Causes of Death Definitions

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

AGUE - see Febris Intermittents

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B

BILIOUS FEVER

Bilious fever related to certain intestinal and malarial fevers . Bilious fever usually occurs in more temperate climates in the summer or fall. In this fever, the rise of temperature is usually slow. The patient will look ill, have a strong pulse, flush face, and furred tongue. The temperature of the patient will rise gradually instead of suddenly.

Etiology: When a continual, remitting, or intermitting fever is accompanied with a frequent or copious evacuation of bile, either by vomit or stool, the fever is denominated bilious .

Treatment: A liquid diet should be given to the patient in order to treat this disease.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalent: Bilious fever is also known as remittent fever.

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BOWEL COMPLAINT--see Inflammation of the bowel.

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C

CANKER

Canker is characterized by a small, shallow, yellowish ulcer below the tongue or on the inside of the lips. The ulcer usually occurs with some type of digestive disorder.  Canker is sensitive to touch and results in pain during chewing and talking. Its symptoms consist of an inflammation of the mucus membrane of the mouth and tongue.

Etiology: The causes of canker may include poisons (such as mercury or lead), debilitating diseases such as consumption, or bad hygiene.

Treatment: Treatment for Canker includes touching the ulcer with a point of a toothpick dipped in poisonous carbolic acid.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume II. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Similar types of inflammation of the mouth occur in two other diseases, syphilis and diphtheria. In diphtheria the membrane over the tonsils may spread to the cheeks, tongue, and lips.

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CHILDBED FEVER OR COMPLICATIONS OF CHILD BIRTH

The occurrence of fever, during the first week after labor and is the first sign suggestive of blood poisoning (from entrance of germs into the womb).

Etiology:  Entrance of germs into womb following childbirth.

Treatment:  Should be avoided by perfect cleanliness in regard to the patient which applies fully to the attendant, who should always wash her hands thoroughly before touch the patient and all clothing and articles coming contact with the patient must be scrupulously clean. 

Source:  Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Equivalent:  Complication of child birth commonly caused by Group B Streptococcus.

CHILLS AND FEVER

Chills and fever may be characterized as a malarial fever. Chills and fever are most prevalent during the rainy season. Thus, although some cases may occur in the spring, most exist in the autumn or even toward winter; and is most often found outside of cities. The chills and fever exist in 48 or 72-hour cycles, depending on the parasite with which a patient has been infected. The parasites usually undergo development in the red blood cells. Upon the destruction of these cells, the chills and fever develop, returning every 48 or 72 hours. The entire chills and fever system may last from 4-6 hours, depending on the severity. Between the systems, the patient may feel as if they are of normal health. These systems may occur every 48 or 72 hours intervals. The chills and fever develop in three stages: cold, hot and sweating. The cold stage may be defined by the loss of energy, pain, nausea, headaches and vomiting. Shivering begins, resulting in the patients' development of a chill. The body shakes, the face turns blue, goose bumps form, the teeth shatter and the affected individual has extreme cold, which will last from 15 minutes to approximately one hour. The hot stage is defined by a heat sensation and high fever (between 101 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit) that follows the cold sensations of the Cold Stage. The individual will be thirsty, have headaches, and a strong pulse. The Hot stage may last 30 minutes to three or four hours. In the sweat stage perspiration exists all over the body and the patient will probably fall asleep.

Etiology: The cause of chills and fever were found in 1880-Doctor Laveran a French Army surgeon who found the same parasite in the blood of every individual affected with chills and fevers. It has been discovered that these tiny parasites (carried by the mosquito) are found in malarial fevers. Mosquitoes transfer chills and fever. Mosquitoes acquire the parasite from biting someone who already harbors the parasite. The mosquito then transfers that parasite by biting and infecting a new person. In other words, the parasite may not exist in a population until someone already infected is introduced. It may then be transferred through mosquitoes. Chills and fever usually develops in a person a few days to two weeks after being bitten by the mosquito.

Treatment: The best way to treat chills and fever is to remove the patient to a non-malarious country with a high altitude. If the patient is already infected, the best care is to confine the diseased to a bed.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Chills and Fever are found today in the malarial class of fevers.

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CONGESTIVE CHILLS – Malarial disease like symptoms as seen in intermittent fever with the addition of diarrhea.

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CONGESTIVE FEVER -see Febris Intermittents

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CONSUMPTION

Consumption is from “consumo” which means, “to waste away.” Consumption begins with a short, dry cough, followed by the spitting up of both mucus and blood. Respiration becomes hurried and the patient loses weight through loss of appetite. Patients suffering from consumption usually have pain in some part of the thorax or under the sternum. The pain may also spread to one of the sides so a person cannot lie on that side. By the end of the disease, the patients may look like a walking skeleton. The patients' countenance is changed, cheeks are prominent, eyes look hollow, hair falls out, and feet swell. It appears that the lungs are destroyed throughout the disease. Although the patients' appearance is altered, the senses and mind are not affected during the disease. Patients are usually positive and believe that they are perfectly healthy. A Medical Dictionary claimed, “ It is, indeed, a happy circumstance attendant on phthisis (consumption), that those who labor under it are seldom apprehensive or aware of any danger; and it is no uncommon occurrence to meet with persons laboring under its most advanced state, glittering themselves with a speedy recovery, and forming distant projectors under that vain hope.” Consumption is usually developed between puberty and the age of 25 and may prove fatal within six weeks.

