Broadly speaking, there are two ways in which the possible function of glands or organs of the body can profitably be studied. One of these consists in examining the physiologic properties of extracts of the tissue under consideration from the standpoint of discovering some "active principle" or potent constituent with which its normal performance may be linked. In the case of the thyroid, for example, this plan has been partially successful. The administration of thyroid-parathyroid products can produce results in certain abnormal conditions of the organism, such as cretinism, that lead to definite convictions regarding at least some of the functions of the thyroid apparatus. However, it must be frankly admitted that the evidence regarding even the vague details of precisely what the thyroid extract therapy accomplishes in such instances is at present nothing more than a matter of conjecture. The study of the suprarenals seems to have been more
PITUITARY FUNCTIONS. JAMA. 1917;LXIX(20):1697–1698. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590470037013
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