Black lungs in the general population: a new look at an old dispute.

08:00 EDT 1st June 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Black lungs in the general population: a new look at an old dispute."

Almost from the time that autopsies were first routinely carried out, darkening of lungs with increasing age was described. Different explanations for the origin of the accumulating black pigment arose and by the early nineteenth century three hypotheses had emerged: 1) soot inhaled into the lungs from the air; 2) carbon accumulating in the lungs from abnormal pulmonary carbon dioxide metabolism; and, 3) pigment derived from the blood. In 1813 the English physician and chemist George Pearson published a paper in which he described the recovery of the black pigment from lungs and its chemical analysis. Pearson declared the black pigment to be airborne carbon/soot from the burning of coal and wood. He described these particles depositing in 'black spots' in the terminal airways and accumulating in the peribronchial lymph nodes, forming 'black glands'. Despite Pearson's prescient account, debate continued and the true explanation, given in that paper, was not fully accepted until the late nineteenth century.


Journal Details

This article was published in the following journal.

Name: The journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
ISSN: 2042-8189
Pages: 165-170


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