influence in a much 
shorter time than would be required for it to enter the circulation 
through the medium of the capillaries, which, as we have said, is 
half a minute, or two minutes. The spirituous solution of extract 
of nux vomica, also, introduced in small quantity into the mouth of 
a young rabbit, produces immediate death; whereas when applied 
to a nerve at some distance from the brain,—for instance, to the 
ischiadic nerve,—it produces no general symptoms. Concentrated 
prussic acid, also, as Wedemeyer observed, does not exert its poi¬ 
sonous influence when applied merely to a bare nerve. The rapid 
effects of prussic acid can only be explained by its possessing great 
volatility and power of expansion, by which it is enabled to diffuse 
itself through the blood more rapidly than that fluid circulates, to 
permeate the animal tissues very quickly, and in a manner inde¬ 
pendent of its distribution by means of the blood, and thus to pro¬ 
duce the peculiar material changes in the central organs of the 
nervous system more quickly in proportion as it is applied nearer 
to it. 
Passage of ingesta into the secretions.—The rapidity with which 
fluid matters are imbibed into the capillaries, and distributed through 
the body by the circulation, explains completely the quick reappear¬ 
ance in the urine of substances which have been taken into the 
stomach with the food, without the need of having recourse to the 
* Physiol. Untersuch, über das Nervensystem und die Respiration; Hanover, 
1817, p. 234.—Consult also Emmert, Tübing. Blätter. 1811, Bd. ii. p. 88. Salzb. 
Medic. Zeitung. 1813, Bd. iii. p. 62. Meckel’s Archiv, i. p. 176. Schnell, Diss. 
Sist. Historiam Yeneni Upas antiar. Tübing. 1815. 
t Act. Reg. Soc. Med. Hafn. 1821, p. 240. 
See Lund, Vivisectionen, pp. 103, 104. 
§ Philadelph. Journal, Aug. 1822.


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