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At the recent congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Kinderheilkunde, the principal topic on the program was "Internal Secretions." Professor Birk of Tübingen discussed the thymus gland. He asserted that in the anatomic structure of the gland there is no evidence of an endosecretory function. The results of experimental research are contradictory. Many investigators regard the gland as essential to life; others, however, including Birk, declare that loss of the thymus is unimportant; and the changes in the bones that have been observed are due to operative trauma, infection, and other causes. The tetanic manifestations Birk ascribes to a disturbance of endocrine balance, though he admits that there may be a remote effect of loss of the thymus on the parathyroid glands. Retardation of growth alone seems to have any direct connection with loss of the thymus. A secretion of the thymus gland also has a hypotonic effect
BERLIN. JAMA. 1923;81(21):1805. doi:10.1001/jama.1923.02650210071027
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