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May 23, 1931


JAMA. 1931;96(21):1797. doi:10.1001/jama.1931.02720470051014

In 1614 Plater1 reported a sudden death without apparent cause in a child, aged 5 months, in whom an enlarged thymus was the only abnormality observed at necropsy. In 1889 Paltauf2 described status lymphaticus as a decreased resistance of the body to shocks or injuries dependent on a specific constitutional anomaly shown anatomically by prominent thymic and lymphatic tissue. This conception has been generally accepted. The thymus will atrophy from many causes, such as inanition, disease and exposure to the x-rays. Hammar,3 studying the unatrophied thymus, determined its normal size and weight at various ages. The gland grows until puberty, after which it gradually decreases in size.

A committee, which has recently been investigating status thymicolymphaticus (or status lymphaticus) under the British Medical Research Council,4 has just made available observations on 680 cases that came to the attention of coroners. They were unable to find any