Notwithstanding all the endeavors made to discover the real origin of goitre, we must say that, hitherto, no instructive results have been obtained. Experiment has explained nothing, theory has been equally useless. The latter has produced two different opinions; one attributes goitre to a special and undefined action of a peculiar substance, sometimes injurious, as magnesia sometime absent, and no longer exercising its preservative influence, as iodine. The other system supposes this affection to depend upon a union of causes more or less numerous, and especially more or less local.
This we cannot at present decide about, still we may venture to give the preference to the first system, when we find goitre develop itself rapidly by the action of certain waters. Some young men have been known to give themselves goitre in two or three months to escape the conscription; successive families have been found to be attacked with goitre when they occupied habitations on certain streams; even animals developing goitres in these conditions. If these facts are well proved, they appear to me to contradict the system of numerous influences, and they also afford a strong argument against the theory of iodine; but they especially lead to the supposition that goitre is the direct effect of the action of substances held in solution in the water.
To decide the question, the best plan would be, I think, to try on animals, the influence of the salts whose presence has been proved in certain waters, and of whose action on the health we are far from being certain.
The fluorides should be placed in the first rank of suspected matters: and no analysis has shown these bodies in the waters of countries in which goitre is common; but to suppose that the chemists who have examined those waters may have omitted fluorine in their investigations will do them no injustice. It is not impossible that the fluorides may have some action on the health of those subject to goitre. In any case their study might be useful in a toxicological point of view. The result given by experiment is as follows:-
A small dog was subjected to the following diet: I each day mixed finely pulverized natural fluoride of calcium with its food: at first 5 milligrammes, then 10, 15, up to 50. On the first few days the animal vomited shortly after taking it; afterwards it only vomited at intervals, and a long time after eating. Fearing the mechanical influence of the sharp edges of the solid fluoride, I prepared a metrical solution of fluoride of soda, of which I employed a specified quantity on each day. I began with 20 milligrammes, and gradually raised the dose to 120 milligrammes. The animal showed a slight hesitation at first, because the liquid mixed with the food was not sufficiently disguised; but, after a few days, I poured the fluoride into coffee: from this time the salt was taken without the least difficulty, and with the same avidity as if the coffee had been perfectly pure. During more than four months that the dog took more than 10 grammes of fluoride of sodium, it appeared to suffer no discomfort, in fact, to be quiet well. At last a general enlargement of the neck took place, forming a sort of collar or swelling, which attracted the notice of strangers.
Unfortunately the experiment was interrupted by the disappearance of the dog, and I was for several months without news of it. The swelling has not disappeared: at the present moment, after the lapse of five years, it no doubt exists, but the dog has become very fat, and the enlargement of the throat is no longer visible.
|The AMERICAN HOMOEOPATHIC REVIEW Vol. 01 No. 05, 1859, pages 212-214
|Action of the Fluorides on the Animal Economy.
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