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weakness, whether from general imperfect nutrition and diseased vessels, or from exhaustion of the cerebrospinal nervous system, or from failure of the nerve of organic life; atonic dyspepsia, as it might aptly be termed.
2nd. Dyspepsia from congestion, as observed in chronic disease of the lungs, heart, and bronchi, and also in chronic disease of the liver.
3rd. Inflammatory dyspepsia, whether arising from irritants, excesses, or improper diet.
4th. Hepatic dyspepsia, or “ bilious indigestion.” 5th. Rheumatic and gouty dyspepsia.
6th. The dyspepsia connected with disease of the kidney.
In the varieties of dyspepsia thus alluded to, the mucous membrane and its secretions are especially affected, there being either deficiency or excess in the gastric juice, or its character being changed by defective secondary assimilation or continued congestion. We shall then describe,
7th. Dyspepsia from mechanical interference with the muscular movements of the stomach.
8th. Nervous or sympathetic dyspepsia.
9th. Dyspepsia from fermentation of, or chemical change in, the contents of the stomach, and,
10th. Duodenal dyspepsia.
Still further we shall refer to it as a symptom of more serious organic diseases, as ulceration and cancer. In the earlier stages of these diseases the only indications of abnormal action are of a functional character, and a correct prognosis then requires the closest investigation, and a full knowledge of disease in all its relations.
ON THE CHANGES OF DIGESTION AT DIFFERENT PERIODS
· AND CONDITIONS OF LIFE.
The phenomenon of life does not present an unvarying series of actions, nor the constant repetition of the same living functions performed in an identical manner; but we find in vegetable, as in animal life, that there are stages of existence and phases of development ever changing and progressive in their action.
In the first germ of the seed plant there is living growth of a peculiar kind, namely, the gradual formation of the germ leaf, the cotyledon, and of the rudimentary root; and, at the same time, a supply of nutriment is stored up for the period of independent and separate existence; there is a vitality in the seed which may exist for an almost indefinite period, till, by the application of the needed stimulus, fresh changes take place of an entirely different character in connection with the sprouting of the seed; then, for a time, another stage of vegetable life follows, that of growth and development. But, with the growth of the plant there are cyclical changes daily and hourly evolved, and in those plants of an exogenous kind each year witnesses remarkable variations, for the leaves, having fulfilled their purpose, their circulation becoming occluded, they fade and fall; but on returning spring the old stock is not in the same condition as before, for the past year had left its trace; so with each yearly cycle, till at length more general decay occurs, and the old weather-beaten stock, that has withstood the stormy blasts of many a winter, succumbs and dies.
With equal distinctness of demarcation do we find that human life has its stages; we have infancy and youth, succeeded by manhood in its strength and prime, and then the gradual fading of the powers, first the physical, and then the intellectual; but the differences impressed upon the whole organism at these respective periods are accompanied with a physical state also changing, and the one is dependent upon the other. A child, with its freshness of thought, the wildness of its imagination, and the quickness of its new powers, has a brain structurally differing from that of the old man, with his maturer thoughts, and his calmer reason, whose brain is acted upon by the impressions stored up in the memory, rather than by new objective observations. The elasticity of the youthful step, and the enjoyment of vigorous exercise, are marks of strength of lung, and power of circulation, which an octogenarian does not possess ; and not less apparent are the functional peculiarities of digestion during the different periods of life.
During the earlier months there is the greatest activity in all the functions of life, the nervous system is very easily disturbed, the muscles are readily excited to contraction and convulsive movement; the respiration is more hurried, and the heart beats with greater frequency, 130 to 140 as compared with 60 to 80 of adult life; the temperature of the body is more variable, and there is less ability to resist sudden changes.
The helplessness of infancy, and its entire dependence on the fostering care of others, is connected with a delicacy and sensibility in the organism, which is easily acted upon, and is adapted only for peculiar conditions. The physical organisation of an infant is designed for fluid food, and for its reception in a particular manner, namely, by suction; although destitute at first of teeth, the muscular development of the mouth is sufficiently complete, and the clavicle, more ossified than any other bone, serves as the support for the arms and hands, which are secondary helps in the process.
An infant is only able to digest substances of the simplest kind; and milk, the natural form of diet, is best suited for its wants. Milk not only contains hydrocarbonates, the oily part or cream, and sugar, also a heat-supplying material, but a large quantity of nitrogenous substance, the casein, and in proportion as the diet approaches this standard, is it suited for its especial purpose. Mere starchy food, such as arrowroot, rice,