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November 1910


Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1910;VI(5):614-616. doi:10.1001/archinte.1910.00050330149009

The zeistic theory of pellagra as enunciated by Lombroso1 and von Babes2 that ``pellagra is to be considered as a chronic and periodically recurring intoxication which is due to a specific substance formed in more or less spoiled corn,'' is founded more on statistical evidence than on clear-cut experiments. Lombroso and subsequent workers, it is true, isolated from corn toxic products which had some action on the nervous system of dogs, and von Babes and Manicatide claim to have prevented this action in rabbits by injection of blood serum from a cured pellagrin. On the other hand, comparatively little has been done to test the sensitiveness of pellagra patients themselves to substances derived from corn.

If the zeistic theories of pellagra were correct, it seemed possible that the chronic corn intoxication presupposed by Lombroso and von Babes might be accompanied by a condition of anaphylactic hypersensitiveness to

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