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ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY.
In order to appreciate many of the facts of disease, it is necessary to understand the elements at least of the structure and functions of the body. The essential facts will be presented in the following pages.
The following extracts are taken from a " Brief View of the Human Body," by Dr. Beard :
" That we may understand for wnat purpose the human body is made to consist of such a variety of parts, why it possesses such a complication of nice and tender machinery, and why there was not a more simple, less delicate and less expensive frame, it is necessary that we in our imagination make a man; in other words, let us suppose that the mind, or immaterial part, is to be placed in a corporeal fabric in order to hold intercourse with other material beings by the intervention of the body, and then consider what will be wanted for its accommodation. In this inquiry we shall plainly see the necessity, advantage and wonderful adaptation of most of the parts which we actually find in the human body ; and if we consider that in order to answer some of the requisites, human wit and invention would be very insufficient, we need not be surprised if we meet with some parts of the body whose use we cannot yet perceive, and with some operations and functions which we cannot explain.
" First, then, the mind, the thinking, immaterial agent, must be provided with a place of immediate residence, which shall have all the requisites for the union of spirit and body ; accordingly it is provided with the brain, and is governor and superintendent of the whole fabric.
" In the next place, as it is to hold a correspondence with all external material beings, it must be supplied with organs fitted to receive the different kinds of impressions which they will make.
In fact, we see that it is provided with the organs of sense, as we call them ; the eye is adapted to light; the ear to sound ; the nose to smell; the mouth to taste, and the skin to touch. 11 Furthermore, it must be furnished with organs of communi cation between itself in the brain and those organs of sense, to receive information of all the impressions that are made upon them, and it must also have organs between itself in the brain, and every other part of the body, fitted to convey its commands and to in fluence the whole.
" For these purposes the nerves are actually given. They are soft white cords which rise from the brain, the immediate residence of the mind, and disperse themselves in branches through all parts of the body. They convey all the different kinds of sensations to the mind in the brain, and likewise carry out thence all its com mands to the other parts of the body. They are intended to be occasional monitors against all such impressions as might endanger the well-being of the whole or of any particular part.
" Moreover, the mind in this corporeal system must be en dowed with the power of moving from place to place for the sake of intercourse with a variety of objects, of escape from such as are disagreeable, dangerous or hurtful, and for the pursuit of such as are pleasant or useful. Accordingly it is furnished with limbs, muscles and tendons, the instruments of motion, which are found in every part of the fabric where motion is necessary.
" But to support, to give firmness and shape to the fabric ; to keep the softer parts in their proper places ; to give fixed points for and the proper directions to its motions, as well as to protect some of the more important and tender organs from external injuries, there must be some firm prop-work interwoven through the whole, and in fact for such work the bones are given.
" This prop-work is not made with one rigid fabric, for that would prevent motion. Therefore there are a number of bones. " These pieces must all be firmly bound together to prevent their dislocation, and this end is perfectly answered by the liga ments.
" The spaces between these different organs must be filled up with some soft matter, which shall keep them in their places, unite them, and at the same time allow them to move a little upon one another. These purposes are answered by the cellular membrane or fatty substance.
" Lastly the mind, being formed for society and intercourse with beings of its own kind, must be endowed with powers of ex pressing and communicating its thoughts by some sensible marks or signs, which shall be both easy to itself, and admit of great variety, accordingly it is provided with the organs and faculty of speech, by which it can throw out signs with amazing facility and vary them without end.
" Thus we have built up an animal body which would seem to be pretty complete; but as it is the nature of matter to be altered and worked upon by matter, so in a very little time such a living creature must be destroyed. If there is no provision for repairing the injuries which it must commit upon itself, and those to which it must be exposed to from without, therefore a treasury of blood is actually provided in the heart and vascular system, full of nutri tious and healing particles, fluid enough to penetrate into the minutest parts of the animal; impelled by the heart and conveyed by the arteries it washes every part, builds up what was broken down, and sweeps away the old and useless materials; hence the necessity or advantage of the heart and arterial system.
" What more there is of the blood than enough to repair the present damages of the machine, must not be lost, but should be returned again to the heart; and for this purpose the venous sys tem is provided. These requisites in the animal explain the circu lation of the blood.
