THERE IS PROBABLY no field of medicine in which there are so many different opinions and practices as in that of diseases of the thyroid gland. In some clinics, most thyroid disorders are treated by surgical means and in others medical management is employed. It would seem profitable to review this unusual situation and to attempt to trace its origins.
Although iodine-containing substances were used to treat goiter before recorded medical history, no other medical remedies that are now considered effective were introduced until the end of the last century; by then, even iodine therapy had been abandoned, presumably because of the occurrence of iodine-induced hyperthyroidism, which, by the way, was beautifully described in 18211 before the spontaneous disease was recognized. Although administration of thyroid as a treatment for simple goiter was noted to be effective in 18942 and was used extensively in the years to follow,