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November 23, 1935

Current Comment

JAMA. 1935;105(21):1688. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760470042017

ABSORPTION FROM THE MIDDLE EAR  The fact that epithelial tissue other than that lining the lumen of the gastro-intestinal tract may be permeable to a large number of substances is well known. Vitamin D, for example, may be absorbed through the skin, and lead readily passes through pulmonary epithelium. Recently the possibility of the absorption of substances from the middle ear has been studied. In the normal subject this question would have little significance, as the middle ear, in addition to being small, is closed externally and is rather remotely open to the posterior part of the nasal cavity. In cases of infection of the middle ear, however, an absorption of toxic substances might well occur, as is indicated by the development of fever, leukocytosis and general malaise. Experimental data favoring this view have been obtained.1 Solutions of drugs that exert easily recognizable effects, such as nicotine, which raises