Timeline of endocrinology

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This is a timeline of endocrinology, the branch of biology and medicine concerned with endocrine glands and hormones.

Big picture

Time period Development summary
19th century The field of endocrinology begins to be studied late in the century, when the concept of chemical messengers that exert systemic effects throughout the entire body is initially introduced.[1]
20th century The 1910s and 1920s are considered the era of purification of hormones. The 1930s is the era of steroid hormone discovery, the 1940s is the era of endocrine disease, description and therapeutic advances, the 1950s is the era of synthetic hormone production, the 1960s and 1970s is the era of releasing hormones and hormone receptor signaling pathways, 1980s is the era of peptide hormone gene cloning and advent of recombinant hormone therapy, the 1990s is the era of hormone and soluble factor production by many tissues.[2]
21st century The 2000s is the era of genetics and endocrine physiology and disease, the 2010s is the era of integration of endocrine physiology and pathophysiology.[2]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Location
4th century BC Scientific development The Ayur Veda of Susruta describes "sugarcream" urine which attracts ants.[3] India
30 BC–50 AD Scientific development Greek philosopher Celsus describes polyuria.[3]
1563 Scientific development Italian anatomist Bartolomeo Eustachi publishes his Opuscula Anatomica, which contains the first description of the adrenal glands, labeled “glandulae quae renibus incumbent”.[4] Italy
1567 Medical development Dutch physician Johannes Wier publishes the first attempt at a medical description of the pituitary disorder.[5]
1586–1588 Scientific development Piccolomineus and Bauhin mention the suprarenal glands.[3]
1621–1675 Scientific development English doctor Thomas Willis observes the sweetness of diabetic urine which has a honied taste.[3][6][7] United Kingdom
1627 Scientific development Flemish anatomist Adriaan van den Spiegel talks of the capsulae renales.[3]
1651 Scientific development Highmore suggests that the suprarenals have an absorbent function of exudates from the large vessels.[3]
1742 Scientific development French doctor Joseph Lieutaud discovers the pituitary-portal blood system, known today as the hypothalamo-hypophysial axis.[5]
1805 Scientific development French naturalist Georges Cuvier defines medulla and cortex of the adrenal gland.[3] France
1838 Scientific development German anatomist Martin Rathke becomes the first to describe the formation of the pituitary gland itself.[5] Rathke describes the human hypophysis cerebri as being derived from two parts: an ectodermal dorsal invagination of the oral epithelium, which becomes the adenohypophysis, and a ventral process arising from the floor of the diencephalon, constituting the neurohypophysis or posterior pituitary gland.[8] Germany
1838 Scientific development Scottish physician Robert Willis describes several forms of DI ("hydruria", "anazoturia", and "azoturia") according to associated excretion of urea.
1855 Scientific development English physician Thomas Addison talks "On the constitutional and local effects of disease of the suprarenal capsules".[3][9] United Kingdom
1856 Scientific development Mauritian physiologist Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard proves in animal experiments that the adrenals are essential for the maintenance of life.[3]
1856 Scientific development French physician Alfred Vulpian introduces the staining method for adrenaline.[3] France
1865 Scientific development French physiologist Claude Bernard publishes An Introduction to the Study of Experimental Medicine, which introduces the concept of milieu interieur (internal milieu) and the importance of endocrine systems in keeping this constant.[2] France
1885 Scientific development Claude Bernard coins the term ‘internal secretion’, showing that the body can both break down and build up, complex chemical substances.[10] France
1894 Scientific development English physiologist Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer discovers and demonstrates the existence of adrenaline together with George Oliver, and he also coins the term "endocrine" for the secretions of the ductless glands. Schafer's method of artificial respiration is named after him.[11] United Kingdom
1895 Scientific development Adrenaline becomes the first hormone to be isolated.[10]
1896 Scientific development Osler finds orally given adrenal extract temporarily effecive in the case of Addison's disease.[3]
1901 – 1908 Scientific development Schaefer and his team study the action of pituitary extract on the kidneys.[3]
1901 Scientific development Japanese chemist Takamine Jōkichi isolates adrenaline in crystalline form from the adrenal medulla.[10][12][13] Japan
1902 Scientific development British physiologists Ernest Starling and William Bayliss isolate secretin, the first substance to be called a hormone.[10] United Kingdom
1902 Scientific development Bayliss and Starling report on their discovery of "secretin" in the duodenum.[3]
1902 Scientific development Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov develops a theory of nerve regulation of salivary and alimentary glands, and includes the regulation of the pancreas in his theory.[10] Russia
1904 Scientific development Ernest Starling and William Bayliss develop the theory of hormonal control of internal secretion.[10] United Kingdom
1905 Medical development William Bulloch and JH Sequeira describe patients with adrenogenital syndrome.[3]
1905–1906 Scientific development Edkin describes gastric secretin.[3]
