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The Asclepiad. By Benjamin Ward Richardson, M.D., F.R.S. (Vol. 9., No. 35. 3rd Quarter, 1892).


This Journal shows no indication of waning vigour. In fact the present number contains a large amount of interesting matter. One note on “Nervous and Mental Derangement from Organic Sulphur Compounds” has reference to the instances of derangement of mind induced by exposure to inhalation of sulphuretted hydrogen related by Dr. Andrew Wilson on the observation of Dr. Wiglesworth. Dr. Richardson recalls his own observations presented to the British Association in 1870. He introduced the study of the effects produced by chemical substances modified by the introduction or abstraction of simple elementary parts, and insisted that it was necessary to commence with a base, and to follow the modifications of its actions through the varied compounds formed upon it. He indicated the peculiar action of the substance known as mercaptan or sulphur alcohol. It was shown that a person brought under its action was subjected to strange variations of mind and body, viz., a desire to sleep, a strange, unhappy, dreamy sensation as from some actual or impending trouble, succeeded by an easy but extreme sense of muscular fatigue, so that the limbs felt too heavy to be lifted, and with depression and slowness of pulse for several hours. Sulphur compounds were also shown by him to be readily constructable in the animal economy, and a new field of inquiry was opened as to their presence in the air of a sick room and in the excretions. When we know how minute a proportion of sulphur alcohol will produce mental depression bordering on suicidal propensity, we may infer that the formation of sulphur compounds within the body would account for many examples of excessive temporary prostration, for the cause of which we have as yet no explanation.

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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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The Asclepiad. By Benjamin Ward Richardson, M.D., F.R.S. (Vol. 9., No. 35. 3rd Quarter, 1892).

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