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October 9, 1943


Author Affiliations

Senior Surgeon, U. S. Public Health Service; Chief, Division of Chemotherapy, National Institute of Health BETHESDA, MD.

JAMA. 1943;123(6):342-351. doi:10.1001/jama.1943.82840410004008

VITAMIN B1 (THIAMINE) DEFICIENCY  Vitamin B1 (thiamine) deficiency has been known since antiquity by many synonyms: polyneuritis endemica, barbiers (France), loempoe (Java), kakke (Japan and China), taon (Philippines), maladie des sucréries (French Antilles), hinchazon (Cuba), michasas or pernieras (Brazil), maladie des jambes (Louisiana).109The classic type of beriberi is characterized by symptoms due to damage of the nervous and cardiovascular systems and produces neuritis and heart failure. In the so-called "dry" type of the disease the nervous manifestations are the predominant symptoms, and in the "wet" type the edema of heart failure is the more striking sign. Various combinations may exist. The neuritic form is seen most commonly in the United States110 except in some areas of Louisiana, where classic beriberi occurs.111 Infantile beriberi occurs in breast fed infants of mothers with the disease.Geographically the disease is widespread, occurring endemically or sporadically in all

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