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October 21, 1961

Toward the Conquest of Beriberi

JAMA. 1961;178(3):358. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.03040420098050

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Abstract

This book is divided into 3 parts: (1) Beriberi as a Deficiency Disease, (2) The Chemistry of Thiamine and its Biochemical Action, and (3) Practical Application of Findings. The volume describes the author's role from the early part of this century until the present time in the fight against beriberi; his achievements in the isolation, identification, and synthesis of thiamine; his support of cereal enrichment programs; his continuing efforts to bring about the eradication of beriberi.

However, this is not just an autobiography. It is a well-documented review of the Beriberi-Thiamine story, which involved the development of the concept of "dietary deficiency diseases." There is a discussion of cereal enrichment programs and their effectiveness. The author describes the formation of the "Williams-Waterman Fund for the Combat of Dietary Diseases," through which millions of dollars derived from royalties have been directed to nutrition research. Dr. Williams suggests methods for eradicating beriberi,

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