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May 3, 1884


JAMA. 1884;II(18):479-483. doi:10.1001/jama.1884.02390410003001a

[Read before the Baltimore Academy of Medicine, November 20, 1883.]

The substances that I am about to describe are interesting alike for their properties and suggestiveness, since they belong to a class of bodies that, through fermentation and degradation, are closely allied with alcohol and acetic acid. Paraldehyde was first employed by the Italians, and if we can trust accounts in the journals and individual experience, it is a very useful addition to the list of antispasmodic and sleep-producing agents. In both the concentrated and dilute state it smells and tastes somewhat like sweet spirits of nitre, but when a drop is placed on the back of the tongue, a more pungent, musty, and bitter sensation will be experienced. The odor from its vapor quickly fills an apartment, but it seems to evaporate more slowly than chloroform or ether. Its chemical formula is C6 H12 O3, and, as the name

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