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4. Therapeutic Retrospect

  • Harrington Sainsbury (a1)
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Dr. Julius Donath, of Budapesth, brings before our notice on p. 335 of the above journal his own experience with this compound. Reviewing the action of bromides in epilepsy, Dr. Donath holds that it can scarcely be doubted from clinical evidence that the effective agent in the bromides is bromine. Thus the bromides of potassium, sodium, and ammonium act alike in this disease, and moreover the same is found to hold of the recently introduced Rubidium-ammonium bromide (Prof. Laufenauer). The prolonged use of the bromides of the alkalies, is, however, liable to be followed by a train of toxic symptoms: Mental torpor, slow speech, unsteady gait, tremor, ataxia, in some cases mental derangement (delirium, maniacal attacks), further anæmia, wasting, skin eruptions, intestinal and bronchial catarrh. Of these, with the exception of the skin eruption, the cause, according to Dr. Donath, is the prolonged use of the alkalies, for other salts of potassium, for instance, may bring about the same results. Accordingly, Dr. Donath sought for some compound of bromide with more harmless base, and he thought to find amongst the organic compounds one such whose base, being burnt up in the body, would liberate an exceptionally active bromine, since it would act in statu nascendi. Amylene bromide was first thought of, but discarded, because of the difficulty of preparing a chemically pure compound, i.e., free from isomeric varieties. Ethylene bromide, C3H4Br2, which is readily obtained in purity, was ultimately selected. The compound is a slightly brownish liquid, having the odour of chloroform, and a sweet burning taste. At 0° C. it becomes a white crystalline solid; at 131° C. it boils. In water, the heavy liquid, Sp. gr. 2163, is insoluble, and sinks to the bottom, but it mixes in all proportions with rectified spirits, and in fixed fatty oils, e.g., the oil of sweet almonds, it dissolves to form a clear solution.

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The British Journal of Psychiatry
  • ISSN: -
  • EISSN: 2514-9946
  • URL: /core/journals/the-british-journal-of-psychiatry
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4. Therapeutic Retrospect

  • Harrington Sainsbury (a1)
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