Etiology: Consumption is a contagious disease, which is caused by hereditary disposition and a depression in the nervous system. It may also result from dust created by stonecutters and millers or from the fumes of metals or minerals in the air. Additionally, consumption may be caused by exertions, grief, disappointment, anxiety, strong liquor, diarrhea, diabetes, or lack of exercise.

Treatment: Consumption may be treated by drawing blood with leeches and keeping the bowels soluble by gentle laxatives. Inhalation of steam may soothe the lungs. Pain may be relieved through the use of hemlock. A person with consumption should have a diet consisting of milk, vegetables, fruit, and shellfish. It has been recorded that sailing will help treat consumption.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume II. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Synonyms of consumption include marasmus and phthisis. Today, the cause of the disease is the result of a bacterium, termed bacillus tuberculosis, which develops in the lungs.

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CONGESTION OF THE BRAIN

Congestion is defined as a collection of blood or other fluid; thus we say a congestion of blood in the vessels, when they are over distended, and the motion is slow. Congestion is named depending on what part of the body is affected by it. Congestion of the brain is called Cerebral Congestion.

Etiology: An abnormal amount of fluid to a vessel or organ is due either to an increased amount of fluid, or to an obstruction of return flow.

Treatment: Congestion of the brain may be treated sustaining strength through nourishing food. Also a patient may shave their heat and rubbing it nightly with an ointment containing mercury. The fluid may be gradually removed by taking warm baths

Sources: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Congestion of the brain may also be a form of or related to hydrocephalus.

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CROUP

Croup is a disease that affects infants, and has never been known to attack a person at the age of puberty. Croup is more prevalent in cold environments, and is characterized by a sore throat. Croup is known by pain and redness of the throat, accompanied by a difficulty of swallowing and breathing. Sufferers often have a short, dry cough, and expiration of a concrete membranous sputum. Upon contracting the disease the child appears drowsy, inactive, fretful, and a cough that has a shrill sound. The face becomes flushed and they have difficulty breathing. The cough sounds like the yelping of a dog and respiration is performed with a hissing noise as if the throat were obstructed. As the patient struggles for air, they also have much thirst, fever, and restlessness. The child may also have muscular contractions on their fingers and toes and may further result in convulsions. The croup generally proves fatal by suffocation and death may occur after 24 hours, but usually occurs on the fourth or fifth day.

Etiology: Difficulty of swallowing and breathing, both characteristic of croup, is caused by inflammation of the throat, which impedes respiration. A viral or bacterial infection, an allergy, a foreign body, or new growth may also cause croup .

Treatment: In order to treat the disease, blood is taken from the arm and leaches should be applied along the fore part of the neck. When croup appears to be proceeding to a fatal termination, mercury has, in several instances, stopped the progression of the disease. Warm wraps may also be used as well as hot-water bags.

Sources: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume II. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Croup is also known as Cynanche. It is now known that these symptoms are often associated with diphtheria, spasmodic laryngitis, and a third disease, spasmodic croup, to which the term is now alone applied. True croup is known as Laryngeal Diphtheria.

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D

DROPSY OF THE BRAIN

Dropsy, also known as water on the brain, is a collection of serous fluid in the cellular membrane of the brain. It also occurs when a fluid is collected in the ventricles of the brain, producing dilation of the pupils. It may be of a chronic nature when the water increases to an enormous quantity which effects the bones of the head and there is absorption of the brain. Symptoms of dropsy on the brain include pain in the head, dilation of the pupils, nausea, vomiting, slowness of the pulse and convulsions, loss of appetite and increase in the size of the head.

Etiology: Dropsy of the brain is caused by a collection of water between the membranes of the brain. It also appears that dropsy is a result of an inflammation of the arachnoid (meninge) membrane of the brain.

Treatment: Sustaining strength with nourishing food may treat dropsy of the brain. Also a patient may shave their head and rub it at night with a mercury containing ointment. The fluid may be gradually removed by taking warm baths.

Source:Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Hydrocephalus is a modern day equivalent of dropsy of the brain.

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DIARRHEA

Diarrhea refers to “a purging.” Diarrhea is distinguished by frequent stools and is not contagious. In a case of diarrhea, the stomach usually becomes sick and may include vomiting. The countenance may grow pale and the skin generally becomes dry. At times diarrhea may result in death due to dehydration. Other symptoms of diarrhea due to relaxed bowels include griping pains in stomach, sometimes twisting; coated tongue; fever; and tenderness of stomach.

