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
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
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.