Chemical analysis of the germ that causes tuberculosis has led to the discovery of a new type of compound, a phosphorus-containing fat, which has peculiar biological properties, according to Professor R.J. Anderson of the department of chemistry at Yale University.
The tuberculosis bacterium is unique among single-celled organisms in being the possessor of a waxy covering which renders it highly resistant. This is why it can defy the phagocytes which police the body, for instead of being dissolved by them and destroyed, the T.B. organism survives and may multiply after being engulfed. The waxy sheath is so thick that it makes up one-fifth to two-fifths of the weight of the dried bacteria.
Professor Anderson extracted eight pounds of the germs with a mixture of alcohol and ether to dissolve out this waxy coating. He obtained a pound of wax, half a pound of fat proper, and half a pound of phosphatide, or phosphorous-containing fat-like substance. The last material, to which he has given the name phosphosucride, is the most unusual constituent of the germs. It has been shown to contain phosphoric acid, a sugar, and fatty acids. "This compound differs from all other known phosphorized fats," Professor Anderson stated. "It may be expected to have peculiar biological properties."
"Thin-skinned" and "thick-skinned" as popular estimates of the emotional reactions of an individual have taken on a new meaning as the result of the researches of Dr. David Wechsler, well-known psychologist of New York. Only the thinness or thickness applies not literally, but as an expression of the conductivity or resistance of the skin to slight electric currents. For in Dr. Wechsler's laboratory the skin has been found to be a delicate emotional barometer, greatly increasing its resistance to the passage of electricity when one is quiescent, but permitting the current to go through much more readily when the feelings are even moderately aroused.
|Starting the Foucault Pendulum in the building of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council at Washington; this instrument demonstrates the rotation of the earth.|