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August 1921


Author Affiliations


From the U. S. Public Health Service.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1921;28(2):166-172. doi:10.1001/archinte.1921.00100140043004

Indican, taken as a measure of putrefaction in the intestines, has been reported repeatedly in the urine of persons suffering from pellagra.1

Myers and Fine, working in cooperation with the Thompson-McFadden Commission, concluded that indicanuria is excessive in the cases with gastric inefficiency. Hunter, Givens and Lewis, however, showed that gastric inefficiency is only one of the factors involved in indican formation. A very important factor is to be found in the patient's diet—the tendency to excessive indican formation being greater on a meat diet. They showed further that the existence of pellagra is compatible with any degree whatever of indican production, even none at all, and that indicanuria, undeniably a common feature of the disease, is by no means, an essential one.

That indicanuria is not an essential factor in pellagra is also shown by the findings of Goldberger and Wheeler. Thus, in 1915, Goldberger and Wheeler2 showed that

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