THESE do not occur in healthy urine, and rarely as an element in diseased action. They contain twenty six per cent of sulphur.
Urine which contains cystine is of a pale yellow color, and has a low specific gravity. It frequently has an oily appearance, and its smell in, peculiar, resembling that of sweet brier. Sometimes its odor is fetid, like putrid cabbage. On being kept for a short time, it has its surface covered with a periele which looks oily, and consists of a mixture of crystals of cystine and the phosphate of ammonia and magnesia.
The cystine deposit appears to be diffused through the urine, which is always turbid when boiled. It is a white or fawncolored powder, and falls to the bottom as a sediment. It undergoes no change by warming, the urine, and this distinguishes it from white urate of ammonia. It is not soluble in diluted hydrochloric or strong acetic acid, which distinguishes it again from the earthy phosphates.
To test this deposit, add liquor ammonia to a portion of it, and shake them. If the deposit be cystine, it will dissolve readily. Allow a few drops of the solution to evaporate on a slip of glass, and the six sided tablets of cystine will remain, which may be examined under the microscope. (Fig. 126.)
It is to be remembered that occasionally the chloride of sodium or common salt crystallizes in octahedral forms (Fig. 12T), which, in some positions, may look very much like cystine. The ready solubility of the chloride in water, and the absence of an color when they are examined by polarized light, will prevent mistaking these crystals for cystine. If urine containing common salt be quickly evaporated on a slip of glass, and be then examined, instead of the octahedrons, we find crosslets and daggers. (Fig. 128.)
Causes. An excess of sulphur in the tissues, a scrofulous constitution, and hereditary predisposition, with defective oxidation, and torpidity of the liver. It is often found in the urine of girls who have the green sickness.
Treatment. The great object is to improve the general health, which is to be done by attending to the skin, and the administration of iron and bitters, and also alternatives. The syrup of iodide of iron is a valuable remedy. Podophyllin and leptandrin (34) are wanted to regulate the liver. The nitro muriatic acid (76) should be tried.
The daily sponge bath, and daily exercise, as in most chronic complaints, must on no account be neglected.
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