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October 1, 1927


JAMA. 1927;89(14):1152-1153. doi:10.1001/jama.1927.02690140048015

The stimulus for the early studies in the field now designated as that of dietary deficiency disorders was derived in no small measure from experiments on birds. The starting point was the production of experimental polyneuritis—polyneuritis gallinarum—in hens and the demonstration that it could be averted or cured through the use of suitable food alone. The pioneer investigations of the Dutch scientists Eijkman and Grijns, working in Java, paved the way for Funk's studies on pigeons, researches responsible for the introduction of the word vitamin into physiologic literature. The story of the abnormal behavior of pigeons kept on a diet of polished rice and their astounding recoveries when small amounts of certain supplementary foods or food "accessories" are added to the ration has become a classic. Subsequent experimentation has been directed, on the one hand, toward the discovery of the chemical nature of the potent agent, the antineuritic vitamin, and,