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August 13, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(7):525-526. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690070035016

The functions of the lymphoid organ known as the thymus, like those of the spleen, may properly be said to remain for the most part shrouded in mystery. The one well established fact with regard to the thymus is that it undergoes involution after the age of puberty and may even disappear in the adult. Conjectures regarding its possible action as a gland of internal secretion are based on extremely indirect evidence. The chaotic condition of the literature regarding the organ is indicated by the remark of a recent writer who asserted that each concept advanced as to its origin, function, growth and possible pathologic significance has immediately been challenged. Extirpation experiments, which have given so much valuable testimony with respect to the physiologic uses of such organs as the pancreas and the kidneys, have failed thus far to offer any dependable clues to investigators.

Strangely enough, despite all this