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April 1, 1944


JAMA. 1944;124(14):986-987. doi:10.1001/jama.1944.02850140032011

Clinicians generally agree that a deficiency in vitamins or other essential food elements usually results in a lowered natural resistance to bacterial infections. There is reason to believe that this hypoimmunity is largely due to a reduction in phagocytic functions.1 In contrast with this general agreement the effect of similar nutritional deficiencies on antiviral resistance is still controversial. McCormick,2 for example, reported that the diets of victims of infantile paralysis are frequently low in thiamine. He obtained good results in paralytic cases by administering rather large amounts of thiamine. Exactly opposite conclusions were drawn by Ward,3 who found that thiamine excretion in children with paralytic poliomyelitis does not differ from that of normal children. He believes that thiamine nutrition is not a determining factor in poliomyelitis.

Similar contradictions have resulted from a study of experimental poliomyelitis. Working with monkeys, Jungeblut4 found that the incidence of paralysis