Etiology: Diarrhea may be causes from bile, overloading the stomach, relaxed bowels, mucous, and worms. Diet also plays an important role in the cause of diarrhea. At times, diarrhea is only the natural way for the body to rid itself of injurious or indigestible material. Diarrhea is also a possible side effect of exposure to the cold.

Treatment: If the patient has diarrhea from indigestible food, they should allow all of that material to be evacuated from the body. A laxative may be helpful in releasing the material. Additionally, the liver may be treated by the cautious use of mercury. Also, bathing, warm clothing, and gentle exercise may be effective in treatment. The diet is the most important factor in treating diarrhea. The diet must not include foods that irritate the bowels. Fish, milk, vegetables, rice and bread are the best. Upon recovery, rhubarb will prevent permanent constipation.

Sources: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume III. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalents: Diarrhea is still commonly used today.

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DROPSY

Dropsy is a premature swelling of the whole body, or some part of it, occasioned by a collection of watery humor. Dropsy can affect various parts of the body including the liver and heart, the abdomen, the brain (hydrocephalus), and the chest (hydrothorax). More precisely, dropsy is defined as a collection of a serous fluid in the cellular membrane, in the viscera and the circumscribed cavities of the body.

Etiology: Dropsy is caused by an effusion of fluid into the areolar tissue beneath the skin or into one of the serous cavities of the body . General dropsy may result when functions of the skin are suddenly suppressed, thus allowing certain morbid materials to accumulate in the blood.

Treatment: Treatment for dropsy includes the removal of the fluid accumulation by increasing the secretion of urine and producing watery evacuations of the bowels. Additionally, puncture, or the tapping of the skin may remove the liquid in the serous cavities. The diet of the patient is also extremely important and efforts should be made to restrict the diet to a small amount of fluid.

Sources: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Dropsy is modernly referred to as edema.

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DYSENTERY

Dysentery is an illness involving severe diarrhea containing blood and mucus. Abdominal pain, rectal urgency, and sometimes fever are present.

Etiology: Dysentery is caused by bacterial, viral, protozoan, or parasitic infections and is most common in places with inadequate sanitation, were food and water become comtaminated with pathogens.

Treatment: In adults, dysentery caused by bacteria usually subsides spontaneously. But in children, and other vulnerable groups, the condition can be treated with antibiotics. Since the person infected may become severely dehydrated, they will require rehydration.

Sources: Dirckx, John H. M.D. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions 3rd edition. Dayton, Ohio: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; Venes, Donald M.D. and Clayton L. Thomas, M.D. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 19th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 2001.

Modern Day Equivalents: Today it is still known as dysentery.

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E

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F

FEVER (FEBRIS)

The fever is characterized by an increase of heat, a quick pulse and an impaired state of several bodily functions. A fever usually starts with a gradual approach called an onset or an incubation period. A feeling of weariness, dry skin, cold hands and feet, loss of appetite, and headaches define a fever. After the fever, there is a stage of decline which lads to recovery as the symptoms become less sever. After the stage of decline, the body and its functions will resume their normal course.

Etiology: Fever appears to be caused by poor hygiene, bad food, symptoms of various diseases, and/or, other unknown causes.

Treatment: A fever may be treated by plenty of rest and an improved diet.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: Also known today as a fever.

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FEBRIS INTERMITTENS - The Intermittent Fever or Ague

The intermittent fever, or ague, is also, like chills and fever, a malarial disease. This type of fever is also known by cold, hot, and sweating stages in succession, attended by a remission. The body is most vulnerable under a poor water diet, fatigue, grief, anxiety, and exposure to damp beds or cloth. Those organs that are participants in the formation of bile, such as the liver, are usually the most affected by those that die from the ague. This fever is characterized by three stages: the cold, the hot and the sweating stages. The cold stage results in a pale face and extremities, features shrink, and the skin becomes constricted. The patient will feel cold and will have pain in the head, back, loins, and joints. Additionally, the patient will also have nausea, vomit, colorless urine, and thoughts that are confused. This stage may last 15 minutes to one hour. The hot stage commences with heat over the whole body, redness of the face, dryness of the skin, thirst, pain, anxiety, and restlessness. If the attack is severe, the body temperature may reach 105 degrees and delirium will arise. When the fever continues for a long length of time, the patient may have a loss of appetite, flatulency, debility and although not common, it may prove fatal. This stage may last 30 minutes to four hours. The sweating stage is defined by extreme perspiration as the temperature goes down. Like the other malarial diseases, intermittent fever occurs in cycles. Intermittent fever may occur daily, 48, or 72-hour cycle. Anemia is an example of a complication that may occur as a result of these cycles. The lack of red blood cells may leave the patient with a yellowish tint along with additional muscle weakness and fatigue. Relapses are common in ague and may occur within five to six months. Intermittent fever may not be overcome as long as the patient has visceral disease.

Etiology: Intermittent fever is transferred via the mosquito. The ague is caused by stagnant water or marshy ground.

