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January 21, 1905


Author Affiliations


JAMA. 1905;XLIV(3):184-186. doi:10.1001/jama.1905.92500300016001d

Osmology is usually defined as the science treating of the osmotic states of the body fluids. However, as the osmotic processes in a liquid in a great measure reflect also its other physical conditions, this fact should be embraced in an adequate definition. Osmology, hence, may be spoken of as the knowledge concerning the physical conditions of and in the body fluids. This broader conception is adhered to throughout this paper.

The health of an organism depends on the existence and maintenance of its osmotic equilibrium. By osmotic equilibrium I understand that inter-relation of the physical conditions of the various body fluids—molecular concentration, osmotic concentration,1 tension and dissociation—which is essential for the normal performance of the vital processes. This inter-relation does not consist in the equality, but in the physiologic dissimilarity of the osmotic conditions in the different fluids. In certain pathologic states, the fluids