Man's physical universe

xanabras

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772 MAN'S PHYSICAL WELFARE

H—

H—

OH OH OH

c c c

C—CH3 H—

/ \ / \ / \

C—H H—

C—H H—

C— H—

% / \ / % /

c c c

I II I II I II

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CH3

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para-cresol ortho-cresol meta-cresol

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C—CH3

The position of a substituted group often determines the effect of a

substance on the human body; thus, of the three isomeric compounds,

resorcinol, hydroquinone, and pyrocatechin, hydroquinone is more

toxic and pyrocatechin is much more toxic than resorcinol.

Pyrogallol is too toxic to be used as an internal medicine, but it is

used in the treatment of parasitic skin diseases.

Many Powerful Disinfectants and Antiseptics Have Been Discovered

in Recent Years.

Ehrlich's original idea that certain dyes should be effective in killing

bacteria has borne fruit in the research laboratories during the past few

years. The yellow dye, picric acid, has been used in disinfecting surfaces

of the body in preparation for operations. Another dye, acriflavine,

used during the World War of 1914—1918, was found to possess

disinfecting properties.

Paracelsus, the original chemotherapist of the Middle Ages, used

mercury as one of his chief medicines. Mercuric chloride is a fair

disinfectant often used by physicians in washing their hands before an

operation, but compounds of mercury are not penetrating. By combining

mercury with the very penetrating dye, fluorescein, an antiseptic,

mereurochrome, was produced. In the proper concentrations

mercurochrome can be used on the mucous membranes of the eye or

of the bladder. Three other compounds of mercury — merthiolate,

phenyl mercuric nitrate, and metaphen — have come into use recently.

Other dyes which have been used as antiseptics are brilliant green,

gentian violet, acriviolet, and rivanol. These dyes are both disinfectants

and antiseptics

In 1935 mandelic acid came into use for urinary infections.

Mandelic

acid, taken with an acid-producing diet or other acidifying agents such

as sodium acid phosphate, produces an acid condition in the urine

that inhibits bacterial growth. Methenamine (urotropin) has also

been used in the treatment of urinary infections.

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