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March 13, 1954


JAMA. 1954;154(11):916. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.02940450036013

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Data on the etiology and incidence of the hypoplastic anemias are inaccurate and incomplete, since few states or municipalities require reports of these diseases. Information available is generally based either on personal experience in practice or on mortality statistics, and yet it is known that certain physical and chemical agents play a direct causative role in this group of diseases. In addition, a large number of hypoplastic anemias are classified as idiopathic, which suggests that unsuspected agents may be responsible.

The known causative agents may be divided into two groups. The first consists of agents that if administered in a large enough dose cause varying degrees of bone marrow depression and damage in all human beings or exposed experimental animals. Examples of this group are benzol, the antifolic compounds, x-ray irradiation, and the nitrogen mustards. The second group consists of agents that have bone marrow depressant effects in a small,

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