Altogether, the story of the development of medicine, especially in its later chapters, is a hopeful and inspiring one. The mere fact that the average working life of English-speaking men is twice as long as it was three centuries ago, speaks eloquently for the advance of hygiene. And with the hope that the public may be educated to the point of pushing; to its limits all that is applied is the modern watchword prop/iv/axis, one hesitates to foreshadow what may be the achievements of the next three centuries.
administered in the treatment of disoased conditions. Such remedies are derived from either of the three natural divisions, or kingdoms : the animal, the vegetable, and the mineral. Many of these medical substances exert an injurious effect on the healthy organism when given in large closes ; in other words, they act as poisons to the system unless carefully administered. When prescribed by a physician in a condition of disease, the doses and preparations are, however, so carefully regulated that the action of an otherwise poisonous drug is limited within its beneficial effects on the morbid process present. While no drug is able to restore strength and vigour to a generally debilitated body, there are many pharmaceutical preparations that are highly valuable in their local effects on certain organs or tissues. The following tables give the names of some of the most popular drugs, grouped according to their therapeutic effects. Since the same disease hardly ever occurs with like manifestations in any two individuals, expert diagnosis is always necessary in order to determine the correct mode of treatment. And since dosages must needs be regulated according to the requirements of each individual case, being dependent upon a great many factors, it would be absolutely useless—even productive of harm—to attempt giving any directions for self-treatment. Moreover, the drugs that are most efficacious are usually poisonous when given in closes that are not accurately balanced to meet the existing symptoms ; and for this reason the laws of al] civilised countries forbid the pharmacist to dispense such drugs to any persons other than licensed practitioners. The lists are merely presented to give the reader some idea as to the variety of aids at the physician's disposal.
It is very important that patients should observe the physician's in ,tructions with regard to the proper time for taking the medicine prescribed. drugs are to he taken before meals, others after meals ; some in the morning on an empty stomach, others in the evening at a stated time before retiring. In all cases the physician should advise the patient, and the lat ter
must carefully follow instructions.
IVedicines may be prescribed either in solid or in liquid form. Solid drugs are usually administered in the form of powders, pills, or tablets ; liquids as infusions, simple solutions, tinctures, etc. I f a prescribed powder has no unpleasant taste, it may be taken by depositing it on the tongue and washing it down with a swallow of water. If its taste is bitter or nauseating, it is usually put up in capsules or wafers (Fig. 276) made from gelatine. Pills are generally coated with gelatine, sugar, or chocolate, to disguise their taste and render it easier to swallow them. Powders for external use may be applied with a tuft of cotton ; or, if they arc to be applied on a mucous membrane (throat, vagina, etc.), a powder-syringe as shown in Fig. 277 may be used. Liquid remedies are put up in bottles which bear labels containing directions for taking. Liquids for external use are conspicuously labelled to guard against mistake ; and poisonous remedies are put up in bottles hearing a red label with the word " Poison " (see Fig. 278). The close of a liquid is usually indicated by the teaspoonful (i drachm), dessertspoonful (2 drachms), tablespoonful ( ounce), or Nv i cgl a ss f 1 (2 ounces). .\ graduated glass (sec Fig. 279) is useful for obtaining the accurate measure. If the dose is indicated by drops, a dropping-bottle (see Figs. 281, 282). which permits only a drop at a time to flow through the perforated glass stopper. is useful.
MELANCHOLIA.—See INSANITY ; MENTAL DISEASES.
MENINGITIS.—An inflammation of the meninges, the lining membranes of the brain and upper portion of the spinal cord. Meningitis is not a single disease, the name being used solely to indicate a number of different forms of infection of the membranes of the brain, presenting symptoms which arc more or less similar. Thus, it is \yell established that infection by means of the tubercle-bacillus causes tuberculous meningitis, and infection by the typhoid-bacillus, typhoid meningitis. The bacillus of influenza and the infectious organisms of syphilis may also cause inflammation of these membranes ; while certain definite kinds of infection arc known to bring about specific types of meningitis. Thus, epidemic cerebrospinal meningitis is known to be produced by a specific organism.