Commentaries on some of the most important diseases of children . . . part the first. [No more published].
by CLARKE, John (1761-1815).
London:: Printed for Longman, Hurst, Rees, Orme, and Brown, 1815., 1815. 22 cm. 8vo. x, 198 pp. Original quarter calf, marbled boards; worn, joints reinforced with kozo. Very good. First edition. Clarke states that his text in based on personal observation, further, that it isn't meant to be systematic. Dispensing medicines and the doses was to be included in a future work. Clearly Clarke was impressed with the value of fresh air and the dangers of city-life, especially for children "often crowded together in heated factories." His most important medical advance related to laryngismus stridulus: "These Essays contain the first account of laryngismus stridulus and its association with tetany (pp. 86-97)." – Abt. Still points out that Clarke was the first emphasize the mortality rate of infants due to tetanus. This was published in a paper written by Clarke in 1789, read to the Royal Irish Academy. – Still, History of Pediatrics, pp. 489-91. His rise to this challenge was countered with measures to improve ventilation and hygiene in local lying-in hospitals, with much benefit. Both Still and White point to the same achievements, but also stressing the point that children were at the time dying at an alarming rate. He adds, Clarke's Commentaries was never finished due to his death, "The pages that exist, however, deal mostly with neurological problems, including convulsions, phrenitis, idiocy, paralysis, and epilepsy. One-third of Clarke's unfinished opus was related to convulsions and their management. Clarke differed from other writers of the day, such as Michael Underwood, insisting that convulsions 'are never an idiopathic disease, but may generally be traced to some pre-existing cause.' Naïve to electrical and neurochemical aspects of brain function, Clarke was convinced that 'in every case of convulsion . . . the brain is at the time organically affected, either directly or indirectly.'" – Larry White, "John Clarke," within: Ashwal, THE FOUNDERS OF CHILD NEUROLOGY, pp. 114-9. CONTENTS: general comments on the disease and mortality of children; structure of the mouth, organs, digestion of children, of diet; on dentition; on convulsions; more on convulsions; treatment; phrenitis or inflammation of the brain in children; idiotism, paralysis, epilepsy in children. REFERENCES: Abt-Garrison, History of Pediatrics, p. 85; Garrison-Morton 6328; Grulee 924; Norman 488. [FFrye C188]
(Inventory #: M13459)
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