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April 6, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(14):1391. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810140091025

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To the Editor:—  The observations of Swim, McCawley and Leake (Chemical Tests for Alcoholic Intoxication, correspondence, The Journal, March 23, p. 1098) in normal healthy rabbits that have never ingested alcohol are surprising and if later confirmed will definitely prove that the test for drunkenness should not be applied to rabbits. However, I have performed numerous tests on human beings living and dead and have never found alcohol that had not been taken into the body.The chemical test for alcohol in body fluids (Heise, H. A.: The Specificity of the Test for Alcohol in Body Fluids, Am. J. Clin. Path.4:182 [March] 1934) has been shown to be accurate for all practical purposes in tests applied to human beings. The best evidence of the specificity of the test is that the percentage of alcohol found by chemical means agrees closely with the refractometer readings calculated as for alcohol.

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