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Alcohol: Its Action on the Human Organism

Nature volume 101, pages 122123 (18 April 1918) | Download Citation



THE form of this little volume is a welcome innovation in Government reports, attracting, instead of repelling, the reader. Its object is to present the conclusions arrived at by a committee of the Liquor Control Board after a cold and dispassionate examination of the effects of alcohol. No statements are made without exact scientific evidence, which is clearly explained. On account of the moderation of the general tone of the book, it will probably fail to please extremists of both camps, neither of whom will be able to derive much comfort from its pages. Although the authors have been unable to find evidence of an injurious action of moderate doses, well diluted and at such intervals as to ensure the elimination of a previous dose, on the other hand they show that its action is bad when taken otherwise than as mentioned, and that it is devoid of beneficial effect in any form whatever, except in certain abnormal states to be referred to below. This point in its favour is somewhat depreciated, however, when it is pointed out that even moderate doses involve some impairment of the higher nervous functions. In one or two places the impression is given that an attempt is being made to make out the best case for it, and, on the whole, the reviewer finds himself somewhat surprised that so little is actually made out on its behalf.

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