1906 Scientific development Dale describes the oxytocic action of posterior pituitary extract.
1910 Scientific development Hungarian pathologist Arthur Biedl shows that the adrenal cortex is essential for life. His classic work Innere Sekretion (Internal Secretions) shows the rapid development of the knowledge of endocrinology.[10]
1912 Literature Harvey Cushing publishes The Pituitary Body and its Disorders, showcasing the innovative operative techniques that would lead to odern surgical procedures to remove pituitary tumors.[5]
1914 Scientific development American biochemist Edward Calvin Kendall isolates thyroxine in crystalline form.[2] United States
1914 Scientific development German physician Morris Simmonds describes pituitary cachexia (Simmonds' disease) due to infraction of the gland.[14][15] Germany
1915 Scientific development American physiologist Walter Bradford Cannon shows the close connection between the endocrine glands and the emotions.[10]
1915 Scientific development Gaines demonstrates pituitary function in lactation.[3]
1915 Scientific development Keeton and Koch confirm the specific nature of gastrin.[3]
1916 Scientific development Erdheim describes pituitary dwarfism ("Nanosomia pituitaria").[3]
1916 Organization The Endocrine Society is founded. It is a professional, international medical organization in the field of endocrinology and metabolism.[16] United States
1917 Literature (journal) Scientific journal Endocrinology is launched by the Endocrine Society.[17] United States
1919 Scientific development Edward Calvin Kendall obtains pure thyroxine.[18]
1920 Scientific development American anatomist Herbert McLean Evans and Professor Joseph Long discover the human growth hormone.[19][20][21] United States
1921 Scientific development Evans and Long show the effect of anterior lobe extract on the growth rate of rats.[3]
1921 Scientific development Frederick Banting and John Mcleod and Charles Best succeed in lowering the level of blood-sugar when using insulin to control the carbohydrate metabolism.[10]
1923 Award Canadian medical scientist Frederick Banting and John Mcleod are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery of insulin.[22]
1923 Organization The American Thyroid Association is founded.[23] It is a non-profit, all-volunteer professional organization with over 1,700 members from 43 countries around the world.[24] United States
1923 Medical development American pharmaceutical Eli Lilly and Company introduces the first commercial insulin.[25] United States
1925 Scientific development Canadian biochemist James Collip isolates parathyroid hormone and uses it in the treatment of tetany.[2]
1926 Scientific development British chemist Charles Harington successfully synthesizes thyroxine.[2][26][27] United Kingdom
1926 Scientific development Foster and P.E. Smith find that atrophy of the thyroid and lowered BMR in hypophysectomized animals could be restored by using pituitary homoplastic implants.[3] In the same year, Smith shows that hypophysectomy causes atrophy of the adrenals, which Evans prevents by administration of pituitary extracts.[3]
1927 Scientific development P.E. Smith and Engle demonstrate that gonadal activity is maintained by the anterior lobe of the pituitary.[3]
1928 Scientific development Israeli gynecologist Bernhard Zondek and German gynecologist Selmar Aschheim isolate the gonadotrophic hormones (prolan A and B) of the anterior pituitary.[3]
1929 Scientific development Walter Bradford Cannon coins the term "homeostasis" for "same" and "steady". This important concept highlights the critical role of negative feedback in governing endocrine physiology.[2]
1929 Scientific development Putnam, Benedict and Teel produce experimental acromegaly in dogs by anterior lobe extract injection.[3]
