The Effect of Prejudice - Professor Fisher's Experiment

While Professor Cannon was groping about in Nature's alimentary preserves in comparative darkness, I concentrated my attention upon the first three inches of the canal which comprise the field of our personal responsibility, and which has been neglected by most of the students of the subject.

While the area considered was right out in front, and open to visual inspection all the time, the opportunity to study its most important features having to do with nutrition was not continuous. Mr. Edison may rivet his attention on an electrical problem and stick to it for forty-eight hours on a stretch, but Taste is only occasionally on exhibition for observation and cannot be pressed into long service at any one time. For test of normal Taste only the time required for the most economic nutrition is available. A real body-need with keen appetite is the first healthy excuse for calling on Taste to perform. Normal appetite, too, being satisfied with appetising foods, is of brief duration. One may linger over a meal as long as desired, enjoying the intimate memory of the gustatory gratification in leisurely process, but in case of a first-class labouring man's hunger and the exigency of a railway station dinner in the midst of a desert, industrious application of faithful Fletcherizing for fifteen minutes will usually supply the real needs of the moment for eight hours at least. This estimate involves a healthy condition of the nutrition department, including an abundance of powerful saliva for the hastening of the mouth treatment, but such a beatific facility can be secured in a very short time by the faithful and intelligent employment of all departments of head digestion.

A person who specialises on the mouth end of the alimentary canal has plenty of time to rest between inspections. He will naturally watch for any feeling of results that may happen while Mother Nature is doing her twenty-five feet of digestion and absorption, but if his part has been performed properly, there will be no news of the process until there is something to excrete from the material ingested. When this occurs, if a microscope is handy for minute inspection, it will be found that most of the excreta is composed of what I think of as the dandruff of the alimentary canal. It is composed of shapeless particles of skin which have been discarded by the mucous surface of the canal in the same manner that dead skin is being continually detached from the head and all parts of the external surface of the body. Depending on the nature of the food, there may be small particles also of indigestible cellulose from vegetable foods and the condensed solids of the digestive juices when they have been used and worn out.