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306 Report of the Leprosy Commission:
considered by some authorities to be connected with, if not
wholly dependent on, the chemical nature of the tissues; so
that while the tissues are normal or in full vigour (if the
phrase may be allowed for the purpose of illustrating my
meaning), a particular microbe getting access to them fails to
thrive-cannot, so to speak, overcome the resistance or inimical
action offered by the tissues. This power of resistance of
tissues can, however, be greatly reduced or even abolished by
certain means, such as depression of their vitality either due to
ptomaines and certain other chemical substances which have
invaded them, or to nervous exhaustion, and the like."
Where food is considered of tiological importance in the
production of an infective disease, there are, broadly speaking,
two ways in which it may cause the latter. " First, by a
direct introduction of the bacillus into the alimentary tract;
secondly, by causing changes in the tissues capable of rousing
into activity a bacillus already existing in them,"8 or of offering
a suitable soil to a bacillus subsequently introduced into
These points will be kept in view in the following discussion.
At the present moment three substances have been specially
singled out as having a causal relation to leprosy, viz., fish,
salt, and water. However, before discussing the effect of
food in general, and of these three articles in particular, a few
remarks on the diets of the Indian community must be made.
The inhabitants of India are almost entirely vegetarians,
and the majority of people do not touch flesh from one year's
end to another. Muhammadans, it is true, make flesh, other
than that of the pig, a regular article of diet, but expense
usually prevents its extensive consumption, and it is used
generally in small quantities to supplement the main vegetable
elements of their food. Hindus are vegetarians, but certain
(8) Journal of the Leprosy Investigation Committee, No. 1, August 1890,
page 77.

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