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144 THE AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH

interested in national health conservation. As a result of these intensive studies,


a practical, scientific plan for co6rdination should be proposed. Such a scheme,
properly conceived, so as to insure efficiency, economy, and effective correlation,
besides being politically expedient, will be awaited with interest and eagerness by
all who desire to see an improvement in federal health organization. In order to
do justice to the importance of the subject it would undoubtedly be best if this plan
did not have to be presented now as a substitute for the defective education and
relief bill. It could better be presented during the Sixty-ninth Congress, which
convenes next December. In the meantime, 'the proposed plan for a department of
education and relief should be defeated or forced into abeyance by means of
strenuous and well directed opposition, which may be communicated to senators
and representatives in Congress.

SANOCRYSIN-A GOLD CURE FOR


TUBERCULOSIS
O NE CANNOT but rejoice at the many attempts being made to combat tuber-
culosis. At the same time it behooves everyone to scrutinize each new treat-
tnent with great care. On the one hand, we have to guard against the cupidity of
certain commercial men who seem to care more about selling a material than about
the actual good which is done to the suffering sick; and on the other, we must be
constantly on the alert to avoid being misled by the enthusiasm of honest workers
whose zeal colors their claims with a degree of optimism not justified by facts.
The history of the various cures for tuberculosis is a depressing one, filled as it is
with cases illustrating both of the points just mentioned.
The latest cure which claims our attention has been brought forward by
Professor Holger Moellgaard of Copenhagen, who for several years past has been
investigating the action of certain salts of gold upon the tubercle bacillus. A pre-
liminary account of his experimental work was given on October 28th before the
'Danish Medical Society. A solution of the gold salt is injected intravenously and
intramuscularly. Its action on tuberculous animals and people is marked, and
serious results occur, leading to death in some instances. As might be expected,
the poisonous action is manifested chiefly on the kidney. The explanation given
for this action is the germicidal effect of the gold on the tubercle bacillus, and the
large amount of intracellular poisons which are liberated from the germ. In an
attempt to avoid this action, Professor Madsen has produced an anti-serum in
horses which when given apparently lessens the severe action of the gold salt.
Late in October, a meeting was held by the Medical Society of Copenhagen,
at which the experimental work on cattle and other animals, and the clinical trials
carried out on human beings in several institutions were discussed. The work has
excited so much interest in Denmark and other countries, that physicians flocked
to this meeting in such numbers that the hall could not hold them, and even after
moving to a larger room at the Rigshospital, many of the audience remained
standing from three to four hours on both days of the meeting. The claim was
made by Professor Mloellgaard that the gold salt is nontoxic for the tissues,
although very toxic for the tubercle bacillus. No reaction follows intravenous
injections, provided the tissues are healthy, but if tuberculosis is present, a violent
reaction ensues, due, it is claimed, to the wholesale destruction of the tubercle
bacillus with liberation of large amounts of poison. It is claimed that complete
EDITORIALS 145
cure has resulted in lower animals infected both naturally and experimentally, and
even in advanced cases of the disease. A number of physicians connected with
various hospitals gave their experience in the use of the cure. Reports indicate
that human beings as well as animals will react to the gold salt after clinical
recovery in the same manner as healthy animals which have never suffered from
tuberculosis. Some tragedies were recorded, as well as brilliant successes. Those
who reported cases of tuberculosis of the skin, iris, and surgical disease, were
guarded in their statements concerning the value of the treatment.
It can be said of this alleged cure that it is being given to the public in a thor-
oughly professional manner. In England the Medical Research Council has been
asked to investigate its value. In the United States it is to be tried out on animals
in three separate institutions, and its clinical value is to be tested under expert
control. The name " sanocrysin" has been given to the preparation, and the rights.
to its manufacture and sale for the entire world, exclusive of Europe, have been'
granted to an American biological house. The fact that an anti-serum is employed
in the cure brings it under the supervision of the Hygienic Laboratory of the
United States Public Health Service, and we can rest assured that no license will
be granted for its manufacture and sale in the United States until its value has
been thoroughly determined.
We do not wish to appear unduly pessimistic nor to pass judgment prema-
turely. The claims made for this new alleged cure are in some respects extrav-
agant, and very probably the interpretation of the severe action on the kidneys given
is incorrect. On the part of Professor Moellgaard, there is no doubt that his work
is a serious attempt at chemotherapy, and it goes without saying that the production
of the anti-serum by Professor Madsen is on a sound scientific basis. We will
keep in touch with the experiments which are going on and our readers will be duly
informed of the results. In the meantime, we can only advise watchful waiting
and the cultivation of a frame of mind which will not leave us despondent if this.
alleged cure meets the fate of all of its predecessors.

MUNICIPAL HOUSING
A s LONG ago as 1851 Lord Shaftesbury secured from the British Parliament
the passage of an act permitting the loan of public monies for the housing of
the working classes. During the past quarter of a century all of the leading
European nations have accepted a similar view of the responsibility of the state in
regard to the housing problem. Holland built one dwelling for every 13 persons
in its population during the years 1919-1922, Great Britain one for every 34,
Belgium one for every 84, Italy one for every 184, France one for every 320.*
This important social question is discussed in a recent book,' which should be
studied not only by the public health worker but by every intelligent and responsible
citizen. As the author points out, " There is a widespread but fallacious view in
the United States that European housing conditions are so much worse than ours.
as to make action necessary which would be uncalled for here. The reverse is true.
We have housing conditions worse than any which now exist in London or Paris
or Brussels or Amsterdam." She adds, "And I can assure my fellow-countrymen
that I have nowhere seen houses even remotely comparable to the ten thousand old-
law tenements of lower Manhattan, built before 1879, with their hundreds of
* In the case of the last three. countries the situation is of course complicated by the restoration of the-
devastated regions.