Treatment: Overcoming the visceral disease may involve local bleeding. If the disease involves the liver, mercury may be used successfully.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: This disease is also related to various malarial diseases.

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FITS

Fits may have a reference to epilepsy or external injuries to the head. A fit may also refer to a cramp, spasm, or convulsion. It includes an involuntary contraction of the muscular fibers. When the contractions alternate with relaxation, they are called convulsions. The body will become rigid. Diseases such as scarlet fever and whooping cough may include fits as one of their symptoms. Spasms and contractions may spread to other muscles, becoming so severe that the arms and fists curl tightly, the feet curl down, and the body assumes a stiff backward arch as the heels and back of the head bend toward each other. Complete, unrelenting contraction of the diaphragm results in a final inhalation. Patients die because they cannot exhale.

Etiology: Fits may be caused by constipation of the bowels, indigestions, irritation of the gums, or fright.

Treatment: To treat a fit you can place the patient in a warm bath and place a cold-water cloth on their head.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: Fits may have reference to epilepsy or external injuries to the head. Additionally, today we also know that fits may be caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani .

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FLUX - see Dysentery and Diarrhea

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G

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H

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I

INFLAMMATION OF THE BOWELS

Those with a bowel complaint have an inflammation of the peritoneum, or serous sac over the intestines, liver, and spleen. It is the most likely part of the body to become inflamed. Symptoms of inflammation of the bowels include an increase in body temperature and pain in the abdomen that increases in an upright position. Additional symptoms include a chill with a moderate fever, quick fever, constipation, vomiting and difficult respiration.

Etiology: Inflammation of the bowels is caused by exposure to wet and cold, perforation of an ulcer or traumatic events.

Treatment: To treat this disease, the patient must have a restricted diet and receive cold and wet applications to the stomach. Surgery may also help the patient. Peritonitis includes various diseases but is not distinguishable and they are all treated in the same manner.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume III. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: The modern day equivalent of inflammation of the bowels is peritonitis. Today, Peritonitis is the term used to describe the situation where bacteria ulcerate and perforate the intestinal wall, allowing bacteria from the intestinal tract to enter the abdominal cavity.

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INFLAMMATION OF THE HEAD

Inflammation of the head is a virulent disease that should be taken seriously. It is recognized by names such as inflammation of the brain, inflammation of the head, and phrenzy. The disease typically lasts from 6-12 days, and ends in paralysis or death. It is generally seen in children and has symptoms similar to those for worms and hydrophobia. Scarlet fever and inflammation of the inner ear, can lead to inflammation of the head because of mobility of the disease through the blood. It is characterized by a flushed face, fever, dizziness, headaches, redness of the face and eyes, fullness in the head, weakness, restlessness, vomiting, constipation, and convulsions. Delirium hits on the 5-7 th days and leads up to the state of phrenzy. Specifically it is noted for the patient’s intolerance and heightened sensitivity to light and noise. The symptoms affect a variety of areas in the body in conjunction with the interaction of the brain with the entire body.

Etiology: Inflammation of the head, also known as encephalitis, Phrenitis, or brain fever, is commonly attributed to head injury. Other possible contributing factors are prolonged mental strain, excess of alcohol or liquor, and excess of venereal activity.

Treatment: Treatment begins with emptying the stomach and bowels through such means as purgatives or emetics like senna. Lobelia, a sweating agent, is administered along with lady ginger to help with restlessness. Typical of practice at the time, the patient was bled with the belief of cleaning the body through the release of bodily fluids. The patient’s head would be shaved in an attempt to help cool the body. Ointments such as nervine liniment were rubbed on the spine to soothe the patient. A cool rag is to be applied to the forehead frequently to decrease swelling. The feet should receive draughts of air occasionally and should be soaked in warm water. The patient should be kept in a dimly lit room away from noise and should eat nourishing light food in small portions. If the inflammation is due to a fractured skull, surgery is probably necessary.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Gardner, Marlin and Benjamin H. Alyworth. The Domestic Physician, and Family Assistant, in four parts. Bedford, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 1836; Greer, J. H. Dr. A Physician in the House, for family and Individual Consultation. Chicago: Model Publishing Company, 1897.

Modern Day Equivalent: encephalitis, meningitis, or brain abscess

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INFLAMMATION OF THE LUNGS

Inflammation of the lungs is characterized by pain in the side or chest, difficulty breathing, dryness of skin, a cough, thirst, and discharging of substance from the lungs which frequently is bloody. Suffocation can be a threat and if occurs the blood vessels in the neck swell, the face turns purple, and a fast release of blood from the lungs “deprives the patient of life.” It is also known as lung fever or winter fever.

Etiology: Commonly occurs in the winter or spring when there is a drastic change from hot to cold. Those previously diagnosed are more susceptible to the recurring of the disease.

