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July 8, 1933


JAMA. 1933;101(2):127-128. doi:10.1001/jama.1933.02740270031014

The concept of deficiency diseases, in contrast to maladies that owe their origin to some positive factor such as infections or parasitic organisms in the body, is comparatively new; its varied implications are not yet clearly understood. Obviously, such manifestations as outspoken scurvy, florid rickets, severe beriberi and pronounced xerophthalmia no longer call for debate with respect to the genesis of the conspicuous symptoms. The clear recognition of the causes has served to hasten the prevention as well as the cure of the disorders. It may be expected that a large group of formerly disconcerting maladies will become rarities in parts of the world where they were at one time dreaded and managed at best with great difficulty.

There are, however, insidious features of incipient avitaminosis that are not so readily appreciated. The time has arrived when more serious consideration must be given to them; when the possibilities of their