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April 2, 1932


JAMA. 1932;98(14):1189. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730400067016

Conditions developed through the exigencies of the World War were responsible for a number of pathologic manifestations in man, among them so-called war dropsy, or famine edema. The earlier observers of this disorder were inclined to regard it as a vitamin deficiency disease. This seemed justified because the edema was sometimes associated with a recognized symptom of a specific avitaminosis, xerophthalmia. Obviously, in periods of deprivation of food in its usual abundance a shortage of a number of dietary essentials is threatened. It is not always easy, therefore, to fasten responsibility for resulting disorders on lack of individual components of the regimen. After the war it became evident that the famine edema was not due to scurvy. Thus one type of avitaminosis that has been associated with the hardships of war in earlier times was excluded. Presently experimental evidence, secured in the nutrition laboratories, tended to divert attention away from

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