Treatment: To treat inflammation of the lungs, the patient should profusely sweat for several hours. This may be attained by a vapor bath or medication. It is beneficial early on in the treatment to bleed the patient until they faint from loss of blood. This should occur on an empty stomach. Digitalis is given to decrease the blood circulation. For more serious cases opiates such as syrup of poppy or a full dose of opium may be given at night to assist in sleep, along with calomel and antimony to help regulate the body’s temperature.

To clear the lungs, inhalation of steam or cough powder may be used to loosen the mucous and emetic is given to induce vomiting clearing the air passage of thick matter. Demulcents, an oily substance to coat the irritated mucous membrane, or a cooling sialagogues, a substance that promotes saliva, are given to suppress coughs.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Gardner, Marlin and Benjamin H. Alyworth. The Domestic Physician, and Family Assistant, in four parts. Bedford, Massachusetts: Applewood Books, 1836.

Modern Day Equivalents: Pneumonia

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L

LUNG FEVER- see inflammation of the lungs

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M

MEASLES

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is caused by the rubeola virus. Symptoms include fever, general malaise, sneezing, nasal congestion, brassy cough, conjunctivitis, and spots over the entire body. The incubation period is about 10-12 days during which there are no symptoms. The characteristic rash and symptoms will last 4-5 days. The prognosis is favorable for a healthy child is favorable, but the disease can be serious, even deadly. The occurrence of measles before age 6 months is relatively uncommon, because of passively acquired maternal antibodies from the immune mother. An attack of measles will bring permanent immunity. Today, a measles vaccine is available.

Etiology: Measles is highly contagious and is contracted through respiration (contact with fluids from an infected person's nose and mouth, either directly or through aerosol transmission).

Treatment: Because measles is so contagious, the patient should be kept in isolation until 4 days after the rash appears. Bedrest and a calm cool environment are provided, along with adequate fluid intake and whatever can be done to relieve the symptoms of cough, fever and itching. Care should be taken in washing hands in order to prevent contraction of the disease.

Sources: Dirckx, John H. M.D. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions 3rd edition. Dayton, Ohio: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; Venes, Donald M.D. and Clayton L. Thomas, M.D. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 19th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 2001.

Modern Day Equivalent: Today it is still known as measles.

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N

NERVOUS FEVER- see Typhus Fever

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S

SCARLET FEVER (Scarlatina)

Scarlatina affects people of all ages, but children and young persons are most subject to it. Scarlatina is an extremely contagious disease and is similar to the measles. It may be transferred through articles of clothing. The most contagious time for this disease is within the first three or four days of the illness. The chief sources of the disease are discharges from the ears, nose, or mouth. Scarlet fever begins like other fevers with confusion of ideas, chills and shivering, alternated by fits of heat. Additionally the person will be thirsty, have dry skin, anxiety, nausea, vomit, dull redness of the eye, deafness, delirium, and the tongue, teeth and lips are covered in black or brown. During about one third of the day, the scarlet rash appears on the skin. This occurs for three to four days until the fever subsides, the “scarf-skin” falls off and the patient regains their former strength.

Etiology: Scarlet fever is a rash accompanied by a sore throat. The causes are unknown.

Treatment: Applying cold cloths to the neck treats this disease. The patient may also gargle with salt water.

Sources: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalents: Scarlet Fever is also known today by the same name, Scarlet Fever. Today it is also known that the disease is caused by a bacterium of the class Streptococcus.

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SCURVY

Scurvy can be found most prevalent in cold environments, and is characterized by a pale and bloated complexion, spongy gums, spots on the skin, offensive breath, hemorrhages, foul ulcers, and extremely offensive stools. As the scurvy advances, respiration is hurried, teeth become loose, gums are spongy, breath is offensive, old wounds reopen, and the amount of urine is small. The intellects, however, for the most part remain clear and distinct. In the last stage of the disease, the joints are swelled and stiff, the tendons of the legs are rigid, hemorrhages break forth, and diarrhea or dysentery may arise. The patient will bruise even with the slightest blow.

Etiology: The scurvy is caused first of all by the lack of fresh food, especially a diet lacking Vitamin C. A diet consisting of salted food will produce this disease. The reason that salted provisions increases the prevalence of the scurvy is because they are drained of their nutritious juices, which then becomes extracted. The disease is more prevalent in cold environments than warm and is caused by cold and moisture, deprivation of fresh provisions, confinement, want of exercise, neglect of cleanliness, labor, fatigue, and sadness.

Treatment: In order to treat the scurvy, the patient must have a diet of fresh vegetables. It is important that the patient partakes of foods that contain native acid such as oranges and lemons. Many plants such as mustard, horseradish and garlic have also proved. The spongy state of the gums is improved by washing the mouth with sufficiently diluted mineral acids.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume II. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: Today it is also knows as the scurvy or scorbutus.

