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In the mineral world, certain fixed and definite laws have been determined governing the splitting up of complex chemical molecules into simpler ones. Similarity of ultimate composition, for example, determining the lines of cleavage in certain crystalline groups; or the simpler molecules resulting from the application of such decomposing influences as heat, pressure, light, of electricity to more complex ones. Again, similarity of chemical constitution determines the physiological action.
So too, in the organic chemical world, we begin to perceive that the same or similar laws govern the changes taking place in the far more complex molecules here met with. True, we are simply on the threshold of a correct knowledge of these far more difficult questions; yet such are the advances already made we may, with the aid of a priori reasoning, throw much light on one of the darkest and most difficult questions of physiological and pathological medicine.
ALBUMEN, ITS DECOMPOSITION PRODUCTS, AND THEIR RELATION TO HEALTH AND DISEASE.. JAMA. 1890;XIV(3):95–98. doi:10.1001/jama.1890.02410030023004