Carbonate of Ammonia introduced into the system, produces the complex phenomena which are comparable to those of epilepsy or to certain uraemic accidents.
The convulsions which this poison provokes are of cerebral origin, since they are not produced after separation of the cord from the brain; they are probably the direct result of the action of Carbonate of Ammonia upon the same elements of the encephalic centres, and not an excitation, transmitted by the great sympathetic or by the vagus, and reflected under the form of a convulsion.
Morphine, Chloroform, Chloral, are without any action upon the progress of the poison.
Unstriped muscles escape the convulsive action. Abortion has never been the consequence of a parallel intoxication in animals.
Carbonate of Ammonia is eliminated by the kidneys, and its action is very ephemeral and fugitive when these latter are intact. A small quantity is also eliminated from the lungs. According to Prof. Rosenstein the essential difference of action of Carbonate Ammonia and Uraemic Poison rests wholly in this fact: the former provokes only epileptiform phenomena, while the second may produce various accidents, coma, convulsions, delirium. In the cases where the Uraemic Poison produces epileptic attacks, or where one encounters Carbonate Ammonia in the blood, he should not accuse the latter, because its presence one is not always able to find in parallel cases, and because the quantity found in the blood of animals is by no means in proportion to the intensity of the epileptic phenomena.
Finally, Prof. Rosenstein added that the accidents following vesical and prostatic affections and called ammoniemia, should be clearly separated from Carbonate Ammonia poisoning. Epileptic symptoms characteristic of the latter intoxication are absolutely wanting in ammoniemia.— Chicago Medical Journal.
The Eclectic Medical Journal, Vol. XXXIV, 1874, was edited by John M. Scudder, M.D.