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December 14, 1918


JAMA. 1918;71(24):2000. doi:10.1001/jama.1918.02600500050011

The evidence that the antineuritic and antiscorbutic properties in foods are not identical, since they behave quite differently toward absorbents, was recently mentioned in these columns.1 This raises the question as to the comparative etiology of the types of disorder corrected by the use of antineuritic and antiscorbutic foods, respectively. Polyneuritis, as it is exemplified in the disease beriberi, is today admitted to be a dietary deficiency disorder attributable to the lack of a specific vitamin in the regimen. Is scurvy a disease of a different sort, or does it also correspond to the type lately designated as an avitaminosis?

McCollum and Pitz2 reject the vitamin hypothesis in explanation of the genesis of scurvy. They insist that the disease is the outcome of faulty intestinal conditions; that it is not due to any deficiency in the diet, but rather is the result of chronic constipation caused by the