1929 Scientific development Stricker and Grueter discover prolactin.[3]
1929 Scientific development Carl Ferdinand Cori and Gerty Cori propose the theory of the Cori Cycle, which refers to the phases in the metabolism of carbohydrates in which muscles convert glycogen to lactic acid.[2]
1929 Scientific development Adolf Butenandt and American biochemist Edward Adelbert Doisy isolate estrone simultaneously but independently.[28][29][30][31] Germany, United States
1929 Scientific development Aron and, independently, Loeb and Basset describe the action of thyroid-stimulating hormone of the anterior pituitary.[3]
1930 Scientific development Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay proves the diabetogenic effect of extracts from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland.[2] Houssay and Biasotti succeed in removing the pancreas in the hypophysectomized dog.[3] Argentina
1930 Medical development Rowntree and Greene successfully treat a patient with Addison's disease with Swingle and Pfiffner's extract.[3]
1931 Scientific development German biochemist Adolf Butenandt isolates the androgenic steroid androsterone.[32] Germany
1932 Scientific development Cushing connects the "polyglandular syndrome" of pituitary basophilism with pituitary-adrenal hyperactivity.[3]
1932 Scientific development Anderson and Collip describe the thyrotrophic hormone (TSH) of the anterior pituitary.[3]
1933 Medical development Loeb treats the abnormal serum electrolytes in Addison's disease with sodium chloride.[3]
1933 Scientific development American biologist Oscar Riddle and colleagues identify and isolate the pituitary hormone prolactin.[33][34][35] United States
1933 Scientific development Collip and his team isolate an impure "adrenotropic hormone".[3]
1934 Scientific development American endocrinologist Fuller Albright suggests a relationship between chronic renal disease and hyperparathyroidism (PHPT), in which an intrinsic abnormality of the parathyroid glands leads to overproduction of parathyroid hormone (PTH).[36] In the following years, Albright would describe the biochemistry of primary hyperparathyroidism and kidney stones as one of the important diagnostic features.[3][37] United States
1934 Scientific development Butenandt isolates progesterone from the corpus luteum.[2]
1935 Scientific development Dutch biochemist Ernst Laqueur in Amsterdam isolates testosterone, and determines its chemical structure.[38][39][40][32] Netherlands
1935 Scientific development American chemist Edward Calvin Kendall first isolates Compound E (later renamed cortisone) from bovine adrenal glands along with a series of structurally related steroids (including cortisol, then named compound F) capable of improving muscular strength when administered to adrenalectomised rats or dogs.[2] United States
1935–1953 Scientific development Austrian pathologist Friedrich Feyrter in Danzig describes the pheriferal paracrine endocrine glands in man. Feyrter is often described as the "Father of Neuroendocrinology".[41]
1936 Scientific development Hungarian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye introduces the concept of stress.[3]
1936 Scientific development Evans and his group isolate the interstitial cell stimulating hormone (ICSH).[3]
1937 Scientific development Croatian-Swiss scientist Leopold Ružička, German biochemist Adolf Butenandt and Gunicr Hanisch synthesize testosterone from cholesterol.[38][42]
1937 Scientific development F.G. Young describes the diabetogenic hormone.[3]
1937 Scientific development Lambie and Trikojus obtain purified thyroid-stimulating hormone.[43][44][45][46]
1939 Award The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is divided equally between Adolf Butenandt "for his work on sex hormones" and Leopold Ružička "for his work on polymethylenes and higher terpenes.
