The physiological significance of the anatomical changes produced in nerve cells by the action of certain bacterial toxins
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During the last four years there has been a considerable amount of original investigation in this laboratory of the changes in nerve cells resulting from many forms of stimulation, both normal, and in the sense of being unusual, abnormal. The object of the research undertaken by the writer was to ascertain the possible correlation of the anatomical changes produced in the nerve cell from the action of certain bacterial toxins with the changes produced by other forms of stimulation. As a basis of comparison for the proper interpretation of the changes noted in the nerve cells after subjection to the action of the bacterial toxins, it was necessarily important to ascertain, as nearly as possible, the anatomical changes during ordinary activity, that is, activity occurring spontaneously in daily life. It was concluded that bacterial toxins have a definite, diagnosticable action on the physiological activity of the nerve cells which, while it varies with the toxin used, is constant for a particular toxin. The severity of the physiological changes in the nerve cells appears to be in direct relation to the severity of the organic symptoms.