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SMALL POX OR VARIOLA

This very contagious disease is transferred through the air from those already contaminated. Particles of skin from an infected patient, bodily excretions, clothing, and other surroundings of a patient are noted as contagions. The most infectious time is when the pox erupts. Small pox is known to travel from a pregnant mother to the child. There is an interval between when the patient is exposed to the disease and when the first symptoms appear, typically being ten to twelve days. During this time the patient may feel fatigued or experience a loss of appetite, but neither of these cueing the serious disease developing. Small pox thrives off of filth and is intensified in unsanitary conditions.

Small pox is classified into two types, distinct, where it is identified as separate pimples, and confluent where the pimples run together into one big mess. Confluent is of a more serious nature and the patient is more susceptible to difficulties of a glandular (glands) or scrofulous (tuberculosis of the lymph nodes in the neck) nature. Specific to confluent small pox in adults, the mucous increases and becomes thick. There also appears to be a correlation between the location of the pimples and areas where air is accessible.

Traditional cycle of the disease

Day1: high fever; rash on torso area, thighs, and armpits (similar to scarlet fever or measles)

Day 3-4: red pimples become tipped; fever subsides along with majority of symptoms

Day 6-8: fever returns and blisters fill with puss

Day 13-14: drying; yellow/brownish crusts form; puss drains

Day 12-24 layers of crust fall off being thinner each time

The patient appears to look like they have acne or chicken-pox but will be significantly sicker with a fever, headache, back pain, and general fatigue. The disease begins with chills and fever, head ache, pain in the limbs, loss of appetite, nausea, increased thirst, and dizziness. The tongue may be covered in a white fur and the bowels will be constipated. These symptoms would lead a person to believe the body was trying to rid itself of poison. Small pox works its way down through the body as it spreads, often starting on the face and head and traveling to the arms and hands. Small pox is rarely seen on the torso, groin, and legs. The swelling of the face is not only painful but often causes the eyes and throat to be swollen, making swallowing and seeing difficult. The fever will increase up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit and may be accompanied by delirium. If delirium is present, special attention is needed to prevent the patient from escaping from bed. Boils may also be seen in the later stages. Other noted complications are pneumonia, insanity, heart disease, laryngitis, paralysis, inflammation of the joints, eyes, and ears, baldness, and other skin eruptions.

Eruption is seen in four forms, first it appears as red spots along or near the hair line, then they appear like a blister tipped with a depressed center, and then they fill with puss or matter surrounded by red inflammation. The fluid turns a yellow/brownish shade of color. Then the pus will ooze out omitting an unpleasant odor and form to crust which will flake off and leave a scar.

Reoccurrence of small pox is very unlikely. There are multiple classifications of the disease classified by the intensity. Varioloid is diagnosed for a mild case of small pox which typically lasts no longer than two weeks. Varioloid is seen in people who have been vaccinated. It has no second onset of fever and does not leave scars. Very serious cases of small pox are also called Malignant, Hemorrhagic, and as commonly recognized, Black Small Pox. It is fatal and requires immediate treatment. The symptoms appear quickly after exposure and all symptoms are increased in severity. The fourth day, black spots appear because the pimples fill with blood rather than puss. Bleeding may be seen from the mouth, nose, bowels, kidneys, and womb. Death is usually seen within five to ten days of initial signs but may be prolonged up to sixteen days.

Etiology: Everyone is susceptible to small pox but younger children are at a higher risk. Children with the disease are also known to have convulsions and diarrhea. Small pox is fatal for those under the age of ten. It is most commonly seen in the spring and summer, though it may attack during any season. It is more fatal in the lower class people where hygiene is of little consideration.

Treatment: The most effective prevention is cleanliness and observing proper hygiene. Once exposed the patient should bathe daily, avoid, excesses, and eat a wholesome but light diet high in fruits and vegetables. Once the diagnosis is certain, the disease must take its course and the patient can only endure. To ease the patient, they should reside in a clean, dark, quiet and even temperature room near 62 degrees Fahrenheit and not exceeding 68 degrees Fahrenheit. They should be isolated in a room with few furnishings. A good nurse and frequent changes of clothing and bedding are beneficial.

If the patient is middle aged and healthy, bleeding should be instigated. Emetics should be given to induce vomiting as long as there is no external pain at the stomach. The bowels should be cleared and if the lungs are strong, the patient should be exposed frequently to the cold air. Opium is given to relieve irritations of the skin, to help the patient rest, to treat diarrhea, and is the main medication used when convulsions occur. If constipation arises, milk of magnesia is given to help move the bowels. Sweating is promoted if the skin is hot and dry.

The diet should be light consisting of broths, milk, gruel, and foods of a similar nature. For beverages, cold water and lemonade are advisable when the fever occurs, along with frequent sponging with cool. To relieve the patients with a high fever over 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit and when accompanied by restlessness and delirium, they may be wrapped into what is called a cold pack. This consists of a wet cold sheet wrapped closest to the body, covered by a dry blanket, and then a wet cloth or ice bag is placed on the head. Or to treat delirium and restlessness, an injection of catnip and lady-slipper is given to the stomach. When the fever subsides sponging should continue but with warm water.