1939 Scientific development Sheehan in Liverpool describes panhypopituitarism caused by pituitary necrosis after post-partum hemorrhage.[3]
1940 Scientific development Choh Hao Li isolates luteinizing hormone (LH).[3]
1941 Literature (journal) The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology is launched.[47]
1942 Scientific development American endocrinologist Harry Klinefelter, Fuller Albright and Edward C. Reifenstein describe the later called Klinefelter syndrome in their article, Syndrome Characterized by Gynecomastia, Aspermatogenesis without A-Leydigism, and Increased Excretion of Follicle- Stimulating Hormone.[48][49][50] United States
1942 Scientific development Li and Sayers isolate the adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH).[3]
1943 Scientific development Choh Hao Li and Evans isolate pure adrenocorticotrophic hormone (ACTH) from sheep pituitaries.[3]
1943 Medical development Bermudian-American endocrinologist Edwin B. Astwood uses thiourea and thiouracil in the medical treatment of Grave's disease.[2]
1943 Scientific development Sayers isolate ACTH from swine pituitaries.[3]
1946 Scientific development Hans Selye describes the general adaptation syndrome.[3]
1946 Organization The Society for Endocrinology is founded. It is an international membership organization, supporting scientists, clinicians and nurses who work with hormones throughout their careers.[51] United Kingdom
1947 Award The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to American biochemists Carl and Gerty Cori "for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen", and to Argentine biochemist Bernardo Houssay "for his discovery of the part played by the hormone of the anterior pituitary lobe in the metabolism of sugar."[52]
1948 Scientific development Hench and his colleagues discover the antiinflamatory effect of cortisone (Kendall's compound-E).[3]
1949 Scientific development Choh Hao Li and Evans isolate follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).[3]
1949 Scientific development Edward Calvin Kendall discovers that cortisone could relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.[10]
1950 Award Edward Calvin Kendall, Polish-Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein and American physician Philip Showalter Hench are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects."[53] Sweden
1950 Scientific development American pediatric endocrinologist Lawson Wilkins reports the first documented demonstration of the pathophysiology of androgen insensitivity syndrome by administration of methyltestosterone to a 46, XY female patient, who shows no signs of virilization.[2] United States
1951 Scientific development Bulgarian-American chemist Carl Djerassi develops the first oral progestin, norethindrone, at Syntex, SA Laboratories located in Mexico City. The synthesis of norenindrone is a factor leading to the development of oral contraceptives.[2] Mexico
1951 Literature L'Hermite publishes Le Cerveau et la Pensée, stressing the regulation of mental life by the hormones.[3]
1953 Scientific development American biochemist Vincent du Vigneaud synthesizes the first peptide hormone (oxytocin).[54][55][56] United States
1955 Award Vincent du Vigneaud is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his work on biochemically important sulphur compounds, especially for the first synthesis of a polypeptide hormone"."[2] Sweden
1955 Scientific development E. Knobil and Roy O. Greep show that growth hormone extracts from monkeys are active in man and are species-specific.[57][58]
1955 Scientific development American surgeon Robert Milton Zollinger and E. H. Ellison describe the later called Zollinger–Ellison syndrome.[59]
1956 Scientific development Swiss clinical immunologist Deborah Doniach and British immunologist Ivan Roitt find that patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditiss have circulating autoantibodies reacting to thyroid self antigens.[2]
1956 Scientific development Adams and Purves recognize that patients with Graves’ disease have a serum factor defined as long-acting thyroid stimulator (LATS), later found to be an immunoglobulin G binding to the thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor.[2]
1956 Scientific development Noel R. Rose and Ernst Witebsky demonstrate that a lymphocytic thyroiditis similar to the spontaneous human disease can be induced in animals by immunization with autologous thyroid extracts in Freund adjuvant. This would lead to the general concept of autoimmune gland failure.[60][61][62][63]
1956 Scientific development Cohn describes primary aldosteronism.[3]
1957 Scientific development Maurice S. Raben develops a method for the extraction of human growth hormone grom the pituitaries of cadavers.[3]
