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November 17, 1923


JAMA. 1923;81(20):1696. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650200046020

Even the most enthusiastic endocrinologist must still admit that the secrets of the physiologic functions of the pineal body, or epiphysis cerebri, have not yet been clearly revealed. The earlier studies on the effects of extracts of the pineal substance were frankly disappointing. There was nothing essentially significant in the fact that a fall of blood pressure could be produced by intravenous injections; for depressor substances seem to be widely distributed, and the fact that a tissue yields potent substances to the chemist's manipulation by no means proves that normally they have a physiologic function or pathologic significance. The pineal body seems to reach its greatest development in man at about the seventh year. After this, and particularly after puberty, it undergoes a process of involution during which the glandular structure gradually disappears and its place is taken by fibrous tissue. This fact suggests, even if in an indirect way,