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March 5, 1938


JAMA. 1938;110(10):727-732. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.62790100003008

A few years ago there appeared to be a hopeless conflict among the more or less empirical observations of the host of workers in the field of vitamin B. Fortunately the converging events since 1935 have established the chemical structure and certain properties of vitamin B1 in a firm fashion. In order to emphasize that this factor is a definite chemical entity, distinct from all other substances, it may be well to use a distinctive name. For years the term antineuritic or antiberiberi vitamin had been used to designate this substance, but such names contain implications contrary to fact or beyond our knowledge; for example, that the relationship between neuritis and beriberi and this vitamin is mutually exclusive. In addition the name "vitamin" is subject to the objection that it brings under a common designation a group of substances which are chemically wholly unrelated to the best of our knowledge.

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