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February 1932

NEURITIS FROM ARSENIC AND LEAD: THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHEMICAL STUDIES IN DIAGNOSIS

Author Affiliations

ROCHESTER, MINN.

From the Section on Neurology and the Section on Biochemistry, the Mayo Clinic.

Arch NeurPsych. 1932;27(2):322-332. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1932.02230140076006
Abstract

It has long been known that arsenic is eliminated in part in the urine. During the epidemic of multiple neuritis in Manchester, England, in 1900, Reynolds, Mann and others found that the beer used in the community became contaminated with arsenic in manufacture, and that these "beer-drinking" patients were excreting arsenic in the urine. They concluded that arsenic, rather than alcohol, was responsible for the so-called alcoholic neuritis that had long been present about Manchester. Mann also found that the hair, scales from the feet and hands, and nails of these patients contained arsenic.

We are certain that the excreta and the skin and its appendages must have been examined for arsenic in forensic medicine, and also in isolated cases in clinical practice when suspicions of its presence arose. Nevertheless, we have not found any reference to the use of chemical methods as a routine procedure in determining the part

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