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January 28, 1961


JAMA. 1961;175(4):316-318. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040040048011

A large and rapidly expanding literature attests to the recent increase in knowledge concerning the thyroid gland. The widespread use of radioactive iodine, the development of precise chemical methods for quantitating tissue and serum thyroid hormone levels, growing experience with `antithyroid' compounds, the discovery of 'new' thyroactive compounds, adaptation of the tools of chromatography, electrophoresis, and immunochemistry—all have combined to yield insight into the physiology, pathology, and biochemistry of the thyroid gland and to enlarge the diagnostic and therapeutic armamentarium of the clinician.

Despite significant advances in basic knowledge, the clinical problems remain essentially the same. When the diagnosis of hypothyroidism, of whatever etiology, is made, replacement with a thyroactive compound remains the ideal therapy; the diagnosis of thyrotoxicosis still calls for measures to decrease the amount of circulating thyroid hormone, by thyroid surgery, antithyroid drugs, or radioactive iodine; and an enlarged thyroid still poses the problem of its nature and the question of "to operate or not to operate." Nevertheless, the far-reaching intellectual ferment resulting from the advances noted above has resulted in clarification

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