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September 28, 1918


JAMA. 1918;71(13):1061-1062. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600390045017

It is nearly half a century since urobilin was described by Jaffe. Little attention was paid to this substance from a clinical standpoint until its relation to the decomposition of bile pigment by bacterial action in the alimentary canal was made prominent by Friedrich Müller. The terms "urobilin" and "urobilinogen" are applied to a group of derivatives of bile or blood pigment for which methods of estimation, crude though they may appear to careful analysts, have been devised and widely applied to the examination of urine and feces by a considerable number of clinicians and in a great diversity of cases. Like many novelties in clinical chemistry—we may cite the indican test and Ehrlich's diazoreaction—the test for urobilin has attained a considerable popularity and has been the subject of generalizations that might appear highly significant and diagnostic to the uncritical reviewer. It seems worth while, therefore, to point out at