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Societies and Academies

Nature volume 85, pages 6465 (10 November 1910) | Download Citation



LONDON. Royal Society, November 3.— Sir Archibald Geikie. K.C.B., president, in the chair.—Sir D. Bruce and others: (1) Trypanosome diseases of domestic animals in Uganda. II.—Trypanosoma brucei (Plimmer and Bradford). (2) Trypanosome diseases of domestic animals in Uganda. III.—Trypanosoma vivax (Ziemann).—H. G. Plimmer, W. B. Fry, and H. S. Ranken: Further.results of the experimental treatment of trypanosomiasis: being a progress report to a committee of the Royal Society. This paper gives detailed results of the continuation of the work which has been going on under the direction of a subcommittee of the Royal Society. The general results have confirmed an opinion which the authors have before expressed, viz. that antimony is a more powerful. trypanocide than arsenic, and that such compounds as they have tried have not shown such severe toxic effects as some arsenic compounds have. But there are unpleasant effects produced (varying according to the animal used) by antimony, such as sloughing and necrosis at the seat of injection and severe pain, so they have devoted considerable time to the study of new methods and new forms of antimony. Finding that in dogs the subcutaneous and intramuscular administration caused pain and sloughing of the tissues, intravenous injections of the salts were tried. The elimination of the antimony was so rapid, however, that, beyond prolonging life, little good effect was produced; so that eventually the injection of the metal itself, in state of finest division (devised and prepared for them by Dr. R. H. Aders Plimmer, of University College), was tried. This is taken up by the leucocytes, and is gradually transformed into some soluble compound, and their idea was that perchance it might be carried to parts of the body not easily accessible to other methods of administration. The results so far have been, on the whole, more satisfactory than those of any other means they have tried, but the technique,in many animals is difficult, and there have been difficulties in the preparation of the antimony. Although putting a metal into the circulation sounds impossible, they have not had any case of plugging of capillaries in rats, guinea-pigs, rabbits, dogs, goats, or horses. It of course acts much more slowly than the salts, and takes from two to three times as long to clear the peripheral circulation of trypanosomes as subcutaneous injection of a salt does. But the excretion is also much slower, so that the blood and organs are in much longer contact with antimony than when a salt is administered. If carefully administered no irritation of the tissues is produced, and the vessel walls are not affected. Animals appear to be more susceptible to overdosage than with the salts; and it is curious that an animal with trypanosomes in the biood can bear well a dose which is fatal to a healthy animal. It has also been used intra-peritoneally successfully in rats and rabbits. A number of experiments have been made with silver salts, with negative results in every case. A number of experiments have been made with two new compounds (one an arsenic-camphor compound, one an organic antimony compound) kindly sent to them by Dr. Morgan, of the Imperial College of Science, with negative results.—Dr. J. W. W. Stephens and Dr. H. B. Fantham: The peculiar morphology of a trypanosome from a case of sleeping sickness, and the possibility of its being a new species (Trypanosoma rhodesiense). The main. points of the paper may be thus summarised:—(1) This trypanosome was first observed by one of the authors (J. W. W. S.) in February in the blood of a rat infected from a case of sleeping sickness. (2) The patient, W. A., infected I in Rhodesia, had never been in Glossina palpalis areas, though he had been in areas infested with G. morsitans and G. fusca. (3) The trypanosome shows long forms and short stout or stumpy forms with hardly any free flagellum, but it is unique in that about 6 per cent. of the forms have the nucleus at the posterior (non-fiagellar) end near the blepharoplast, and in some cases actually posterior to it. (4) Such forms have not been described before in any known strain of T. gambiense. (5) Prolonged search has been made for them in the stock laboratory strain of T. gambiense, but they have not been found. (6) They are not due to the drying of the blood films, because they can be seen by intra vtam staining, and because dried films of the ordinary T. gambiense strain do not show them. (7) They are not degenerate, as division forms of them occur. (8) They are not due to drug treatment, because the original animals were inoculated before treatment was begun, (9) These forms still persist in rats, guinea-pigs, rabbits, and monkeys. (10) On morphological grounds the authors believe they are dealing with a new species of human trypanosome also causing sleeping sickness, for which they propose the name T. rhodesiense.—Dr. F. W. Mott: Note upon the examination, with negative results, of the central nervous system in a case of cured human trypanosomiasis. A Sikh belonging to the 4th K.A.R. (aged thirty at death) was found to be suffering from trypanosomiasis in June, 1905, and received treatment with inorganic arsenic. The drug was given intermittently for eighteen months or more, and pushed until toxic symptoms of neuritis and mental dullness rendered further energetic treatment impossible; trypanosomes were then no longer obtained by puncture of the glands. Unfortunately, there is no note of lumbar puncture having been performed until a few months before death. Sir David Bruce, in December, 1908, saw this man, and stated that he appeared to be in excellent health. A year later he was seen by Captains Hamerton and Bateman, who reported no symptoms of sleeping sickness. They made a very careful investigation of the blood, both by microscopic examination and by experimental injection into monkeys; the results were negative. In June lumbar puncture was performed, and 17 c.c. of fluid withdrawn; the ceritrifuged fluid snowed no lymphocytosis or trypanosomes; injection of the fluid into a monkey was followed by negative results. The patient was attacked with pneumonia in August, and died three days after admission to the hospital. Post mortem the brain was found quite normal in appearance, and there was no excess of fluid. Histological Examination.—Sections were prepared of portions of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and medulla oblongata by all the methods which the author had previously adopted for the examination of sleeping-sickness cases. He found no trace of the characteristic meningeal and perivascular infiltration nor of gliosis. It may therefore be asserted that this case proves that human trypanosomiasis is curable, but it does not prove that sleeping sickness is curable, for the author contends that the diagnosis of “sleeping sickness” can only be made when there is a proof that the trypanosomes had invaded the sub-arachnoid space. The tissues were forwarded to the author by C. A. Wiggins, the acting principal medical officer of Uganda.—Miss M. P. Fitzgerald: The origin of the hydrochloric acid in the gastric tubules.—Dr. A. Harden and R. V. Norris: The fermentation of galactose by yeast and yeast juice (preliminary communication).—W. M. Thornton: The opposite electrification produced by animal and vegetable life.—R. Kirkpatrick: A remarkable pharetronid sponge from Christmas Island.

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