Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

Reports of Visits to Foreign Laboratories, vol. 7 (1932-33) [Illustrated Typoscript in 7 volumes] Reproduced with the kind permission of Dr. Cecil E. Leith
Benedict, Francis Gano
Thus the Nutrition Laboratory's introduction of the helmet with 
its free, untrammelled breathing, full vision, and light closure 
around the neck is a welcome replacement for the saliva-stimulating 
mouthpiece or the tightly bandaged face mask. This apparatus I described 
in one of my lectures. The helmet likewise does away with all work of 
the lungs in opening and closing valves, but what is more important 
from the standpoint of the operator, the latest modification of the 
apparatus has become a direct-reading instrument. By introducing 
a rotamesser in the oxygen supply line, one can read directly the 
oxygen consumption for each minute. I found that this apparatus 
attracted a good deal of attention but there was no great enthusiasm 
over the idea of introducing it as routine hospital procedure. If 
this is accomplished in ten years I shall feel satisfied. Personally 
I feel it must ultimately prove its true value. 
It is believed that another important procedure can be introduced, 
in that the subject should not be lying. It is a psychological fact 
that a patient sitting up will seemingly react far less to mental 
disturbance than when lying completely flat. The metabolism of well- 
trained subjects, it is true, is slightly higher when sitting up than 
when lying down. On the other hand, if the subject is well supported 
by pillows, such as for example in an English "club" chair or a well 
arranged steamer chair or reclining chair, this difference is wholly 
insignificant. Consequently it has been my tendency to recommend 
that metabolism measurements in the clinic be made if possible when 
sitting or in a semi-reclining position with the helmet and not with 
the mouthpiece. 
Above everything else it is imperative that each person 
attempting to interpret basal metabolism measurements must from 
previous experience, preferably on himself and a number of laboratory 
(not hospital) normals, know what in the first place is normal and 
secondly, what are the variations that can be expected with the normal 
individual. If these two important points can be bettered, first, 
better technique employed, i.e., the helmet and semi-reclining position, 
and second, that the interpreter have personal experience on the 
apparatus, it is fully believed that the basal metabolism will be one 
of the most important adjuncts in the clinic. It is the only 
measurement of the level of vital activity. 
The metabolism of animals. 
In the survey of metabolism studies in Europe I found various 
laboratories with more or less activity with different groups of 
animals, and it may be of interest to classify them in the following way. 
Cold-blooded animals. Practically nothing is being done in the 
gaseous metabolism of cold-blooded animals. One finds everywhere frogs, 
but only in the laboratory of Terroine are metabolism studies active 
and these in the line of nitrogen metabolism.


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