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September 27, 1930


JAMA. 1930;95(13):937-938. doi:10.1001/jama.1930.02720130033014

Some years ago the late S. J. Meltzer pointed out what is now a recognized principle in vertebrate biology, that there is a large factor of safety in the make-up of the body. In other words, there is normally an excess of practically all kinds of functioning tissue for the maintenance of those interrelated equilibriums the resultant of which is a sine qua non for life. The active mass of practically any of the paired organs—suprarenals, gonads, kidneys, lungs—can be reduced by half without marked interference with normal function and with compensatory hypertrophy usually the only discernible structural change. But of still greater interest are the evidences of reciprocal activity of organs which have obvious functions more or less unrelated to one another. On this basis the thyroid, testes and suprarenals can be grouped together and the islands of Langerhans and suprarenal glands form another pair. The extreme of such

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