Cyborg Butterflies, Liminal Medicine: Thyroid Hormone Treatment, 1890-1970
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THT emerged in the 1890s as an organotherapy, or a medicine made from animal organs. Like other organotherapies, general physicians used THT for a wide variety of ailments that had not been scientifically proven through the practices of vivisection or animal experimentation. From its emergence, THT served as a site of tension between scientific researchers and general practitioners. This tension only increased when a synthetic form of THT was invented in the 1920s, when scientific researchers embraced synthetic THT and general practitioners continued using desiccated THT. At the center of the controversy were the productive and subversive relationships of animals and women to biomedical meaning-making. Over the twentieth century, methods of defining THTâ s effectiveness and purity were defined in opposition to these bodies. These chemical measures combined the specialist and physicianâ s measurement of THTâ s clinical effectiveness, which led to a preference for synthetic THT.
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