THE Thyroid Gland is situated at the upper part of the trachea and consists of two lobes placed one on each side of that tube. In appearance and makeup it resembles much the other "ductless" glands (so-called because they have no outlet) and its use has only lately been appreciated.
The Thymus is a similar gland situated just below the thyroid and extending down as far as the pericardium. It likewise consists of two lobes and is covered by the breast bone. It is only a temporary organ and attains its full size at the end of the second year when it begins to dwindle until at puberty it has almost disappeared. While formerly little was known of the function of these glands recent investigations have proved that in some way not altogether understood the nutrition of the body may be remarkably influenced by their secretions. Its use is based upon the fact that in diseases like dwarfism (cretinism), excessive obesity, psoriasis, scleroderma, goitre, and myxedema there is evidence of structural change, withering, etc., of the thyroid gland.
Inflammation of these glands not only leads to the above diseases but any remedial measures are almost futile unless directed to improvement in their condition.
It is customary to use the dried thyroid gland in powdered form, or made into a tablet or capsule. The dose is one grain three times daily, to be increased as the patient becomes accustomed to it; increase one grain daily until 6 grains daily are taken when the effect is watched for a few days. If no improvement is made the dose is again increased; or if headache, heart failure, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting the remedy must be stopped for a few days when it may be resumed very gradually. No more than 15 grains should be given daily, divided into several doses. After marked improvement or an apparent cure has been affected it is necessary to continue the remedy for an indefinite time, giving full doses for several days at the end of 3 or 4 weeks. When used in obesity an increased amount of nitrogenous food should be supplied to prevent loss of strength. Thyroid gland should never be used .in diabetes or in exophthalmic goitre. It has proved of value in acute mania, melancholia, and insanities of child birth and the climacteric. Recently full doses have been recommended in eclampsia and it sometimes relieves the vomiting of pregnancy.
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