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September 26, 1914


JAMA. 1914;LXIII(13):1114-1115. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570130050016

Recently1 we discussed the theory put forward by Alessandrini and Scala that drinking-water, because of the presence of silica in colloidal solution, was of consequence in the causation of pellagra. This theory is a novel one in that the relation of silica to the disease had not previously been advanced.

Although pellagra has been known and studied for nearly two centuries, not only is its essential cause unknown, but the broad question whether it is to be classed as a dietary or a communicable (contagious or infectious) disease has never been definitely determined. The spoiled-maize theory has for many years been the favored theory abroad, but its correctness has, for various reasons, been questioned by many. In this country there has arisen, both in the lay and in the medical mind, the opinion that pellagra is to be classed among the infectious diseases. This view has received important support,

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