Those conditions of the new-born characterized by a hemorrhagic tendency, icterus, and fatty changes, are probably all syndromes which may occur as the result of a number of toxic agents.
All of them, however, have been produced, in these experiments, by the action of a single experimental agent. Thus, a picture indistinguishable from that called Buhl's disease has been obtained by the use of chloroform, as have also the pictures known as Winckel's disease, melæna neonatorum, etc.
Chloroform is not held to be the only substance that has this power. It stands rather as one member of a group of agents, the effects of which in general and in individual organs are similar to those caused by lack of oxygen.
The essential features of these conditions have also been produced by direct asphyxiation of the fetus. The suggestion is therefore made that underlying all these symptoms and pathological complexes, there is a deficiency of oxidation, general, local, or selective, thus bringing this group of diseases into the general category of acute yellow atrophy of the liver, eclampsia, pernicious vomiting, cyclic vomiting, phosphorus poisoning, etc.
In human beings, chloroform and asphyxia must, in many instances, be the determining causes.
There remain, however, other cases in which different factors are to be sought.