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January 1931

PATHOLOGIC CHANGES IN PARALYSIS CAUSED BY DRINKING JAMAICA GINGER

Author Affiliations

CINCINNATI

From the Department of Anatomy (Neurology), University of Cincinnati Medical School.

Arch NeurPsych. 1931;25(1):29-43. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1931.02230010041002
Abstract

In the spring of 1930, there occurred in Ohio, Kentucky, Alabama,1 Mississippi,2 Massachusetts3 and other states an epidemic of peripheral neuritis. The patients gave histories of drinking commercial extract of ginger. The cases were characterized by an insidious development of foot drop and, somewhat later, of wrist drop. It is estimated that at the height of the epidemic there were about 500 cases in the Cincinnati district alone, while the combined admissions to the Cincinnati General Hospital and to St. Mary's Hospital numbered 264. A somewhat similar epidemic occurred in 1900 in Manchester, England, in which the toxic agent was determined to be arsenic arising from dextrose made from starch by the use of crude sulphuric acid containing the poisonous metal. The dextrose was used in the production of beer, the consumption of which brought about the widespread attack of peripheral neuritis.4

It was learned that

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