Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

396 
INFLUENCE OF ELECTRICITY. 
result attended similar experiments by Legallois, Dupuy, Dr. Wilson 
Philip, Clarke, Abel, and Hastings. YVhile, on the other hand, 
Broughton, Magendie and Leuret, and Lassaigne state that digestion 
appeared to them to be uninfluenced by the division of the nerve in 
question. Mayer (Tiedemann’s Zeitschriften. 1,) also found that 
the digestive process continued for a certain time, and that acid 
chyme was formed—at all events in rabbits. * Bracket, (Recherches 
sur les fonct. du Syst. Gangl. Paris, 1830,) too, states, that in all 
his experiments the food underwent chymification at the parts where 
it was in contact with the coats of the stomach. 
The question cannot, however, be determined with complete cer¬ 
tainty in quadrupeds, on account of death taking place in them so 
soon after the operation; I have therefore, in conjunction with Dr. 
Dieckhof, instituted experiments on geese. After the birds had been 
forty-eight hours without food, they were fed with oats. In each 
experiment two birds were required. In one the vagus was divided 
on both sides, while the other was left uninjured for the sake of com¬ 
parison. After the death of the first, which took place in the space 
of five days, the second was killed. In the latter the crop was gene¬ 
rally empty; in the former it was always fully distended with oats, 
and some grains were contained in the muscular gizzard, and these 
were in part crushed. The fluid in the stomach was acid, but less 
so than in the other uninjured animal. Hence we may conclude 
that digestion is for the most part, but not entirely, checked by the 
division of the nervi vagi. Tiedemann states, it is true, that after 
both vagi had been divided in a dog, neither the matter vomited nor 
the mucus secreted by the stomach was acid; and Mayer also relates 
that in his experiments on cats and dogs the chyme formed after the 
operation was not acid: yet he found the chyme acid in rabbits; and 
in my experiments with Dr. Dieckhof I never found the acidity 
absent, although it was less marked than in the sound animal. In 
four of the dogs in which Dr. Reid had divided the vagi nerves in 
the neck for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of the morbid 
changes produced in the lungs, unequivocal proofs were afforded, 
that, although lesion of the nervi vagi generally arrests digestion, yet 
that process may occasionally go on perfectly well, even although 
the cut ends of the nerves are kept far apart. One dog which lived 
twelve days after the operation, was rapidly gaining flesh and 
strength; and when he was killed, the lacteals and the thoracic duct 
were found full of milky chyle. In two other dogs, food taken after 
the operation was vomited in a half-digested state, and was found to 
permanently redden litmus paper; and the lacteals were filled with 
chyle in one of these dogs also, as well as in a fourth by which milk 
that was given to it was vomited in a coagulated state.* 
Dr. Wilson Philip has asserted that, after the experiment of di¬ 
viding the nervi vagi has been performed, the digestive action may 
be restored by means of an electrical current transmitted through the 
* Dr. J. Reid’s Experimental Investigation into the function of the eighth pair 
of nerves. Edin. Med. and Surg. Journ. vol. 51, p. 310, et seq., and American 
Edit., in volume form.
        

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