Studies in Blood Iodine by the Use of a New Chemical Method*

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I. History

Harrington1 and McClendon2 have reviewed the history of the thyroid gland and the relation of iodine to that gland in a very complete manner. The present review, therefore, will be limited to few statements especially relevant to the necessity for better technical methods in this field of biochemistry.

Iodine was discovered by Courtois3 in 1812 and publicly announced by Clement4 in 1813. Immediately following this publication, medical men observed that many of the substances containing large amounts of iodine were those substances, such as kelp, which had been useful in the treatment of diseases of the thyroid gland This marked the birth of the study of iodine in connection with goiter, and since that time, biochemical investigations concerning the thyroid gland have been centered largely around the element iodine. Coindet5 in 1820 used iodine as such in the treatment of thyroid disorders and by most authorities is said to have been the first to make therapeutic use of the new drug. However, a quotation from Prout6 indicates that iodine was first used in England in 1816.

“It may not be amiss to observe here that the author of the present volume first employed the hydroiodate of potash as a remedy for goiter, in the year 1816, after having previously ascertained by experiments upon himself, that it was not poisonous in small doses as had been represented. Some time before the period stated, this substance had been found in certain marine productions; and it struck the author that burnt. . .



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