It wastes in the disease known as " myxoedema," and the above product gathers in the tissues, in that disease, to such an extent as to give rise to what has been termed a " solid oedema."
There are conditions in which we have an abnormal increase in the tissue elements but which strictly should not be defined as hypertrophies, such as new-growths, abnormal enlargements of bones and organs due to syphilis, tuberculosis, osteitis deformans, acromegaly, myxoedema, &c. The enormously long teeth sometimes found in rodents also are not due to hypertrophy, as they are normally endowed with rapid growth to compensate for the constant and rapid attrition which takes place from the opposed teeth.
In the wasting of the thyroid gland in myxoedema, or when the gland is completely removed by operation, myxomatous areas are found in the subcutaneous tissue of the skin, nerve-sheaths, &c.
Hippocrates had no opportunity of verification by necropsy, and Sydenham ignored pathology; yet the clinical features of many but recently described diseases, such, for example, as that named after Graves, and myxoedema, both associated with perversions of the thyroid gland, lay as open to the eye of physicians in the past as to our own.
Observations were made on the connexion between thyroid gland and myxoedema, which appeared to show that this disease was dependent upon atrophy of the gland.
When the thyroid tablets or extract of thyroid are given in too large quantities to patients suffering from myxoedema, the symptoms of myxoedema disappear, but in their place appear others indicative of increased metabolism and accelerated circulation.