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For many years, the levels of serum and plasma amylase in patients have provided needed evidence for the diagnosis of acute pancreatitis. Early assay techniques were based on either a change in the absorption maxima of the complex between starch and iodine as the amylase degraded the starch; or a measurement of the increase in reducing groups as the starch was hydrolyzed by the amylase. These methods are not as reliable and easy to quantitate as spectrophotometric methods using a defined substrate.
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