Mr. Victor Horsley has recently demonstrated the existence of true sensory nerves supplying the nerve trunks of nervi-nervorum.
Prof. Hamilton, of Aberdeen, claims that the corpus callosum is not a commissure, but the decussation of cortical fibers on their way down to enter the internal and external capsules of the opposite side.
Profs. Burt G. Wilder, of Ithaca, and T. Jefrie Parker, of New Zealand Institute, have proposed a new nomenclature for macroscopic encephalic anatomy, which, while seemingly imperfect in many respects, has, at least, the merit of stimulating thought, and has given an impulse to a reform which will not cease until something has been actually accomplished in this direction. The object being to substitute for many of the polynomial terms, technical and vernacular, now in use, technical names which are brief and consist of a single word. This has already been adopted by several neurologists, of whom we may mention Spitzka, Ramsey, Wright, and H.T. Osborn.
Luys holds that the brain, as a whole, changes its position in the cranial cavity according to different attitudes of the body, the free spaces on the upper side being occupied by cerebro-spinal fluid, which, obeying the laws of gravity, is displaced by the heavier brain substance in different positions of the body.
Luys claims that momentary vertigo, often produced by changing from a horizontal to a vertical position, seasickness, pain in movement in cases of meningitis, epileptic attacks at night, etc., may be by this explained. These views of Luys are accepted as true, but to a less extent than taught by Luys. The prevalent idea that a lesion of one hemisphere produces a paralysis upon the opposite side of the body alone is no longer tenable, for each hemisphere is connected with both sides of the body by motor tracts, the larger of the motor tracts decussating and the smaller not decussating in the medulla. Hence a lesion of one hemisphere produces paralysis upon the opposite side of the body. It has recently been established that a lesion of one hemisphere in the visual area produces, not blindness in the opposite eye, as was formerly supposed, but a certain degree of blindness in both eyes, that in the opposite eye being greater in extent than that in the eye of the same side. Analogy would indicate that other sensations follow the same law, hence the probability is that all the sensations from one side of the body do not pass to the parietal cortex of the opposite side, but that, while the majority so pass, a portion go up to the cortex of the same side from which they come.
Dr. Hammond says that the chief feature of the new Siberian disease called miryachit is, that the victims are obliged to mimic and execute movements that they see in others, and which motions they are ordered to execute.
Dr. Beard, in June, 1880, observed the same condition when traveling among the Maine hunters, near Moosehead Lake. These men are called jumpers, or jumping Frenchmen. Those subject to it start when any sudden noise reaches the ears. It appears to be due to the fact that motor impulse is excited by perceptions without the necessary concurrence of the volition of the individual to cause the discharge, and are analogous to epileptiform paroxysms due to reflex action.
The term spiritualism has come to signify more than has usually been ascribed to it, for some recent authors are now using the term to denote a neurosis or nervous affection peculiar to that class of people who claim to be able to commune with the spirits of the dead.
Evidence obtained from clinical observations has tended of late to locate the pathological lesions of chorea in the cerebral cortex.
Dr. Godlee's operation of removing a tumor from the brain marks an important step in cerebral localization, and cerebral surgery bids fair to take a prominent place in the treatment of mental diseases.
Wernicke has observed that the size of the occipital lobes is in proportion to the size of the optic tracts, and that the occipital lobes are the centers of vision.
Hughlings Jackson has observed that limited and general convulsions were often produced by disease in the cortex of the so-called motor convolutions. The sense of smell has been localized by Munk in the gyri hippocampi, while the center of hearing has been demonstrated to be in the temporal lobes. The center for the muscles of the face and tongue is in the inferior part of the central convolution; that for the arm, in the central part; that for the leg, in the superior part of the same convolution; the center for the muscles and for general sensibility, in the angular gyrus; and the center for the muscles of the trunk, in the frontal lobes. In pure motor aphasia the lesion is in the posterior part of the left third frontal convolution; in cases of pure sensory aphasia, the lesion is in the left first temporal convolution.
The relation of the cerebrum to cutaneous diseases has been studied much of late, and it is now held that the cutaneous eruptions are mainly due to the degree of inhibiting effect exerted upon the vaso-motor center.
The relation of the spinal cord to skin eruptions has been more thoroughly investigated and more abundant evidence supplied to demonstrate the influence degeneration of the spinal cord has in causing skin diseases, notably zoster, urticaria, and eczema.
This rheumatism, pneumonia, diabetes, and some kidney diseases and liver affections are often the result of persistent nervous disturbance is now held. That a high temperature (the highest recorded) has resulted from injuries of the spinal cord, and where the influence of microzymes is excluded, is not a matter of question. In one instance, the temperature reached 122° F., and remained for seven weeks between 108° and 118° F. The patient was a lady; the result was recovery. Hence it cannot be fever which kills or produces rapid softening of the heart and other organs in fatal cases of typhoid. Fever, so far as it consists in elevation of temperature, can be a simple neurosis.
Many other items of progress might be presented did time permit, particularly in the treatment of nervous affections, but this I leave for another occasion.Volunteer report presented to Nebraska State Medical Society, May, 1885, at Grand Island, Neb.