The urine of the insane has been hitherto comparatively seldom the subject of minute examination, because, independent of the numerous opposing difficulties, no special importance was attached to it. And yet, more exact observations of the quantity of urine secreted by this class of patients should claim our interest on several grounds. This subject, moreover, cannot be ignored if we desire to penetrate the darkness which surrounds, especially in the insane, the complicated processes of chemical change; for it is in them that such peculiar and obscure phenomena of vital chemistry and nutrition occur. We see how other internal maladies, injuries, and wounds, without any treatment, are cured surprisingly quickly; how the insane, independent of the amount of food consumed, often undergo in a very short time, an astonishing increase or decrease of weight, and endure total abstinence from food incomparably longer than other individuals. Cases in point are recorded, which almost exceed belief. Thus, Wigand (Ueber Wahnsinn. Kempten, 1839), relates the detailed history of a lunatic who ate nothing for 62 days, and died in the hospital at Kempten, on the 63rd of starvation. In Henke's Medical Jurisprudence there is a similar case, where death occurred on the 64th day under violent convulsions.
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