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March 22, 1924


JAMA. 1924;82(12):968-969. doi:10.1001/jama.1924.02650380036015

In former days it was quite customary to refer to the skin as an excretory organ in much the same sense that the expression is applied to the kidneys. The possibility of "cutaneous respiration" was also discussed, even though it seemed unlikely to be of sufficient magnitude to play a part in the gaseous exchange of the body. It had long been known that when the skin is covered with an impenetrable varnish a peculiar train of symptoms sets up leading to death; but these manifestations are now recognized to be due to the failure of temperature regulation through skin functions other than the diffusion of gases. In 1891, Halliburton wrote in his widely read Textbook of Chemical Physiology and Pathology: "The relation of the secretion of the skin to that of the kidneys is a very close one. Thus copious secretion of urine, or watery evacuations from the alimentary