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June 2, 1923


JAMA. 1923;80(22):1620. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02640490040016

In the fundamental structures of the body, comparatively few elements are normally concerned. Despite the close relationship of various elements from the standpoint of chemical criteria, it by no means follows that their physiologic rôles are equally comparable. One need merely contrast the difference between the alkali metals sodium and potassium in this respect. In the case of the familiar alkali earth metals calcium, magnesium, barium and strontium, it is well known that the last two are decidedly detrimental to physiologic well-being, in contrast to calcium, for example, which is present in the properly developed adult to the extent of several pounds.

There has long been a debate in physiologic literature as to whether strontium can be substituted to any extent for calcium and magnesium, particularly in the skeletal system, in which the use of calcium salts seems to be primarily structural rather than functional. The results of the earlier