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Periodical: Physico-Clinical Medicine

Summary: From Pat Deveney's database:

Physico-Clinical Medicine.
A Quarterly Journal Devoted to the Study of the Electronic Reactions of Abrams and the Visceral Reflexes of Abrams in the Diagnosis Treatment and Pathology of Disease.
1916--1922? Quarterly
San Francisco, CA. Publisher: Physico-Clinical Company. Editor: Albert Abrams, A.M., M.D., LL.D., F.R.M.S.
1/1, September 1916. $1.00-$2.00 a year, 66 pp.

This was a crank medical journal published by Albert Abrams (1863-1924) to promote his discoveries and advertise his various mechanical inventions (Oscilloclast, Radioclast, etc.) to diagnose and cure all diseases. Abrams, unusually for the field of universal cures, had a bona fide medical degree, and his ideas and devices found a respectable audience (Scientific American in 1923 in its expose of Abrams claimed to have found 5,000 M.D.s using his theories in their practice), but the real influence of his ideas was on the likes of Ruth Beymer Drown, on whom see the note under The Philosopher's Stone. The "Electronic Reactions of Abrams," the generic name for his ideas, arose from Abrams' early attempts to "furnish a scientific explanation of the good results obtained in Chiropractic and Osteopathic practice." He did so, he said, and improved those theories by "substituting electric devices to manipulate the nerves" in the place of manual stimulus, giving rise to "spondylotherapy" and then to the realization that all processes of the body were fundamentally electronic in nature and could be diagnosed and treated by an appropriate device. It was a short step from this realization to the discovery that the Electronic Reactions of Abrams were bi-directional and that the Oscilloclast could not only detect the "vibration rate of a drug" but could be reversed to take the place of the drug in the body. Abrams added to these discoveries an increasingly bizarre congeries of crank ideas: syphilis in its many forms as the fundamental basis of most human disease, the error of vaccination, the value of music and color therapy in the healing process, the underlying sexuality of all things (even numbers and sounds) -- detectable with his Electrobioscope, a hanging charged pith ball whose swing could be deflected by suggestion. The fundamental effect of suggestion and autosuggestion could also by created mechanically by the Electronic Reactions of Abrams. "'I am well' may be reproduced by the ERA at 5 [voltage] (mechanical suggestion). E[lectron] to forehead."

This journal's stated purpose was "to replace the cell doctrine by the Electron theory. Vital phenomena are dynamic and the actions of organisms should be regarded as processes and not as structures," but it was largely devoted to advertising Abrams' courses ("Practical Courses in Spondylotherapy and Electronic Diagnosis and Treatment," $200 in advance), devices (the Oscilloclast was not sold but leased for $200 plus $5 a month), mail-order services (blood samples received by mail were examined for prices ranging from $10 to $25), etc. The claims for these services were buttressed by case histories and correspondence of satisfied patients. (To avoid the postal strictures regulating advertising, the journal did not seek second-class mailing privileges.)

Abrams died in 1924 but the death knell of his popularity sounded with critical articles in the Journal of the American Medical Association and Scientific American in 1922 and 1923 and by the judgment of the physicist R.A. Milliken on the Abrams device: "It's a contraption which might have been thrown together by a ten year old boy who knows a little about electricity to mystify an eight year old boy who knows nothing about it."

Issues:Physico-clinical Medicine V1 N1 Sep 1916
Physico-clinical Medicine V1 N4 Jun 1917
Physico-clinical Medicine V3 N2 Dec 1918
Physico-clinical Medicine V4 N1 Sep 1919
Physico-clinical Medicine V4 N3 Mar 1920
Physico-clinical Medicine V5 N1 Sep 1920
Physico-clinical Medicine V5 N3 Mar 1921
Physico-clinical Medicine V5 N4 Jun 1921
Physico-clinical Medicine V6 N1 Sep 1921
Physico-clinical Medicine V6 N2 Dec 1921
Physico-clinical Medicine V6 N3 Mar 1922
Physico-clinical Medicine V7 N1 Sep 1922
Physico-clinical Medicine V7 N2 Dec 1922

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