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April 30, 1887


JAMA. 1887;VIII(18):487-488. doi:10.1001/jama.1887.02391430011003

Influence of Altitude on Phthisis.  Surgeon Major Nathaniel Alcock says: The explanations hitherto offered of the action of altitude upon phthisis amount to three: greater expansion of the chest from aerial rarefaction; absence of bacterial organisms from the air and general tonic effect.1 Were the first of these effective, some improvement would be expected to follow the use of gymnastics at lower levels; of the second it may be said that every consumptive carries his own microbes with him; and the third is too vague to need discussion. It may therefore be assumed that no satisfactory explanation has as yet been suggested. The specific organism of tubercle has an established identity; consequently the disease must be ranked among the special infections and its aggravation or arrest must depend upon the fertility or sterility of the microbe to which it is due.Pasteur, in his splendid researches on the