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DB 222

MR 2700,18


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INTESTINES are that portion of the digestive canal into which the food is received after it has been partially digested in the stomach, and in which its further assimilation, the separation and absorption of the nutritive matter, and the removal of that which is excrementitious, take place. In an adult, the intestines consist of a convoluted tube of from 30 to 40 feet in length, and are, from the difference of their diameters in different parts, divided into small intestines, which comprise about the first four-fifths, and large intestines, which constitute the other fifth of their length. The former again are divided into the duodenum, into which the ducts from the liver and pancreas open, and in which the chyme from the stomach is converted into chyle [DIGESTION; CHYLE]; the jejunum, in which the absorption of the nutritive matter of the food is principally effected; and the ileum. The large intestines are divided into the cœcum, colon, and rectum.

The walls of the intestinal canal are composed of three principal coats or membranes. The exterior, which is smooth and polished, is called the peritoneal, and its principal use is to permit the free motions of the intestines within the abdomen, and of their several convolutions against each other, by rendering the effect of friction as slight as possible. Next to and within the peritoneal coat is the muscular, which is composed of two layers of fibres; an external, in which they are directed longitudinally, and an internal, of which the fibres encircle the intestine. By these the motions of the intestines and the propulsion of their contents are effected; the longitudinal fibres tending to shorten each portion of the canal, while the circular contract its diameter; and the two sets together producing a motion of the tube somewhat like that of a worm, whence it has received the name of vermicular motion. Beneath these layers, and separated from them by a stratum of cellylar tissue, which has been sometimes called the fourth or nerVous coat, is the mucous membrane, which is the most important part of the intestinal canal. It is everywhere beset by innumerable minute glands, by which the secretion of mucus and the other intestinal juices is carried on. In the small intestines it has a fine velvet-like surface, made up of minute thickly-set hair-like processes, or villi, which are about th of an inch in length, and stand up so that their tops seem to form a smooth surface like the pile of velvet. These, as well as all the rest of the mucous membrane, are protected from the irritation which the immediate contact of foreign substances would produce, by a covering of an inorganic cuticle of extreme delicacy, called epithelium.

The principal functions performed by the intestines are the conversion of the chyme [DIGESTION; GASTRIC JUICE] into chyle, the absorption of the latter, and the removal of the innutritious parts of the food and of a considerable quantity of excrementitious matter. In the first process, which constitutes the last stage of digestion, the secretions of the liver and pancreas take an important part; the P. C., No. 788,


ducts by which they are conveyed open into the intestinal canal, near the middle of the duodenum, or about six inches from the aperture by which the food passes from the stomach; and immediately beyond the orifices of these ducts the villi are of great size, and thickly set on prominent folds of the mucous membrane, called valvula conniventes. These folds, at the same time that they increase the extent of surface for absorption, serve to entangle the semifluid mass of food, now completely digested; they are most numerous and prominent in the jejunum, where absorption is carried on earliest and most rapidly, but are found to a slighter extent throughout the whole of the small intestines.


The absorption of the chyle is effected by the villi, each of which is composed of a minute tube, which is the termination of a branch of the lacteal or absorbent system of vessels, and is ens "thed in a delicate tissue containing a net-work of capilla arteries and veins. The form and function of the vill be best demonstrated in an animal which has died sthe Py after a full meal; they then appear turgid, and north rect, filled with a whitish milky fluid, the chyle, whbuildig fast as it is absorbed by them, is conveyed by numeravili onverging streams into the main trunk of the absoriic system, called the thoracic duct, through which it is ally poured into the blood of the left subclavian vein, a bhort distance before it enters the right side of the heart [HEART.] The whole process of absorption is not unaptly compared to that by which the fluids are conveyed from the earth through the roots into the stem of a plant; the villi of the intestine being represented by the tufts of hair-like spongioles which are placed at the terminations of the fibres of the root.

The portion of the food which is unfit for the nourishment of the body is forced onwards by the vermicular motion of the intestines, and being mixed with the resinous and other excrementitious substances secreted by the liver and other glands, is conveyed through the whole tract of the intestines; and after it has been exposed to the absorbing vessels, which are placed in greater or less abundance in every part of the canal, so that not a particle of nutriment can be lost, the residue is voided.

INTONATION, in vocal music, is the tuning of the voice the singing true or false-in tune or out of tune. Correct Intonation is the first requisite in a singer; this wanting, all his other musical qualities, however good, are unavailing.

INTRA'DOS and EXTRA'DOS, the lower and higher curves of an arch. [ARCH]

INTRICA'RIA, a small Polypifer from the oolitic rocks of France, allied to Cellaria. (M. Defrance, Dic. des Sci. Nat.)

INTUITION (intueri), the most simple act of the reason or intellect, on which, according to Locke, depends all the certainty and evidence of all our knowledge; which certainty every one finds to be so great, that he cannot VOL. XIII.-B

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