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Article
December 6, 1919

DOES SILICON HAVE A PHYSIOLOGIC SIGNIFICANCE?

JAMA. 1919;73(23):1770. doi:10.1001/jama.1919.02610490034016
Abstract

The occurrence of the element silicon as a constituent of animal tissues has often been reported. For the most part, however, it has been regarded as an adventitious component that has accidentally found its way into the organism and been deposited somewhere because of the insolubility of many of the compounds of silicon. Accumulations have been discovered in the lungs as the result of inhaled dust containing siliceous particles. Among gold miners, silicosis thus arises just as anthracosis results from the inhalation of coal dust, siderosis from iron-containing dusts, and aluminosis from clay dusts.

The late Professor Kobert of Rostock and his pupils have been inclined in recent years to ascribe great significance to silicon, which they regard as a normal rather than an accidental constituent of certain tissues. Ever since the discovery of the unique physiologic rôle of minute quantities of iodin in the body there has been a

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