[From The Journal of the American Medical Association of various dates]
Dr. Albert Abrams of San Francisco is the latest rocket to blaze a somewhat
polychromatic course across the firmament of pseudo-medicine. The stick will
fall, anon. In the filed of diagnosis Dr. Abrams claims to have evolved
a system of abdominal percussion, practiced in connection with
certain apparatus that he has had made, from which he derives what he is
pleased to term the "Electronic Reactions of Abrams" (abbreviated ERA).
By means of this system it is claimed that Abrams "can diagnose the sex,
race and disease" of a patient he has never seen. All that he needs
is a sample of blood from the individual. A few drops of blood, taken from
a person while he is facing west but who may be a thousand miles
or more away, are put on a piece of paper and the paper is
placed in what Abrams calls his "Dynamizer." This is connected
with his "Rheostatic Dynamizer," from which, in turn, wires go to
the "Vibratory Rate Rheostat" that is connected with the "Measuring
Rheostat"! From the "Measuring Rheostat" comes a wire at the end of which
is an electrode which is pressed to the forehead of a healthy
individual (the subject) whose abdomen is being percussed. The "subject"
must face west and be in a dim light...
The nub of the whole matter is, however, that the alleged
diagnosis is made by mapping out various areas of resonance and dulness
[sic] in the "subject" who is being percussed. Dr. Abrams claims
to be able to tell by this means whether the individual whose blood
is being "tested" is suffering from syphilis, sarcoma, carcinoma, typhoid
fever, malaria, gonorrhea or tuberculosis and, if so suffering, where the
diseased area is located! He can also diagnose pregnancy by the
More wonderful still! Dr. Abrams now claims that, for the drop
of blood, he can substitute the autograph of
an individual, living or dead, and subject it to his tests and
declare whether or not the individual is or was a sufferer from syphilis,
etc. He has, in fact, reported the results of subjecting
the autograph of Samuel Pepys to his "electronic reactions" and finding
that this famous diarist suffered from congenital syphilis; of finding the
same for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and also for Edgar Allen Poe and, in
the case of the latter, adding that he also got the "reaction of
dipsomania." The autograph (written in 1775) of that stern old moralist Dr.
Samuel Johnson gave the "reaction" for acquired syphilis
In the filed of treatment Albert Abrams claims equal marvels. He has
discovered that every disease has its own vibratory rated and that all
drugs that are specific in the treatment of disease have a definite vibration
rate. He has, therefore, devised another instrument which he calls
the "Oscilloclast." This is capable, so it is claimed, of producing
vibrations of various rapidities. Instead of using a drug, one starts
the "Oscilloclast" going, moves the indicator to the number corresponding
to the vibration rate of the indicated drug and applies the instrument
to the sufferer, who then gets, it is alleged, the therapeutic
action of the drug in question. The "Oscilloclast" is not for sale;
it can be leased, to those who are willing to pay the price and
sign a contract that they will not open it!
"SPONDYLOTHERAPY," "ELECTRONIC REACTIONS,"
THE "OSCILLOCLAST," THE "ELECTROBIOSCOPE," ETC.
..According to our records, Albert Abrams, A.M., M.D., LL.D., F.R.M.S.,
was born in San Francisco in 1864. He was graduated in medicine by the University
of Heidelberg, German, in 1882. Dr. Abrams has written voluminously.
In 1910, his book on "Spondylotherapy" ("Physio-Therapy of the Spine") was
reviewed in THE JOURNAL. "Spondylotherapy"
is a neologic creation of Dr. Abrams. According to its disciples, it
concerns itself "only with the excitation of the functional centers of
the spinal cord" and has been called "the science of evoking the reflexes
of the body both to diagnose and to cure disease." In bringing
its review of Abrams' book on Spondylotherapy" to a close, THE
"....one wonders whether this is an attempt to explain osteopathy
and chiropractic to the understanding or the regular practitioner, or to
exploit the very ingenious percussion devices of the author whether it
is really true that medical men really know practically nothing about
the cure of disease through treatment of the spine. Let us hope
that it may be the latter and that a careful study of this unique volume
may open new avenues heretofore undreamed of."
Between 1912 and 1914 Dr. Abrams gave "clinical courses" on Spondylotherapy"
in various parts of the country-price $50...More recently, Dr. Abrams
has advertised that he gives a "course" in Spondylotherapy in Stan
Francisco, beginning on the first of each month. The course lasts
four weeks. "The honorarium for this course is $200.00"
In 1912 an organization was created devoted to this new therapeutic method:
the "American Association for the Study of Spondylotherapy." Later Dr.
Abrams was made Honorary President. Whether the organization is still
viable we do not know.
