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December 22, 1945


JAMA. 1945;129(17):1225-1226. doi:10.1001/jama.1945.02860510091024

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To the Editor:—  Occasionally, discoveries are made in apparently unrelated fields in medicine which under closer examinations can be brought under a common denominator.While a chief resident at the Montefiore hospital, New York, I was investigating a possible influence of thiouracil on cancer of the thyroid gland. The results, however, were inconclusive. But while examining goitrogenic substances it occurred to me that potassium thiocyanate, known to produce goiter, has a chemical formula similar to thiourea. By substituting the K— by NH4—, ammonium thiocyanate, NH4CNS, is obtained. This chemical compound can be converted into thiourea:NH4CNS⇆CS (NH2)2This formula evidently explains the goitrogenic property of potassium thiocyanate.Other goitrogenic substances include the sulfonamides. It is assumed, almost with certainty, that the bacteriostatic effect of the sulfonamides is due to a substitution of metabolites essential to the growth of the bacteria by substances

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