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Let us leave the field of battle and metaphor and speak of a new development which concerns inflammation. ACTH and cortisone, which from now on is used to include related substances, diminish all the activities, which grouped together constitute inflammation. Just as a bishop of London could say of the body social, “None make more trouble than those who go about doing good,” so in the physical body, inflammation, intended for our good, can often do more harm than the condition which it is aiming to combat. This is strikingly so on the surface of the eye. The after-result of inflammation is, in perhaps most cases, the formation of scar tissue. Scar tissue on the front of the eyeball will not transmit light well. Therefore trouble here is excellently handled by cortisone. The remarkable effect of cortisone on arthritis is well known. Joint surfaces, like the eye, are too delicate to take well the strenuous action of inflammation. But cortisone does not cure, on the eye or in the joints.
However, it is well recognized now that it may be very unsafe to use cortisone or ACTH in some infections. Patients getting these drugs may feel comfortable and contented as they are not being disturbed by the aggravating activities of inflammation. But meanwhile the disease may be raging unchecked. Nature is unrelenting and we must be very careful how we interfere with her ways.
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