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March 4, 1939


JAMA. 1939;112(9):844. doi:10.1001/jama.1939.02800090054013

The discovery by Baumann in 1895 that the thyroid gland of mammals contains iodine in organic combination stimulated other investigators in their attempts to throw light on the true nature of diseases of the thyroid. Two decades after Baumann's observation, Kendall succeeded in isolating the iodine-containing amino acid thyroxine, the active principle of the gland. Elaborate statistical studies point to the interrelationship of the prevalence of goiter in certain localities and the amount of iodine available to inhabitants of these districts. Measures based on this relationship have had widespread influence on public health.

Iodine is an essential component of the thyroid hormone and thus thyroid function and iodine metabolism are intimately related. A recent study of the iodine balance in exophthalmic goiter by Puppel and Curtis1 is an important contribution to our knowledge of the nature of hyperthyroidism. These investigators realized that the effect of hyperthyroidism on the metabolism of