1958 Medical development American medical researcher Elwood V. Jensen discovers the estrogen receptor, the first receptor found for any hormone. Using a radioactive marker, Jensen shows that only the tissues that respond to estrogen, such as those of the female reproductive tract, are able to concentrate injected estrogen from the blood. This specific uptake suggests that these cells must contain binding proteins, which Jensen calls “estrogen receptors.”[2]
1958 Award Frederick Sanger recieves the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his work on the structure of proteins, especially that of insulin". Sweden
1958 Scientific development John V. Verner and Ashton B. Morrison describe the watery diarrhoea hypokalaemic achlorhydric syndrome.[64][65][66][67]
1958 Medical development Gross suggests angiotensin to control aldosterone secretion.[3]
1959 Scientific development Liddle and his group develop the metyrapone test for pituitary reserve.[3]
1959 Scientific development Rasmussen and Craig isolate the parathyroid hormone and define its structure as a polypeptide hormone.[3]
1961 Scientific development Choh Hao Li, Dixon and Chung describe the amino acid sequence of bovine adrenocorticopin.[3]
1963 Scientific development Glick, Roth, Berson and Yallow describe a radioimmunological assay (RIA) method for the measurement of human GH.[3]
1963 Scientific development Hirsch finds calcitonin in the mammal thyroid.[3]
1964 Award British chemist Dorothy Hodgkin is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances". Hodgkin's most significant scientific contributions are the determination of the structures of penicillin, insulin, and vitamin B12.[2] Sweden
1965 Organization The European Society for Paediatric Endocrinology (ESPE) is founded in Copenhagen.[68] Denmark
1965 Scientific development Tenenhouse finds that the hypocalcaemic factor (calcitonin) is a polypeptide hormone.[3]
1966 Scientific development Schwyzer and Sieber synthesize beta-corticotrophim.[3]
1966 Scientific development British physiologist Roderic Alfred Gregory isolates gastrin and defines its structure.[3]
1966 Award Canadian-American physician Charles Brenton Huggins is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discoveries concerning hormonal treatment of prostatic cancer".[2] Sweden
1967 Scientific development Immunological methods are introduced for the estimation of serum calcitonin.[3]
1969 Scientific development Group led by French-born American neuroscientist Roger Guillemin and another by American endocrinologist Andrew Schally announce that the hypothalamic substance that causes the anterior pituitary gland to release thyrotropin (thyroid-stimulating hormone, TSH) is L-pyroglutamyL-L-histidyl-L-prolineamide (L-pGlu-L-His-L-ProNH2). This tripeptide is now called thyrotropin-releasing hormone.[2]
1969 Scientific development A. G. Everson Pearse introduces the amine uptake and peptide hormone secretion (APUD) concept.[3]
1970 Scientific development Lewis E. Braverman, Sidney H. Ingbar, and Kenneth Sterling demonstrate T4 to T3 conversion in periphery.[2]
1970 Award Argentine physician Luis Federico Leloir is awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for his discovery of sugar nucleotides and their role in the biosynthesis of carbohydrates."[2] Sweden
1970 Scientific development Mitchell and colleagues introduce the glucagon stimulation test to detect Growth hormone deficiency.[3]
1971 Award American pharmacologist Earl Wilbur Sutherland Jr. is awarded the Nobel Prize n Physiology or Medicine for his discoveries concerning "the mechanisms of the action of hormones". Sweden
1971 Scientific development Hughes, Kosterlitz and colleagues determine the structure of the thyroid-stimulating hormone.[3]
1971–1975 Scientific development Hughes, Kosterlitz and colleagues identify the pentapeptides from the brain to posses potent opiate agonist activity.[3]
1971–1979 Scientific development Present day ideas on the mechanism of hormonal action are formulated.[3]
1972-1978 Medical development Screening begins for neonatal congenital hypothyroidism in the United States, Canada, England, Japan and some other countries. In most cases of congenital hypothyroidism, problems with the thyroid start in the womb.[2] United States, Canada, England, Japan
1975 Scientific development A.F. Bradbury, D.G. Smyth and C.R. Snell isolate beta-endorphin and describe its structure.[3]
1977 Award Roger Guillemin and Andrew V. Schally share half of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the peptide hormone production of the brain" with the other half awarded to Rosalyn Yalow "for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones."[69] Sweden
1978 Medical development Louise Brown becomes the world’s first test tube baby. After numerous attempts to impregnate her mother, British medical researcher Robert Edwards and British gynecologist Patrick Steptoe tried fertilizing her eggs in a Petri dish before implanting a two-and-a-half-day-old embryo.[70] United Kingdom
1978 Scientific development German neuropharmacologist Wilhelm Siegmund Feldberg reports on the pharmacology of the central actions of endorphins.[3]
