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November 5, 1938


Author Affiliations


From the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory; the Second and Fourth Medical Services (Harvard), Boston City Hospital, and the Department of Tropical Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health.

JAMA. 1938;111(19):1729-1734. doi:10.1001/jama.1938.02790450011003

The phenomenal advances of recent years in the field of nutritional diseases have brought about a reorientation of thought and have made it evident that the older clinical classifications and nomenclature are sometimes misleading. For example, the term "pseudopellagra," which was based on an etiologic misconception, has been dropped by common consent, and that of "alcoholic" polyneuritis has been proved to be a misnomer.1 Moreover, various other neuritides that were formerly attributed to some hypothetic toxin, and even certain cases of "infectious" polyneuritis, are now being attributed to deficient ingestion or utilization of the vitamin B complex.

RECENT OPINION  In a recent paper by Cobb and Coggeshall2 the principal causes of polyneuritis were classified as in the accompanying table.This classification of Cobb and Coggeshall includes under the heading of "deficiency or metabolism" a large series of neuritides which would not have been so classified a few years