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October 21, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(17):1319. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740420039013

The conquest of scurvy, a disease of mankind that has a recognized history of several hundred years, illustrates in almost dramatic fashion what modern science has accomplished for human welfare in general and for the practice of medicine in particular. When James Lind, surgeon in the British navy, published his classic on scurvy nearly two hundred years ago, it became clear that the malady was due to a lack of fresh food as distinguished from stale or preserved foods, such as sea biscuit, salt meats and dried vegetables. When Lind's treatise appeared it served, in the words of Hess,1 to crystallize the conception of scurvy, which had been stretched out of all proportions to include an ever increasing conglomeration of clinical conditions. Scurvy had become the alpha and omega of professional routine, the catchword of the day, the asylum ignorantiae of the practical man. Into this chaos, as Hirsch

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