Amicus Socrates, sed magis amica veritas
Few problems in medicine are attended with so much confusion as the pharmacology of alcohol. Being a narcotic, a stimulant and a food, its uses are so manifold, and the dosage so variable that the study of its effects on the human body are exceedingly difficult of interpretation. Writers and teaching physicians have for decades upheld the view that chronic alcoholism is one of the chief causes of nephritis. This generally accepted view could not logically be questioned seriously until a fairly large number of carefully gathered clinical data had been furnished by a general practitioner. Clinical material from hospitals constitutes an unfair collection of patients, because they are either a decidedly inferior lot socially, or too superior, and therefore inaccessible for careful study.Animal experiments with alcohol are also of little practical value, on account of the complexity of the technic, and the multitude of the sources of error.