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September 8, 1928


JAMA. 1928;91(10):730. doi:10.1001/jama.1928.02700100042015

Ever since Osborne and Mendel called attention, more than a decade ago, to the occurrence of certain types of ophthalmia in animals that have been deprived of vitamin A, increasing instances of comparable deficiency disorders in man have been placed on record. It is characteristic of medical progress that when the details of a supposedly new syndrome are announced the clinical picture is clearly brought to the mind of physicians. Characteristic instances are resurrected from past experience and new cases are more promptly recognized. Medical literature includes numerous examples of the prevalence of eye disorders in regions in which malnutrition may be supposed to exist. Thus xerophthalmia, the best known striking abnormality attributable to a shortage of vitamin A, has been reported for communities subjected to famine. Strangely enough, the empiric treatment in some of these instances has involved the use of cod liver oil and the livers of birds,

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