Use of the Thymus Gland: An Original Theory, with Explanatory Remarks
BMJ (Clinical Research Edition)
443 far the largest proportion of cases of fever there treated are cases of typhus. Thus, of the 4,819 cases treated during 1848, 4,694 were cases of typhus; 101 cases of febricula; 3 of dothinentenrtis, or typhoid; and 21 of intermittent fever; while of the 313 cases of fever treated in the Royal Free Hospital, during the three years here reported upon, 44 were cases of intermittent fever, a very large proportion were cases of typhoid, remittent or relapsing, or ephemeral fever, and but very
... w cases of true typhus occurred. At present, however, I am not able to give the proportions of these several forms of disease; though, should leisure permit, I shal hope to do so hereafter. i. AT the period of evolution of the human ftetus, the upper portion of the body is developed to a very considerably greater extent than the lower, as, during intra-uterine life, the former alone is required for the purposes of existence. xI. After birth, these hypo-developed portions of the frame (namely, lower extremities) take on a rapid genesis, to bring them to the comparative standard xequired for the fulfilment of their presently-to-beallotted duties; this period of increase, during which they grow with greater rapidity than the rest of the body, extending over about the first two years of mundane life. ill. The source of production of added portions of the human frame, from its earliest intra-uterine cellular genesis, is corpuscular: a strong hypothesis hence arises, that the corpuscular portion of that fluid which supplies animal pabulum for conversion,-videlicet, the blood,-is the source of elaboration into new definite existence. iv. The increase of the lower extremities, above referred to, goes on with greater rapidity than that of any other considerable portion of the body, in a state of health, at any one period of life; hence the amount of convertible matter required must be proportionally large, whereas no organ has yet been demonstrated as specially endowed with 'the power of supplying this large required amount of material. The thymus gland, I would suggest, is the organ destined for the supply of pabulum (namely, corpuscles), in order to compensate this large demanc. For the more systematic arrangement of the numerous consideratious which the crude theory embraced in the foregoing paragraphs admits of, I will embody, under the following heads, those observations which appear more directly to bear upon, and elucidate, the view above proposed.