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"German Medical Notes" from Tactical and Technical Trends

The following article on German medical research was published in Tactical and Technical Trends, No. 38, November 18, 1943.

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from the U.S. War Department publication Tactical and Technical Trends. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]


The demands which totalitarian war make upon the medical profession may be expressed in one sentence. "It is the duty of every medical officer, as a soldier, to direct his entire work and mode of thinking toward one goal, namely to strengthen the moral and physical strength of the armed forces in every respect; and to restore to health, safely and quickly, that part of it which has been injured and weakened."

German medical research in this war as in the last has applied its advanced technical and research facilities into probing and healing the wounds of battle. All research now centers in the Military-Medical Academy, the Institute for General and Defense Physiology, and the Institute for Physiological and Defense Chemistry, located in Berlin, according to an article on German medical research appearing in the Deutsche Zeitung in Norwegen. Some portions of this article are reproduced herewith as indicating various special techniques developed for the different cases reported.

a. Climatic Testing Laboratory

One type of special equipment is found in the Climatic Testing Laboratory. Here studies can be made of every combination of pressure, temperature, humidity, air composition, and their effect on the human body under work, rest and with varying diet.

An example of the accuracy of the devices used in the tests is the recording scale. This is said to record losses through perspiration to one tenth of a gram: yet the device is so large that it contains bed, working space, instruments, etcetera.

The person also can be exposed to winds of varying force when in the performance of labor under tests, in order that the tempo of work, proper rest periods, suitable clothing, etc., may be accurately determined under varying climatic conditions. The article states that this research work is important not only for its military value but also on the industrial front involving special industries such as mining, chemical manufacturing, and under all conditions subject to a "working climate".

b. Use of Spectroscope for Wound Diagnosis

In the diagnosis of wounds at the front, a notable procedure is that of observation with the spectroscope. It is frequently necessary, the article states, to ascertain the nature of the projectile which caused the wound, or the metal of which the projectile or splinter was composed. This is done with a small portable, but very sensitive spectroscope, which accurately records minute metal traces on the edges of the wound, down to a weight of one millionth of a gram and less.

This procedure is said to be important even in civilian life, especially in the investigation of crime.

The spectroscope has another important military use, the article states viz., the analysis of the soldiers' rations to establish the mineral contents. In addition to nutritive ingredients and vitamins, the food must contain minute proportions of certain metals, as zinc, manganese, copper, etc., and this can be easily ascertained through the use of the spectroscope.


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