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SUMMARY

Dr. Brinkley's employment of the goat-glands for the past three years of continuous operating, therefore, has proved to his satisfaction and to that of his patients that the testes in men and the ovaries in women furnish a secretion which has the property of a revivifying fluid when restored to the system by the currents of blood and lymph. In that commonly fatal condition of the arteries which follows rapidly upon the state of blood pressure known as hardening of the arteries, or arterio-sclerosis, a practically incurable condition hitherto, the results obtained by the goat-gland transplantation are miraculously swift. When the arteries are, as the doctor puts it, "as hard as pipe-stems," they grow in a few weeks, sometimes in a week, soft and pliable. The change, according to Dr. Brinkley, is brought about in the walls of the arteries themselves, and is not a process of dissolving the accumulations or deposits of calcareous material within the arteries. The change is in the material of the walls of the arteries, producing a return of the condition of elasticity, permitting expansion and contraction as in youth.

It is a favorite theory with some modern writers that the physical change from youth to age is accompanied in the body, and in a sense caused by, the deterioration in the quality of the cells of the body, and they call this change a breaking-down process by which the finer and more highly differentiated cells, such, for example, as the nerve-cells, and others which have high and complicated duties to perform, are displaced by cells of an inferior type, which they name conjunctive cells, much as the common sparrow drives away the songbirds from the home garden and, usurping the place of the songbird, substitutes a wretched twitter for the golden notes of the warblers which once delighted our ears. The common cells, also, on usurping the place of the nobler cells, are unable to perform the difficult duties of the latter, and the result upon human organism is disorder, decay, disease, etc., contributing to, if not causing, the condition of old age. This is an ingenious but not convincing theory. Our knowledge of histological processes is too incomplete at this stage to permit its acceptance as fact. It assumes too much to be known which is quite unknown. Moreover, it refutes itself upon examination in this particular, and in several others, that if it were true that these inferior cells are on the lookout to invade instantly any part of the human organism in which there was a breaking down of nerve-tissue, for example, then it would be impossible to build new nerve-tissue to take the place of that which was destroyed, because its place, according to this theory, has been already taken by an intruder who cannot be dislodged. But new nerve-cells are constantly being rebuilt, and constantly being put to use in the organism. If this theory were true, then a brain in middle age would be unable to function because of the impossibility of renewing its cells.

A much more reasonable and probably true explanation of the cause of old age is the gradual disappearance of animal matter in the bones and tissues, and the corresponding increase of the mineral matter in the bones and tissues, amounting to ossification of cartilage, whereby the supple cartilage, losing its animal content, becomes practically bone by deposit of lime particles. This would also account in a common-sense manner for the fragility of the bones of the aged, the brittleness being due to calcareous deposits in the substance of the bone itself, in excess of the normal mineral contents of the bones in youth. The function of the seminal fluids, therefore, appears to be to restore to the aging tissues this property, this animal matter, which when in its right ratio and proportion in the cells of the organism produces the condition of youth. The action of these seminal fluids, therefore, seems to be two-fold, a dissolving and a nourishing. The distinction should be clearly made that the action is NOT merely stimulating. The stimulation of a nerve-cell is a temporary excitement. We speak of the stimulation of alcohol, and this illustration gives a clearer view of the difference between the nourishing action of the seminal fluids and a stimulating action than we could obtain by the employment of many words. It is interesting to remember that while it is possible to increase the mineral particles of soda, potash, lime, iron, silica and magnesia in the blood and lymph, it is practically impossible for us to increase the animal contents of the cells by any method of medication or dieting known to us. Only Life can produce this change in the cells, and only this method of gland-transplantation has furnished a means of impressing Life into service to work for us in this matter. To produce the effects which are needed to rejuvenate a body that has increased its mineral matter at the expense of its animal matter we require the co-operation of glands made active, because only the glands, in the marvelous chemistry of the body, are able to compound the animal substances required to nourish the cells, tissues and organs of the body, and to dissolve and remove those injurious substances of a mineral nature which have accumulated in excess in cells and tissues, usurping the place of the animal matter in the cells because of the inactivity of function generally, and the poor elimination of waste matter, as the years pass. This is the re-creative and rejuvenating work of the gland secretions. It is beyond us to say exactly what these secretions consist of. We know the importance of their presence in blood and lymph only by the disasters that follow their absence. The thyroid gland and parathyroids, for instance, seem to be connected by some close sympathy with the activity or non-activity of the interstitial glands, and the atrophy of one is often accompanied by the atrophy of the other. The subject is still hidden in darkness to the extent of insufficient knowledge on our part of the exact constituents of the active agents in the secretions of the testes, thyroids, suprarenals, pituitary and other glands. Time and further opportunity for experiment are needed to show to what extent the goat-gland transplantation can be used to remedy goitre, epilepsy and the graver lesions of paralysis. The use of the goat-glands is too recent to admit of anything but speculation on these points. There would seem to be no good reason to doubt that if the male organs of a young goat do rejuvenate the atrophied testes of a man, which Dr. Brinkley has abundantly proved they do, the thyroid gland of a young goat might be expected to restore the atrophied thyroid of a human being. This again is only conjecture, Dr. Brinkley's work up to the present having been confined to the transplantation of testes and ovaries. But he expects to find time during the present year to satisfy himself of the results of such important experimental work as is here indicated. It is possible that his visit to Europe this summer may be the means of enlarging his field considerably, although it would appear that if he had six pairs of hands and could keep all employed in continuous service he could scarcely cope with the demands upon his time which any and all countries of the earth may be expected to make when his work is known. In ten years, no doubt, gland-transplantation, particularly goat-gland transplantation, for the renewal of youth in man and woman will be so usual as to occasion neither wonder nor hilarity. But we are not living ten years from now, but at this present moment, and Dr. Brinkley's operation to-day is a marvel, a wonder and a joy. There is a satisfaction in being in the van. It is fine to be the first to do a big thing, especially if that big thing is something of the most practical value to humanity. Mankind has always crowned its great generals, its great destroyers of life. Here is a man who comes forward to preserve life. That is his mission, if you like. Certainly it is his life work. It is a noble work. The question in the writer's mind is, What will they do to him? How will they take him in England? Will they applaud, or crucify, or neglect? Probably they will show him something of the generous hospitality of England, and leaven this with a plentiful sprinkling of ridicule, because the subject of the goat lends itself to humor of the obvious kind. But it is our belief that the hard, practical common sense of the Anglo-Saxon will lead them to make the utmost use of this opportunity of his visit, and, having got him, it is to be expected that they will know enough to keep him. This is quite as much their opportunity as his. While they sharpen their wit upon the sacrificial goat and make merry, they are pretty sure to make full use of his knowledge and skill while they have him with them, and might make things so pleasant for him that he might say, when the summer is over and he looks back upon the white cliffs of Dover, returning to his own country, "This is a good land. I have enjoyed the trip. I like the people. I will return next summer, and for many summers thereafter."