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Hypothyroidism and the bone marrow

From: Marla

Date: 11/10/2003

Time: 11:00:39 PM

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There’s another book I’m reading called Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness by Broda O. Barnes, M.D. Dr. Barnes discusses how one of the functions of the thyroid is to regulate body temperature. Low thyroid function would cause our bodies to run at a lower than normal temperature, and according to Barnes, this can affect our bone marrow. On page 59 Barnes writes about an interesting seminar that he attended at the University of Chicago. This is what he wrote:

"Years ago, at one of the regular Monday afternoon physiology seminars at the University of Chicago, I heard an enlightening presentation of a rather remarkable bit of research. Red blood cells are manufactured in the bone marrow, the soft, spongelike material in the cavities of bones. A study had been done on the effect of the temperature of the bone marrow on the formation of red cells. It had long been known that marrow differs at different sites in bone. In bone in the upper part of the arms and legs, the marrow is red and forms blood cells, but in the lower reaches of the extremities, the marrow color is white and no blood is formed.

"In the study, careful electrical measurements of temperature along bone revealed a drop in temperature toward the lower reaches of the extremities. And the temperature effect on color of marrow and red cell formation was demonstrated by an ingenious experiment with the tail of a white rat. All of the marrow in the rat’s tail was white and formed no blood. The tip of the tail was inserted into the rat’s belly through a surgical opening and sutured there where the temperature was higher. Shortly, the very tip of the tail, now at higher temperature within the belly, began to form blood while the rest of the tail, outside the belly and at lower temperature, continued to have white marrow and form no blood.

"Thus, it would seem that a subnormal temperature which is characterisitc of low thyroid function can contribute to anemia by its effects on blood cell production in the bone marrow."

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