Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

the lower extremities ought also to be absorbed. Perhaps a tumour 
affecting all surrounding parts—such as an aneurism, or fungoid 
tumour—excites inflammation of the bone, as well as of other parts; 
and bone when inflamed becomes softened, and is consequently more 
readily susceptible of absorption when its nutrition happens to be 
interrupted by pressure. Caries, however, is not produced in these 
cases.* It is a well-known fact that iodine favours the wasting and 
absorption of organised tissues. 
b. Of exhalation and exudation. 
Many matters dissolved in the animal fluids, particularly foreign 
substances which have been taken up into the circulation, and which 
are then distributed through the body with the blood in their original 
state, or more or less altered, are afterwards eliminated from the 
system by the process of imbibition and endosmosis. Prussiate of 
potash, having entered the circulation by endosmose, permeates the 
tissues which form the surfaces communicating with the exterior, 
according to the same laws, and becomes mingled with the natural 
secretions. In this way it soon appears again in the most various 
secreted fluids: in the urine, for instance, it may be detected, accord¬ 
ing to Westrumb, in from two to ten minutes after its introduction 
into the body. The blood impregnated with prussiate of potash, 
and the fluid contained in the cavities of the secreting organ,—for 
example, the urine in the tubuli uriniferi of the kidney,—are able, 
in accordance with laws purely physical, to impart to each other 
the substances that they contain in solution until these substances 
are equally diffused in both. In jaundice, almost all the internal 
organs, as well as the secretions, become impregnated with the 
colouring matter of the bile which is contained in the serum of the 
Those natural or accidental ingredients of the blood which are 
capable of assuming the gaseous form, unless they are retained by 
some special attraction exerted on them by the tissues, may evapo¬ 
rate from the free surfaces of the membranes of the body. 
When pressure favours their passage through the pores of the 
animal membranes, even fluids must, in accordance with physical 
laws, force their way into the free cavities filled with gas or vapour; 
—hence the effusion of fluids in the animal body after death as the 
effect of mere gravitation; serum, at first pure, afterwards with the 
colouring matter of blood dissolved in it, permeates the tissues, and 
may collect in the different cavities; the bile exudes from the gall¬ 
bladder, and colours the parts which are in contact with it. During 
life, absorption effected by an attraction of a vital nature, counter¬ 
balances this transudation of fluid through the membranes of the 
body; but, in disease, different causes destroy the balance of the two 
processes, and then the water, with the animal matter and salts dis¬ 
solved in it, collects in the cavities of the body and in the cellular 
* On this subject consult Schroeder van der Kolk in Luchtmann, De absorptionis 
sanæ et morbosæ discrimine. Traj. ad. R. 1829.


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