Itching may be relieved or decreased by administering a paste of potter’s clay with sweet oil or witch hazel extract to the face. Similar to acne, the poxes, once ripe, may be poked with a needle and the puss can be squeezed out to avoid pitting. To protect the eyes, a cooling lotion may be applied or if needed leeches can be applied to the temples. The cooling lotion may also be applied to blisters behind the ears. The hair is cute short to treat the pimples along the hair line. Keep them sponged with carbolized vaseline to help them to soften and fall off more quickly. Anything the patient comes in contact with must be cleansed by boiling, burning, or soaking in acid to prevent spreading the disease.

If not treated correctly, diseases such as articular rheumatism, blindness, loss of hearing, and nervous troubles may follow. The patient is released when there are no remaining scabs; they have bathed and put on new or disinfected clothes.

The best prevention for small pox is the cow pox vaccination. When an epidemic strikes, typically half of the non vaccinated patients die. The patients who have been vaccinated once drop to a death rate of eight percent and each additional vaccination drops the percentage even further. The small pox vaccination is obtained from an eruption from an infected calf. The vaccination can be destroyed by heat to storing and transferring require great attention. The certainty of the protection from the vaccination is unsure. It is believed to last from four to five years, but it is advised to be vaccinated each time an epidemic occurs. If ever the validity of the vaccination is in question, it is safer to give a second vaccination at the same time. For those who are continuously exposed to small pox, a vaccination should be given every few weeks. New born children should be vaccinated two or three days after birth. It is possible for a person who has been exposed to get vaccinated within a couple of days to escape the disease.

To administer the vaccination, the arm is cleaned and then the skin is scratched just enough to remove the outer layer of skin. The vaccination is applied and absorbed into the blood. The scratch should not draw blood because it can wash away the vaccination. Once the vaccination is completely absorbed, the arm is wrapped with gauze to protect the wound. Three days following the vaccination, a pimple will appear. Essentially the body goes through the cycle of the disease on a very minor minor scale. The patient might experience a slight fever. By the fifth day the eruption should be capped with a blister and filled with fluid. By the eighth day, the cycle will reach its max. The 11 th day the blister begins to dry and by the 14 th day it has scabbed and should fall off around the 21 st day. It will leave a little scar. The more times a vaccination is given, the shorter the duration of the cycle. The cycle is of a milder stage each time. It is possible for a patient who gets the vaccination to become infected with the disease. It is very uncommon but worth noting.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Greer, J. H. Dr. A Physician in the House, for family and Individual Consultation. Chicago: Model Publishing Company, 1897; Dirckx, John H. M.D. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions 3rd edition. Dayton, Ohio: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; Venes, Donald M.D. and Clayton L. Thomas, M.D. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 19th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 2001; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Equivalent: Smallpox was declared eradicated in 1979 because of the success of vaccination. There are laboratories that contain the variola virus but they are under strict restrictions.

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SPASMS

Spasms are characterized by an involuntary contraction of the muscular fibers. Spasms may also occur when the muscles are consistently contract without relaxing.

Etiology: Spasms may be caused by constipation of the bowels, indigestions, irritation of the gums, or fright.

Treatment: To treat a spasm you can place the patient in a warm bath and place a cold-water cloth on their head.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944.

Modern Day Equivalents: Spasms are also referred to modernly as spasms.

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SUMMER COMPLAINT

Summer complaint is a popular term for any diarrheal disorder occurring in summer, especially when produced by heat and indigestion. The disease is found almost entirely in the infant population. The first symptoms may be in the stomach, bowels, hands and feet. These symptoms may be followed by offensive vomit. The child will have a loss of body heat and intense thirst. Without relief, the infant will have a cold perspiration and the disease may become chronic until their death. Summer complaint may also be known by names such as cholera infantum, weaning brash, water gripes, and choleric fever in children.

Etiology: Summer complaint is caused in part by hot weather and/or poor ventilation. Summer complaint in infants is often caused by spoiled milk or other unwholesome, indigestible food. An additional cause may include painful teething.

Treatment: The first step in treating Summer Complaint is to remove the cause. If the infant is nursing, the mother's diet should be improved. The patient should receive pure air and sunlight. If the disease is a result of teething, the gums must be lanced.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume III. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalents: Summer complaint is referred today as Cholera Infanutm or infantile diarrhea. The disease may also be related to dysentery.

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T

TYPHOID FEVER (ENTERIC FEVER)

Typhoid fever is an acute infectious disease which is characterized by a rising body temperature, rose-colored spots on the skin, physical exhaustion and loss of appetite, mental depression, and a dry mouth.  Mild forms are called gastric fever, slow fever, malarial fever, nervous fever, etc. 

Etiology:  The germ attacks the intestines chiefly but also invades the blood, and at times all other parts of the body.  It cause distention of the bowels and generally diarrhea.  Contamination of water supply through bad drainage is the principal source of epidemics of typhoid.  Flies are carriers of typhoid germs by lighting on the nose, the mouth, and the discharges of typhoid patients, and then conveying the germs to food, green vegetables and milk. 

