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April 20, 1929

THE ETIOLOGY OF BERIBERI

Author Affiliations

CHIBA, JAPAN

From the Department of Hygiene (Prof. Dr. S. Matsumura, director), the Government University of Medicine of Chiba.

JAMA. 1929;92(16):1325-1327. doi:10.1001/jama.1929.02700420009004

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Abstract

It is a well known fact that beriberi is a specific disease which occurs mostly among peoples whose main diet is rice. The prevailing theory at the present time attributes the causation of beriberi to polished rice, which is deficient in a specific substance, commonly referred to as vitamin B. Eijkman produced polyneuritis gallinarum by feeding fowls polished rice. Funk and Suzuki, somewhat later, extracted an effective substance from rice bran and pressed yeast, the so-called vitamin B, which, when fed to fowls having polyneuritis, seemed to restore them to a normal condition. This piece of important work and many others were well received and constitute the basis for current opinion. It is tacitly assumed that beriberi must be caused solely by the absence of vitamin B in the diet. It follows that beriberi may be prevented or cured by supplying this food accessory substance. However, this opinion does not

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