Studies in the Osteopathic
The Physiology of Consciousness:
Louisa Burns, M.S., D.O., D.Sc.O.
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
CHAPTER I: THE FUNCTION OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
CHAPTER II: THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE HEMISPHERES
CHAPTER III: CEREBRAL RELATIONS
CHAPTER IV: THE INHIBITIONS
CHAPTER V: THE NATURE OF CONSCIOUSNESS
CHAPTER VI: THE GANGLIONAR CENTERS OF THE
CHAPTER VII: DEVELOPMENT OF THE CORTICAL
CHAPTER VIII: CEREBRAL LOCALIZATIONS, SENSORY
CHAPTER IX: CEREBRAL LOCALIZATIONS, SENSORY
CHAPTER X: INTERMEDIATE AND MOTOR AREAS
CHAPTER XI: LANGUAGE
CHAPTER XII: RELATIONS OF SOMATIC AND CEREBRAL
CHAPTER XIII: EDUCATION IN THERAPEUTICS
CHAPTER XIV: CERTAIN OLDER VIEWS
IN THE OSTEOPATHIC SCIENCES
THE PHYSIOLOGY OF
LOUISA BURNS, M.S., D.O., D. Sc.
Professor of Physiology
The Pacific College of Osteopathy
MONFORT & CO.
This volume was prepared in the hope of presenting
in a simple manner those physiological conditions which underlie the rational
treatment of abnormal mental conditions.
If the manner in which the subject is presented appears
too grossly materialistic in the light of the idealistic methods which
have characterized most of previous discussions of the processes of consciousness,
it must be remembered that whatever is really true is of more worth than
even the most beautiful of untrue ideas. We do not now think of astronomy
as being materialistic because the laws which govern the heavenly bodies
are being determined. The glory of the nightly sky is not lessened because
the stars have been analyzed and the planets have been weighed. The forces
active in the formation of mountains and oceans are studied. Even the most
whimsical of Nature’s moods, the variations in the weather, are subject
to laws which are being daily made more clear. The development of plants
and animals, the physiological activities of the human body and its development,
are studied, and the immutable laws are being demonstrated day by day.
In all the domain of human thought, the study of conscious phenomena alone
has been kept subject to the necessity for an idealistic method of treatment.
This method, which long retarded the development of other sciences, should
be set aside also in the study of conscious phenomena. A rational psychology
must depend upon the use of those methods which have been successful in
the study of other sciences.
In preparing this book a knowledge of the history
of the race was found essential to anything like a clear understanding
of the manner in which the phenomena of consciousness have been developed.
It has not been possible to secure anything like an adequate knowledge
of this history, but all available sources of information were studied.
Anthropology, geology, the histories of civilized races, studies of savage
tribes the world over, the development of art, music, letters, education,
science, sociology, the religions of all races, the diseases and the crimes,
and the methods of treatment of the sick, the criminal, and the insane,
all are significant of the trend of human progress.
The study of the mental processes of criminals, degenerates,
inefficients, insane and neurotics is of value in this connection, together
with a study of fairly normal people under times of great stress and under
the influence of the emotional states, the psychology of gangs and mobs,
and of children during their development. These things add to our understanding
of the phylogeny of consciousness.
The therapeutic procedures have been tested repeatedly.
Their efficiency in any given case depends upon several factors, of which
the most important is the exactness with which the diagnosis is made.
In the preparation of this volume I am indebted to
Dr. Ada M. Laughlin for the drawings, and to the teachers and students
of The Pacific College of Osteopathy for much assistance and encouragement.
The help given by the A. T. Still Research Institute
has been of great value in the experimental part of the work, and permits
the publication of this volume at this time.
THE PACIFIC COLLEGE OF OSTEOPATHY,
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA,
June 15, 1911.
THE OSTEOPATHIC VIEW OF CONSCIOUSNESS
In the development of osteopathy the physiological
aspect of the etiology and treatment of disease has been emphasized, and
each year this assumes more importance. The existence of disease as an
entity has been disproved; the importance of normal structural relationships
has been demonstrated; the necessity for normal environmental conditions
has been placed first as a preventive of disease. The biological aspect
of human life is constantly found of greater importance in the attainment
of the best methods of cherishing health and caring for the sick.
