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November 20, 1915


JAMA. 1915;LXV(21):1818-1819. doi:10.1001/jama.1915.02580210052019

The zeist theory of the origin of pellagra is not yet entirely abandoned, and some students of the subject are still endeavoring to connect the incidence of pellagra with some factor related to maize, or Indian corn, in the diet. At the present moment, however, a greater interest centers in the broader hypothesis that pellagra is due to some communicable factor and should be placed in the category related to that of infectious disease. The Thompson-McFadden Pellagra Commission1 has stated that its efforts to discover the essential pellagra-producing food or the essential pellagra-preventing food have not been crowned with success. Their evidence suggests that neither substance exists in the population studied by them. Hence they have been inclined to postulate a communicable agency in the etiology of pellagra.

Within a few days, Goldberger of the U. S. Public Health Service and his associates have announced the experimental causation of