The Advent of Radioiodine Therapy


Chicks are used in studies of the role hormone plays in stimulating thyroid. The technician on the left is measuring out a specific amount of sodium iodide, containing radioactive iodine (I-131). U.S. Department of Energy/Public domain

Humans have recognized thyroid disease for thousands of years. But in the 1930s. Saul Hertz had an insight after hearing a physicist's lecture that changed the treatment of hyperthyroidism forever.

Holly's Research:

  • Bagley, Derek. “The Saga of Radioiodine Therapy.” Endocrine News. January 2016. https://endocrinenews.endocrine.org/january-2016-thyroid-month-the-saga-of-radioiodine-therapy/
  • Mayo Clinic. “Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid).” https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hyperthyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20373659
  • Mayo Clinic. “Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hypothyroidism/symptoms-causes/syc-20350284
  • “Marine, David.” Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. https://case.edu/ech/articles/m/marine-david
  • Smallridge, Robert C. et. Al. “A Century of Hyperthyroidism at Mayo Clinic.” Mayo Clinic Proceedings. January 2016. Accessed online: https://www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/article/S0025-6196(15)00769-7/pdf
  • Sargis, Robert M., MD, PhD. “How Your Thyroid Works.” EndocrineWeb. Oct. 24, 2018. https://www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works
  • American Thyroid Association. “Thyroid History Timeline.” https://www.thyroid.org/about-american-thyroid-association/clark-t-sawin-history-resource-center/thyroid-history-timeline/
  • Hertz, Barbara. “Saul Hertz MD 1905-1950.” http://saulhertzmd.com/
  • Beierwaltes, William H. “The History of the Use of Radioactive Iodine.” Seminars in Nuclear Medicine. Volume 9. Issue 3. July 1979.
  • Fahey, Frederic H., et al. “Saul Hertz MD and the Birth of Radionuclide Therapy.” EJNMMI Physics. December 2017. Published online April 2017. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5407393/
  • McGehee, Harvey A., MD. “James Howard Means and His Romance With the Thyroid Gland.” The American Journal of Medicine. June 1981. Volume 70. Issue 6. https://www.amjmed.com/article/0002-9343(81)90820-2/pdf
  • “Nuclear Medicine.” National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.” July 2016. https://www.nibib.nih.gov/science-education/science-topics/nuclear-medicine
  • Sawin, CT and DV Becker. “Radioiodine and the treatment of hyperthyroidism: the early history.” Thyroid. April 7,1997. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9133679

Topics in this Podcast: Jewish history, cancer, disputes, U.S. history, 20th century, medical history