ELECTRIC REACTIONS OF ABRAMS
In addition to "Spondylotherapy," Dr. Abrams has also evolved what he calls
the "Electronic Reactions of Abrams." These are said to make possible
long-distance diagnoses, it being necessary only to send a few drops of blood
taken from the patient and allowed to dry on a piece of paper. There are,
it seems, certain instruments and devices used in the performance of these
diagnostic feats. By means of the "Electronic Reactions" Dr. Abrams
(while admitting the protective factor of vaccination against smallpox) has
discovered that practically all the vaccines obtained from reliable firms
yield the reaction ("electronic tests") of congenital syphilis, and that
many of them also yield the reaction of tuberculosis and of streptococci
and staphylococci. Further, "from the cicatrices of all vaccinated persons,
one can always elicit a reaction of congenital syphilis and in early scars
a tuberculous reaction." Dr. Abrams also declares that exposing vaccine virus
for ten minutes to blue light will destroy the syphilitic, streptococcic
and staphylococcic reactions and exposing it for the same period to yellow
light will destroy the tuberculous reaction...
...what seems to be the outstanding piece of apparatus, devised or invented
by Dr. Abrams, the piece de resistance, as it were, of physicoclinical diagnosis
and treatment, is the "Oscilloclast."
This device is not for sale. It can be had only on lease after signing
a contract not to open the device which is hermetically sealed. The
first payment is $200 or $250, according to whether it is wired for alternating
or direct current. Then there is a monthly payment of $5. Dr. Abrams
publishes a list of more than 130 men who have leased one or
more"Oscilloclasts." Sir James Barr's name heads the list. According to Dr.
Abrams, the "Oscilloclast" owes its conception to the therapeutic principles
he advocates. These, in part, are
Physiologic phenomena are manifestations of electronic energy.
Pathologic phenomen are manifestations of perturbed electronic
The energy in health and disease has an invariable and definite rate
of vibration (determinable by the electronic reactions).
Specific drugs possess a like vibratory rate as the diseases
for which they are effective. These like vibratory rates (homovibrations)
of drugs owe the efficacy to their inherent radioactivity. Thus, an obsolete
drug like gamboge painted on the chest in incipient tuberculosis will effect
a symptomatic cure within a few weeks. Gamboge possesses the same
vibratory rate as tuberculosis. Our conception that drug action is dependent
on direct cellular contact is thus demolished. . . .
All forms of energy whether derived from heat, electricity of magnetism
may be made to yield different rates of vibration and these rates corresponding
to diseases are utilized for their destruction.
If one accepts one of Dr. Abrams' theories, the possibilities of such a piece
of machinery as the "oscilloclast" would seem to loom large, not only in
therapeutics, but also in economics. All one needs to do, according
to Dr. Abrams, is to ascertain"the vibration rate of a drug" and then
to substitute the same vibration as produced by the "Oscilloclast." Thus,
if one substitutes the "vibratory rate of atropin" for the drug itself "the
mouth dries or the subject feels as if it were puckered." Conversely, if
you switch the "oscilloclast" to the pilocarpin vibratory , there is
a copious flow of saliva.
THERAPEUTIC RESULTS WITH OSCILLOCLAST
What some of the lessees of the Oscilloclast are accomplishing (if we are
to believe the clinical reports published in Physico-Clinical
Medicine [an Abrams publication]) may be gathered from the following
"Woman. Age 52-Diagnosis of acquired syphilis made by one of
our most eminent clinicians. (?). Abrams test showed tuberculosis of the
apex of the right lung. No syphilis. Fourteen treatments with the Oscilloclast
at 5. Patient gained fourteen pounds in three weeks. Now in perfect
"Mechanic, Age 22.-Acute acquired syphilis. General eruption,
throat, mouth symptoms and chancre. Thirteen treatments with the Oscilloclast
at 3 and splenic sterilization only. Complete abatement of all
"Woman, Age 42.-Strep infection of the second upper cuspid
tooth of three years' standing. Well developed sinus. Regular discharge
of pus. Eight treatments with the Oscilloclast at 2. Clinically
"Cancer of the pylorus and pylorectomy executed at the Mayo
Clinic. Later, vomiting, severe pains, loss in weight, etc. After the third
treatment [with Oscilloclast]pains ceased and, after 14 treatments, she was
well and continued so when I last saw her."
"Cancer of the uterus. Inoperable. Severe uterine hemorrhages.
Electrode of Oscilloclast to cervix and hemorrhage ceased after second
treatment. After 14 treatments the patient declared she was well. Another
case of the same character was followed by equally good
ECONOMIC RESULTS WITH THE OSCILLOCLAST
It also seems to be a great business-getter, as the following testimonials
published by Dr. Abrams show:
"The Oscilloclast has doubled my business."-S. King., M.D.
"I am doing good work with the Oscilloclast in T.B. and when
I get more room I shall want another machine."-H. Michener
"We are swamped with work and our three cord Oscilloclast is
working to full capacity. We are still astonishing the incredulous and keeping
busy. We must have another Oscilloclast at once for there are so many
here who demand treatment."-W.P. Myers, M.D. (Cal.)."
(From the Journal A.M.A., March 25, 1922)