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March 1, 1924


JAMA. 1924;82(9):720. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650350052022

Every beginner in the study of biology soon learns that pure water is not an ideal medium in which to bathe living tissues. He comes speedily to the realization that the isolated cells promptly die in an environment of pure water, and that the latter is not compatible with the blood that courses in the circulation of the higher forms of animal life. Many of these cells are so constituted that their very existence, to quote a recent writer,1 is dependent on the maintenance of the osmotic pressure of the surrounding medium within very narrow limits of variation. This is conspicuously true of the colored corpuscles of the blood. The importance of isotonicity in the solutions applied to living tissues has come to be generally recognized. When a cut is exposed to either water or strong salt solution the sensation is likely to be one of irritation, whereas physiologic

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