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November 17, 1900


JAMA. 1900;XXXV(20):1282-1283. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.02460460032005

The vitality which is characteristic of and belongs to the individual cell—the vita propria of the cell of Virchow—has received comparatively little study. Grawitz claims to have observed that the corneal corpuscles withstand drying as long as eleven days, but the correctness of his observations has been questioned. Busse states that ciliated epithelium in the covering of nasal polypi may maintain the motion of their cilia for eighteen days after separation from the matrix. Spermatozoa are said by Schade to manifest evidences of vitality for a considerable time after the death of the body as a whole and after having been expelled from the living organism. This persistence of the life of spermatozoa is of medicolegal interest. Living spermatozoa have been demonstrated in the rectum of a boy eight days after death at the hands of a pervert, the body lying in water at a temperature of about 0 C.