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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Iodine and Electricity

-Very interesting early account of the use of iodine with electricity! The Voltaic Pile was the first battery that could provide a continuous current of electricity, invented by Alessandro Volta, circa 1800.

Bronchocele, or Goitre 

votaic pile in usage, image source, wiki commons
LOVE the disembodied hand! This is not a goiter-
specific treatment pictured, but it was the only image
I could find... :)
Such unparalleled powers has Iodine displayed in this disease, that it has received, by almost universal consent, the title of specific.

We do not conceive it necessary to select any from among the numerous cases, except one, which have been reported as illustrative of the successful employment of Iodine in this disease, as it's efficacy is too well known.

The case we are about to mention is one related by Dr. Coster,* and was cured in a most singular and ingenious manner:—by combining the action of the Voltaic Pile with that of Iodine.

voltaic pile, image source
wiki commons
A young man had a goitre of large size which had resisted the use of Iodine both internally and by friction; being aware that Iodine was attracted by the positive pole, Dr. C. thought it probable that by applying Iodine on one side of the tumour, and the pole to the other, its absorption would be accelerated: the result was highly confirmatory. He performed the operation twice a day, taking care to change sides at each time of its application; i. e., in the morning he would rub the ointment on the right side of the tumor and apply the pole to the left; and in the evening vice versa.— He kept the tumor under its influence for ten or -twelve minutes, and in the space of twenty days it was entirely removed.

 To show that the effect was not solely owing to the pile, he had previously subjected the tumor to a galvanic current, and also, to electric sparks, for many days in succession, without the least sensible effect. He used the pure Iodine ointment made in the proportion of two grains to a scruple of lard, it was the only case in which be ever adopted the above plan of treatment, but recommends physicians to give it a trial in all obstinate cases of this disease, and also of scrofula.

source: Transactions of the Medical Society of the State of New York, 1832, 1833  transactions...

Goitre, image source, wiki commons
Volta with Napoleon, image source, wiki commons

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