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September 16, 1916


JAMA. 1916;LXVII(12):880-881. doi:10.1001/jama.1916.02590120036013

In a recent review of the current opinions of the function of the pineal gland, attention was directed to some of the conflicting and negative evidence on the subject.1 The pineal body undergoes a normal, physiologic atrophy at the time of puberty. This fact, taken in connection with older observations in cases of tumor of the gland occurring before puberty which have been associated with a marked precocity in the realm of both primary and secondary sexual characters, has supplied the basis for one theory of pineal function. It assumes that the gland, when physiologically active, tends to inhibit the development of the sexual function. On this hypothesis, interference with the function of the pineal body, either by experimental operative procedure or by the chance of tumor invasion, might accordingly be assumed to remove a natural physiologic restraint and thus permit a prolonged adolescence or exaggerated performance on the