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June 1, 1940


JAMA. 1940;114(22):2191-2194. doi:10.1001/jama.1940.02810220015004

Vitamin B1 has been used in the treatment of peripheral neuritis of alcoholic origin with encouraging results. Prior to the recognition of the role played by vitamins, polyneuritis in the alcohol addict was usually attributed to the direct toxic action of alcohol. Since Shattuck1 in 1928 first called attention to the occurrence of beriberi in persons with chronic alcoholism, syphilis, carcinoma and chronic debilitating diseases, the term "alcoholic polyneuritis" has been gradually discarded in favor of a more inclusive and general conception..

Since the work of Shattuck, Wechsler2 and Minot and his associates3 have pointed out that avitaminosis probably plays an important role in the production of this type of polyneuritis. Goodhart and Jolliffe4 reached the conclusions that (a) vitamin B1 deficiency is the primary cause in the alcohol addict, and (b) improvement in the objective signs of polyneuritis of this form varies directly