Health is a relationship, a condition. If the body
is properly related in all its parts, and is properly related to its environment,
it is said to be healthy, and its condition is that of health. If any person
act properly in regard to his environment, and recognizes this relationship,
he is said to have a healthy or sane mind, and his condition is that of
sanity. If any person is not properly related to his environment, or if
the parts of his body are not properly related to one another, he is unhealthy.
If this condition affects his speech or actions in such a manner as to
interfere with the best good of himself or his race, then he is called
insane or imbecile.
Very many of the insanities are due to structural changes in the brain
itself. It is evident that no treatment can be efficient in helping such
cases to recovery. The duty of the osteopath, as of any other physician,
is to recognize the condition and give proper advice concerning the care
of the unfortunate patient.
Given the proper brain structure, the normal activity
of the cortical neurons depends upon the good circulation of good blood,
upon the normal sensory stimulation by way of the sensory organs, and upon
the normal paths for the expression of the motor impulses. Given these
things, the normal activity of the brain is assured. Without the normal
brain structure, or with poor blood, or abnormal circulatory conditions,
the function of the cortical neurons is apt to become more or less abnormal.
The physiological view of consciousness bring all
of the phenomena of abnormal mentality into harmony with the osteopathic
theory. If malfunction of any other organ of the body is found, the ultimate
cause of the malfunction is sought diligently. No one considers that a
heart beats irregularly, with many murmurs and rough sounds, because it
so chooses. But if the brain cells act irregularly, with murmurs and rough
sounds, too many physicians yet consider that it chooses to act in this
painful and injurious manner. The place of choice is as important in one
organ as in the other, and the best good is accomplished by a recognition
of this fact.
Brain cells may be poorly fed; then it is needful to see that better
food and better digestion follow. Brain cells may be poisoned; then the
autointoxication must be eliminated or the poisonous drugs stopped Brain
cells may lack the normal stimulation; then the needed stimulation is to
be given. Brain cells may be overworked, usually in certain areas only.
Other areas are to be brought into activity. Brain cells may be structurally
deficient. The condition should be recognized, and the person placed where
he will be most efficient and least dangerous.
In any case in which pathological mental phenomena
occur there is some efficient cause for the malfunction. Bony lesions may
be efficient in causing disturbances of the quality or the circulation
of the blood, or in initiating abnormal sensory impulses of etiological
value. Even if other causes of malfunction are present, the correction
of any of these causes of disturbance may exert a favorable influence upon
the progress of the disease, especially in the borderland cases.
In the so-called functional nervous and mental diseases
there may be only the effects of previous experiences which are exerting
an unfavorable influence upon the normal activity of the cortical neurons.
The cerebral condition is that of a series of neurons not quite normally
related. The effect of experiences associated with shock is usually to
lower the liminal value of certain neuron systems. These systems may be
concerned with almost any of the motor or sensory areas of the body, or
with almost any of the lower centers. The symptoms concerned vary according
to the functional relationships of the neuron systems affected.
The important consideration is the best method of
securing the activity of different neuron groups, and thus to secure the
rest of those so long overstimulated. The whole significance of the diagnosis
and treatment of these cases is essentially the same as in the diagnosis
and treatment of diseases of other organs of the body.
Subjective symptoms are as little to be heeded in dealing with these
cases as in dealing with other diseases. Tests of the reaction times, of
the effects produced upon the blood pressure and pulse rate, the color
of the face and the dilatation of the pupils by carefully chosen statements
and questions, all these are of value in recognizing the nature of the
Instead of finding the immobility of the bony lesions,
or the excessive pliability of the atonic muscles, or the knotted feeling
of the irritated muscles associated with the bony lesions, or the excess
or deficiency of the secretion or movement of any organs of the body, there
are found in the neurasthenics the increased irritability of certain cortical
areas, the excess or diminution of activity on the part of certain inhibitions,
the tendency for environmental stimuli to be referred to certain motor
reactions rather than to others, or to certain lower centers. Or, as it
is often found that almost the whole spinal column may lack pliability,
or lack normal tone, so the entire cortex may be affected by toxemias,
or by circulatory abnormalities, or by the other causes of malfunction.
The overstimulation or overinhibition of the cortical centers
is as efficient a cause of malfunction as is the overstimulation or overinhibition
of the spinal centers. The efficient osteopath is the one who recognizes the
cause of malfunction, corrects it if possible, and advises the best care for
the incurable cases.