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September 8, 1962

Appraisal of Vitamin Nutritional Status

Author Affiliations

520 Commonwealth Ave., Boston

JAMA. 1962;181(10):920. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050360106023

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To the Editor:—  In a recent issue (JAMA180:49 [April 7] 1962) an article by Dr. William Pearson entitled, "Biochemical Appraisal of the Vitamin Nutritional Status in Man," under the aegis of the Council on Foods and Nutrition, contains 2 statements with respect to ascorbic acid deficiency which demand comment:

  1. In the statement, "If an adult consumes a diet free of ascorbic acid... clinical signs of scurvy do not appear until approximately 10 weeks," the "10 weeks" should be changed to 18 to 23 weeks (providing the adult is otherwise normal).

  2. The statement, "This means that all individuals with clinical scurvy have serum ascorbic acid levels that are nearly zero," requires the qualifying phrase, "providing there has been no recent intake of the vitamin!" This is an important and easily overlooked qualification. For example, 2 years ago, at Boston City Hospital, a patient entered in the late

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