Dr. Clouston said that when he suggested toxæmia to the secretary as a suitable subject for a discussion at this meeting he had not intended to be the first speaker, because his object was to bring out more fully the views of the younger members who had recently committed themselves so strongly to the toxæmic and bacterial etiology of insanity, and so to get light thrown on some of the difficulties which he and others had felt in applying this theory to many of their cases in practice. It was not that he did not believe in the toxic theory as explaining the onset of many cases, or that he under-rated its importance, but that he could not see how it applied so universally or generally as some of the modern pathological school were now inclined to insist on. He knew that it was difficult for those of the older psychological and clinical school to approach the subject with that full knowledge of recent bacteriological and pathological doctrine which the younger men possessed, or to breathe that all-pervading pathological atmosphere which they seemed to inhale. He desired to conduct this discussion in an absolutely non-controversial and purely scientific spirit. To do so he thought it best to put his facts, objections, and difficulties in a series of propositions which could be answered and explained by the other side. He thought it important to define toxæmia, but should be willing to accept Dr. Ford Robertson's definition of toxines, viz., “Substances which are taken up by the (cortical nerve) cell and then disorder its metabolism.” He took the following extracts from his address at the Cheltenham meeting of the British Association (1) as representing Dr. Ford Robertson's views and the general trend of much investigation and hypothesis on the Continent.
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