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July 16, 1932


JAMA. 1932;99(3):215-222. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.27410550004009

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The discovery of the fourth vitamin, vitamin D, has been of the greatest importance to the medical profession as well as to mankind, because it has brought about the solution of the century-old problem of the cause and prevention of rickets. Today, because of this discovery, severe rickets, in civilized countries at least, is coming to be a rare disease. The opinion has even been expressed that within the next decade, or even sooner, the disease in all its forms may be almost completely eradicated; that it will become as rare as has infantile scurvy since the widespread use of orange juice.

To the English physiologist Mellanby belongs the credit of the discovery of the specific antirachitic factor or vitamin. His reports, published in 1918 and 1919, contain the first accounts of the undoubted production of true rickets in an experimental animal—in this case the dog—and of its cure by

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