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August 22, 1942


JAMA. 1942;119(17):1429-1430. doi:10.1001/jama.1942.02830340041012

The suggestion has been made that the production of radioactive isotopes by physicists and the concentration of naturally occurring isotopes by chemists have provided what may in the final analysis prove to be the "Rosetta stone" for the elucidation of metabolic processes of the organism. The isotopes are readily recognizable, tagged elements that apparently behave exactly like their common prototypes in the body. The radioactive isotope of iron, which has the comparatively long half life of forty-seven days, has proved to be a particularly valuable tool in biologic researches, and its use has amplified our understanding of the metabolism of iron. The informative experiments of Hahn and his co-workers on the absorption, transportation and utilization of radioactive iron have been discussed in The Journal.1 Studies with tagged iron permitted the surprising observation that the need of the organism for iron in dogs in some manner determines the absorption of

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