The Tides of Life: the Endocrine Glands in Bodily Adjustment

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THIS little book has been written by the Director of Endocrine Research in the Medical School of Harvard University, and we must congratulate the author on his performance. He has produced an admirably written manual which will be of the greatest service to all desiring the latest information about the structure and functions of the endocrine glands. What especially awakens our admiration is the note of scepticism and caution which colours his language when he is relating the latest extravagances of those endo-crinologists who claim to be able to resolve character and personality into endocrine chemistry. This same caution leads him to view with grave doubt the theory of Sir Arthur Keith that the structural differences between human races are due to differences in endocrine development. He points out that, according to this theory, the Negro should exhibit defective sexuality, since Keith attributes this melanism to a defective adrenal development, but it is notorious that the very opposite is the case. Our chief complaint against the author is that he has a strong tendency to over-estimate the part played by his countrymen in this field of research. The diagnostic feature of an endocrine gland is that it produces a hormone: and it is only on page 300 that we reach a brief account of the foundation research of Bayliss and Starling which initiated this whole province of biological investigation, and it is mentioned quite casually? “indeed the word hormone was first used in connection with this research”. Assuredly it was: Bayliss and Starling invented the term and defined what they meant by it.

The Tides of Life: the Endocrine Glands in Bodily Adjustment.

By Dr. R. G. Hoskins. Pp. 352 + 8 plates. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd., 1933.) 15s. net.

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