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October 25, 1924


JAMA. 1924;83(17):1336-1337. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02660170052020

For the student of medicine, few substances associated with the living body transcend urea in their biochemical interest. More than a century and a half has elapsed since this nitrogenous compound was discovered as a constituent of the urine; and the year just passed witnessed the centennial anniversary of Prevost and Dumas' isolation of urea from the blood. Meanwhile, the significance of urea as the preponderating end-product of the metabolism of proteins in the organism has become universally recognized; and the quantitative estimation of the substance has become a routine procedure in many clinical as well as physiologic laboratories. In view of the fact that the chemical structure of urea has been recognized since the early days of modern organic chemistry, it seems surprising that the details of the genesis of this relatively simple catabolite should still remain shrouded in uncertainty, if not mystery. Surely there can be little that

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