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August 29, 1959


Author Affiliations

Oakland, Calif.

From the Institute for Metabolic Research, Highland-Alameda County Hospital.

JAMA. 1959;170(18):2201-2202. doi:10.1001/jama.1959.63010180021013c

By and large, one speaks with authority about those things which he is able to measure. Unfortunately, the ability to measure and the ability to understand do not necessarily go hand in hand. Of all the chemical compounds that are measured in clinical laboratories, there is none about which more has been written and about which less is understood than cholesterol.

In the human subject, roughly two-thirds of the amount of cholesterol found in the plasma is esterified with fatty acids. It seems highly probable that, in one way or another, it is vitally implicated in the over-all transport mechanisms involved in fatty acid metabolism. One cannot go beyond this until further data have become available.

From a clinical standpoint, it is well established that, statistically, elevated levels of cholesterol are found in association with atherosclerosis. It seems reasonable to believe, therefore, that physiological measures directed toward lowering the level

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