Treatment: There are numerous complications.  Among them are diarrhea, delirium, mental and nervous diseases, bronchitis pleurisy, pneumonia, ear abscess, perforation of and hemorrhage from the bowels, inflammation of the gall bladder, and disease of heart, kidney, and bladder.  The essentials of treatment are rest, diet, and bathing. 

Source:  Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent:  Typhoid fever which is a generalized infection caused by Salmonella typhi.  The infection involves the lymphatic tissues and the symptoms are fever, rose-colored eruptions, abdominal signs and splenomegaly.

TYPHUS
FEVER

Typhus fever is a disease that commonly occurs in areas where humans are crowded closely together. The disease most often affects those who have a poor diet, fast, do hard labor, are deprived of sleep, and live under dirty conditions. The symptoms of typhus fever include shivering and chills, frontal headache, depression and loss of muscular strength, weariness and soreness, and pains in the head, back, and extremities. The eyes appear full, heavy, yellowish, and inflamed. The tongue is dry and parched, and respiration is difficult. Additionally, the breath is hot and offensive, urine is crude, and the pulse flutters. The fever begins abruptly with severe pain in the head. As the disease progresses, the pulse will increase rapidly (100-130 beats per minute). The tongue, mouth, lips, and teeth become covered over with a brown or black fur. The patients' speech becomes inarticulate and delirium ensues. They may find it impossible to concentrate on any one subject. The fever continues to increase as the breath becomes more highly offensive, the urine contains a black sentiment, the stools become offensive, and hemorrhages emerge from the gums, nostrils, mouth, and other parts of body. In the diseases final moments, livid spots appear on the patient's surface, the pulse sinks, the extremities grow cold, hiccoughs ensue, and “death at last closes the tragic scene.” Death will usually occur between the twelfth and twentieth days of the disease.

Etiology: Typhus fever is most generally caused by contagion, applied from a person, or through contact with affected clothing. This is why it occurs most commonly where people are living in close proximity to one other. Impure air and bad food appear to be predisposing factors to Typhus fever.

Treatment: It may be necessary to isolate those who are affected with typhus fever in order to preserve the rest of the population.

Source: Hooper, Robert M.D. F.L.S. Lexicon-Medicum; or Medical Dictionary. New York: J. & J. Harper, 1826; Scholl, B. Frank. Library ofHealth: Complete Guide to Prevention and Cure of Disease. Philadelphia: Historical Publishing Company, 1944; Winslow, Kenelm. The Home Medical Library, Volume I. New York: The Review of Reviews Co., 1911.

Modern Day Equivalent: Synonyms of typhus fever include malignant fever, jail fever, bilious fever, hospital fever, ship fever, putrid fever, nervous fever, and brain fever.

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WATER ON THE BRAIN – see Dropsy of the Brain (Hydrocephalus)

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WHOOPING COUGH

Whooping cough, also known as pertussis, is a highly contagious disease that is one of the leading causes of vaccine-preventable deaths. Most deaths occur in children under one year of age. After a 7 to 10 day incubation period, pertussis in infants and young children is characterized initially by mild respiratory infection symptoms such as cough, sneezing, and runny nose. After one to two weeks, the cough changes character, with paroxysms of coughing followed by an inspiratory "whooping" sound. Coughing fits may be followed be vomitting not necessarily due to nausea but doe to the sheer violence of the fit itself, which in severe cases leads to malnutrition. Coughing fits gradually diminish over one to two months.

Etiology: This disease is caused by a by the bacterium Bordetella Pertussis. Pertussis is spread by contact with airborne discharges from the mucous membranes of infected people.

Treatment: Immunization prevents pertussis in children younger than 7 years. Precautions should be taken to prevent the spread of the disease; isolation and bedrest should be provided. An antibiotic can help the person become less infectious but does not significantly alter the outcome of the disease.

Sources: Dirckx, John H. M.D. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions 3rd edition. Dayton, Ohio: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; Venes, Donald M.D. and Clayton L. Thomas, M.D. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 19th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 2001.

Modern Day Equivalent: Today it is known as pertussis.

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WINTER FEVER - see Inflammation of the Lungs

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WORMS

Parasitic worms are worm-like organisms that live and feed off a living host receiving nourishment and protection while disrupting its host's nutrient absorption, causing weakness and disease. All worm offspring are passed on through poorly cooked meat, especially pork, wild fish, and beef, contaminated water, feces, mosquitoes and, in general, areas of poor hygiene and food regulation standards. Worm eggs, larvae or even adult worms enter the human body through the mouth, anus, nose or skin with most species attaching themselves to the intestinal tract.

Sources: Dirckx, John H. M.D. Stedman’s Concise Medical Dictionary for the Health Professions 3rd edition. Dayton, Ohio: Williams & Wilkins, 1997; Venes, Donald M.D. and Clayton L. Thomas, M.D. Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary 19th edition. Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company, 2001.

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