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August 29, 1936


Author Affiliations


From the Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry, New York University College of Medicine, and the Psychiatric Medical Service of the Third (New York University) Medical Division. Bellevue Hosnital.

JAMA. 1936;107(9):642-647. doi:10.1001/jama.1936.02770350010005

That vitamin deficiency may be an etiologic factor in the development of polyneuritis in the alcohol addict was first mentioned on theoretical grounds by Shattuck1 in 1928 and Minot2 in 1929. The work of Wechsler,3 Minot, Strauss and Cobb,4 and Meyer5 indicates that the alcohol addict with polyneuritis has, as a rule, a qualitatively inadequate intake of food and vitamins, and that the clinical manifestations and pathologic observations of beriberi and "alcoholic" polyneuritis are similar. These authors suggested, therefore, that vitamin B deficiency may be the decisive factor in producing polyneuritis in alcohol addicts. Strauss6 and Blankenhorn and Spies7 showed that patients having "alcoholic" polyneuritis improved if treated with a diet rich in all vitamins, supplemented by oral and parenteral administration of preparations rich in vitamin B, even while they were given from a pint to a quart of blended whisky daily. Strauss

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