PSYCHOTHERAPY SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS

A Broad Perspective on Mental Healing

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I
HEALTH AND DISEASE
19
time in a normal person has been estimated as one-fourth of a grain.
The principal function of thyroxin is to regulate the body metabolism. It aids in controlling the combustion of oxygen in the bodily tissues. A deficiency of thyroxin causes a low rate of metabolism with consequent sluggishness and lack of endurance. Too great a secretion of this hormone causes too high a rate of oxygen consumption, accompanied by an excessive display of activity and emotionality on the part of the individual affected. In children, a lack of thyroxin also retards growth and sexual development. So definite is the effect of the thyroid on metabolism that the usual test for its malfunctioning is that of determining the rate of oxygen consumption while at rest, which is called the basal metabolism.
Extreme disorders of the thyroid gland have conspicuous and serious effects on the individual. A serious deficiency in thyroxin dating from birth or infancy gives rise to a condition known as cretinism. In cretins, growth is seriously retarded, especially in the skeletal structures. A typical facial and bodily appearance characterize this disorder, the face being flattened, puffy and wrinkled, the arms and legs short, and the abdomen protruding. The skin appears dry and hair is scanty. Mental retardation is equally marked, many cretins being feeble-minded. If discovered at an early age, this condition can be corrected by the administration of thyroxin, a deficiency of which in adults gives rise to the condition of myxoedema. Persons suffering from this disorder have a low metabolism, which often results in obesity through the accumulation of fat. The skin, as in the case of the cretin, is dry and bloated in appearance. The body temperature of myxoedemous persons is likely to be low and they complain of being cold.