News from the Past.
Some notable work has been done by Dr. James Cantlie, the tropical medicine specialist, in the use of tuning-forks in the diagnosis of obscure disease conditions.
Dr. Cantlie found, says the ‘Times’ that in certain cases it was exceedingly difficult with an ordinary stethoscope to obtain accurate knowledge of the enlargement of such organs as the liver, spleen, stomach and heart, more especially where enlargement was accompanied by affection of neighbouring structures.
He discovered that if a tuning-fork was set vibrating, and the shaft of the fork placed against the body-wall and moved about, a note varying with the density of the organ situated immediately beneath was transmitted to the stethoscope.
“In this way”, he says, “the limits of the liver can be gauged with almost hair-breadth precision.” The fork used gives out the note C sharp: it has a specially-designed ‘striker’ attachment, so that it need not be removed from position for the purpose of re-vibrating.
Dr. Cantlie in certain cases compared the results of his tuning-fork method with those obtained by means of X-rays and found that the former were absolutely accurate. He believes that the method can be used in diagnosing cases of broken ribs and bones generally.
Pall Mall Gazette, 05 February, 1914