The rest of the 19th century consists of one physician after another coming up with his theory as to the cause of asthma. Each is convinced he is right, and each offers the best proof he can. Historians can argue whether this slowed down search for better asthma wisdom, or actually sped it up.
Franz Daniel Reisseissen is a German physician who studies the lungs, and he concludes that "there is another apparatus appointed for contracting the bronchi, which consists of transverse muscular fibres. As far as the cartilaginous rows extend, these fibres are inserted...." (7)
In other words, according to "The Cyclopaedia of practical medicine" (edited by John Floyer in 1833, volume 1, page 186), Reissiessen proves muscle fibres wrap around the air passages of the lungs almost all the way to the alveoli. His writings are published in Berlin in 1822.
Barry E Brenner, in "Emergency Asthma" (edited by Barry E. Brenner, 1998, page 7) wrote that Ramadge, described food as an asthma trigger, recommends moving from the city to country, and of asthma being mostly a nocturnal disease. He discourages use of opiates because they impede respirations that are already impeded. He mainly recommends strammonium because it "produces a grateful forgetfulness and a balmy oblivion like opiates." (9)
J.B. Berkart in his 1878 book "On Asthma: It's Pathology and Treatment" (volume I, page 23) described that Lefevre observed his own asthma and that of a friend and concluded asthma could only be caused by bronchospasm. Yet he (Lefevre) believed this bronchospasm was caused by the mind. (10)
Williams must have agreed with Laennec and Berkart that asthma was an abused term. Whitaker noted that in 1768 there were 17 different types of asthma (as described by Savage) and in 1822 this was reduced to 11 (by Richter). This was confusing. Williams wanted to simplify the definition of asthma.
Williams became the first to break asthma into two types: spasmodic and paralytic. Berkart wrote that as of the writing of his (Berhart's) book, the two terms described by Williams were the ones accepted by most experts. However, other doctors would continue to reclassify asthma to their own content and amusement.
This essentially proved Cullen wrong, that the muscle was not just a continuation of a nerve. Yet since nerves still connected to muscles, van Killiker's discovery was unable to stop the fallacy of the nervous theory of asthma.
- Pepper, William, Louis Star, "A System of Practical Medicine," Volume 3, page 184
- Berkart, J.B., "On Asthma: It's pathology and treatment," 1878, London, Chapter II, "History of Asthma," page 12
- Bree, Robert, "A Practical Inquiry into Disordered Respiration, distinguishing the Species of Convulsive Asthma, their Causes, and Indications of Cure, London, 1810. I could not find the 1790 edition online, yet this one serves our purpose.
- Schmiegelow, Ernest, "Asthma, considered specially in relation to nasal disease," 1890, London, page 4
- Jackson, Mark, "Asthma: The biography," 2009, London, pages 86-88 (If you're interested in a good asthma history book, this is it.)
- Bryan, Jenny, "Asthma," 2008, page 8
- Floyer, John, ed., "The Cyclopaedia of practical medicine," 1833, volume 1, page 186
- Whitaker, James Thomas, "The theory and practice of medicine," 1893
- Brenner, Barry E, ed, "Emergency Asthma" 1998, page 7 (chapter one is a history of asthma written by Brenner)
- Berkart, J.B.,"On Asthma: It's Pathology and Treatment, 18xx, volume I, page 23 (Berkart started his book with a good history of asthma up to his time. I base much of this post on his thorough asthma history.)
- Pepper, op cit, page 194
- Berkart, op cit, page 27
- Daintith, John, "Biographical encyclopedia of scientists."
- Ramadge, Francis Hopkins, "Asthma, its species and comications, 1835, London
- Duchenne, Guillaume Benjamin, "Selections from the works of Dr. Duchenne (de Boluogne)," 1883, London
Note: This post updated on 2/14/13 and republished under a different url