August 10, 1912

Beriberi and Beans

Author Affiliations

Berkeley, Cal.

JAMA. 1912;LIX(6):463-464. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270080145034

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To the Editor:  —I have followed with much interest your comments on beriberi in recent numbers of The Journal. My article in The Journal, May 30, 1908 (p. 1785), while it does not lay claim to laboratory accuracy, does chronicle eight patients with beriberi taken from a Dutch ship in San Francisco Bay, all of whom had been fed for several months previously on a diet of small white beans. If beans are the cure, will some member of the primary class explain to me how and why my Dutch sailors contracted beriberi?

Comment.  —The present stage of our knowledge regarding the etiology of familiar types of peripheral neuritis, such as beriberi, will scarcely permit any final pronouncement. The important points to bear in mind are the fact that the bacterial origin of these maladies is at present discredited, and that the symptoms may be, and doubtless usually are, the

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