1979 Organization The Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology is founded.
1980 Literature (book) "First published in 1980, Endocrine Reviews is an enduring and high impact factor resource. Comprehensive reviews cover clinical and research topics, including thyroid disorders, pediatric endocrinology, growth factors, and reproductive medicine. Each issue provides translational and basic research articles with knowledge, understanding, and perspective in diabetes, endocrinology, and metabolism."[2]
1982 Award Sune Bergström, Bengt I. Samuelsson and John Vane share the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related biologically active substances".[71] Sweden
1986 Award American biochemist Stanley Cohen and Italian neurobiologist Rita Levi-Montalcini are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of growth factors". The nerve growth factor and epidermal growth factor are the first of many growth-regulating signal substances to be discovered and characterized.[2] Sweden
1987 Literature (journal) Peer-reviewed journal Molecular Endocrinology is first issued.[72]
1987 Scientific development William I. Wood clones the growth hormone receptor.[2]
1988 Scientific development Theo Colborn's research on the state of the environment of the Great Lakes reveals that top predator female birds, fish, mammals, and reptiles transfer persistent, man-made chemicals to their offspring, which undermines the development and programming of their youngsters’ organs before they are born or hatched.[2]
1990 Scientific development English physician David Barker proposes the concept later called Barker Hypothesis, suggesting that in utero environmental conditions, such as undernutrition, can permanently alter metabolism and other functions in ways that dramatically affect health later in life and cause e.g., heart disease. This concept would be expanded to include chemical exposures such as EDCs and is called the Developmental Origins of Adult Health and Disease (DOHaD).[2]
1991 Scientific development The term “Endocrine Disruption” is first used.[2]
1992 Scientific development Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are shown to affect cognitive function in children. Jacobson et. al., link PCB exposure to impairment in cognitive functioning and show that impairments are predominantly due to developmental, intrauterine exposure, rather than postnatal effects.[2]
1994 Scientific development American molecular geneticist Jeffrey M. Friedman discovers leptin.[73][74][75]
1996 Literature (book) Dianne Dumanoski and John Peterson Myers Our Stolen Future, which describes the low-dose and/or ambient exposure effects of endocrine disruptors.[2]
1997 Organization The Endocrine Society establishes the Hormone Foundation as a public education affiliate.[2]
1998 Award American biochemist Robert F. Furchgott, American pharmacologist Louis J. Ignarro and American physician Ferid Murad are awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system."[76] Sweden
2001 Literature the Endocrine Society first publishes Endocrine News, a monthly news and feature magazine providing information on trends in the field of endocrinology as well as a closer look at recently published research.[2]
2009 Scientific development The Endocrine Society creates a task force charged with summarizing current knowledge about endocrine disrupting chemicals, including possible mechanisms of action and potential health risks. The task force’s work results in the landmark Scientific Statement on EDCs published in the same year. In 2015, the Endocrine Society published a second Scientific Statement on EDCs, building on the groundbreaking first statement and summarizing additional research connecting EDC exposures to infertility, hormone-related cancers, neurological issues, and other disorders."[2]
2010 Literature (journal) Medical journal Hormones and Cancer is first issued.[77]
2010 Award English physiologist Robert Edwards is awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for the development of in vitro fertilization.[78] Sweden
2012 Award American physician Robert Lefkowitz and American physiologist Brian Kobilka are awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry "for studies of G-protein-coupled receptors.[79] Sweden
2015 Scientific development The Endocrine Society publishes a second Scientific Statement on endocrine disrupting chemicals, summarizing additional research connecting EDC exposures to infertility, hormone-related cancers, neurological issues, and other disorders.[2]

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External links


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