" The old materials which have become useless, and are swept off by the current of blood, must be separated and thrown out of the system. Therefore glands, the organs of secretion, are given for straining whatever is redundant, vapid or noxious, from the mass of blood, and when strained, they are thrown out by organs of excretion.
" But as the machine is constantly in action, the reparation must be carried on without intermission, and the strainers must always be employed. Therefore, there is actually a perpetual cir culation of the blood, and the secretions are always going on " All this provision, however, would not be sufficient, for that store of blood would soon be consumed, and the fabric would break down if there was not a provision made for fresh supplies. These, we observe, are profusely scattered around us in the animal and vegetable kingdoms, and hands, the fittest instruments that could be contrived, are furnished for gathering them, and for preparing them in a variety of ways for the mouth.
" But these supplies which we call food, must be considerably changed - they must be converted into blood. Therefor are pro vided teeth for cutting and bruising the food, and a stomach for melting it down. In short, all the organs subservient to digestion. The finer parts of the aliment only can be useful in the constitution. These must be taken up and conveyed into the blood, and the dregs must be thrown off. With this view the intestinal canal is provided. It separates the nutritious part, which we call chyle, to be conveyed into the blood by the system of absorbent vessels, and the coarser parts pass downward to be ejected.
" We have now got our animal not only furnished with what is wanting for its immediate existence, but also with powers for pro tracting that existence to an indefinite length of time. But its dura tion, we may presume, must necessarily be limited, for as it is nourished, grows, and is raised up to its full strength and perfection, so it must in time, in common with all material beings, begin to decay and then hurry on to final ruin. Hence we see the necessity for a scheme for its renovation. Accordingly a wise Providence, to perpetuate as well as to preserve His work, besides giving a strong appetite for life and self-preservation, has made animals male and female, to continue the propagation of the species to the end of time.
" Thus we see that by the very imperfect survey which human reason is able to take of this subject, the animal man must neces sarily be complete in his corporeal system and in its operations. " If we consider the whole animal structure in this light, and compare it with any machine in which human art has exerted its utmost skill, we shall be convinced beyond the possibility of doubt, that intelligence and power have been exerted in its formation far surpassing anything of which men can boast.
" One superiority in the animal economy is peculiarly striking. In machines of human contrivance there is no internal power, no principle in the machine itself by which it can alter and accommo date itself to any injury which it may suffer or remedy any mischief which admits of repair. But in the animal body this is most won derfully provided for by the internal powers of the system, many of which are not more certain and obvious in their effects than they are above all human comprehension as to the manner and means of their operation. Thus a wound heals by a natural process ; a broken bone is made firm again by a deposit of new bony matter; a dead part is separated and thrown off; noxious juices are driven out; a bleeding naturally stops of itself; a great loss of blood from any cause is in some measure compensated by a contracting power in the vascular system, which accommodates the capacity of the vessels to the quantity contained. The stomach given information when the supplies have been exhausted; gives intimations with great exactness of the quantity and quality of what is wanted in the present state of the machine ; and in proportion as it meets with neglect, rises in its demands and urges its petition in a louder tone and with more forcible arguments.
" For the protection of the animal amidst the fluctuations in the heat of external bodies, a power of generating warmth has been provided; and to prevent its undue accumulation in a heated atmosphere, or its excessive loss in a cold one, the quantity carried away is regulated with wonderful nicety to its wants ; so that an equal temperature is preserved in all the range of climates, from the extreme point of habitable existence near the poles to the intense heat of the equatorial regions.
" A farther excellence in the natural machine, and, if possible, a still more astonishing and more beyond all human comprehension than that of which we have been speaking, is the capability indi viduals possess of reproducing beings like themselves, which are again endowed with similar powers for producing others, and so of multiplying the species without end.
" These are powers which mock all human invention or imita tion. They are characteristics of the Divine Architect. "
CONTENTS OF ANATOMY AND PHYSIOLOGY:
-The Nervous System
--The Organs of Circulation. --Organs of Respiration. --Organs of Digestion. --Organs of Excretion.
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