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October 3, 1925


JAMA. 1925;85(14):1062-1063. doi:10.1001/jama.1925.02670140048014

The proposal to employ the quantitative measurement of urobilin, or its precursor urobilinogen, in the urine as an aid to diagnosis is not a new one. Urobilinogen is almost invariably present in the urine of man. Urobilin rarely, if ever, appears in the freshly voided urine; but it can readily be formed from its antecedent, so that the two closely related substances may be regarded as having a common history and significance. Fortunately, there are fairly satisfactory methods for the quantitative estimation of these pigmentary compounds. Their application has shown that large variations occur in the output of urobilinogen in the urine; and it has been the study of these that has raised the question of their possible diagnostic significance. The literature of the subject reveals an alternation of enthusiasm and doubt. Not a little of the uncertainty is attributable to the conflict of opinion regarding the genesis of the