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October 21, 1911

A Conjecture Respecting the Cause of Beriberi

JAMA. 1911;LVII(17):1385. doi:10.1001/jama.1911.04260100211021

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To the Editor:  —I was much interested in reading the article commenting on beriberi in The Journal (Oct. 7, 1911, p.1213). I am sorry to say that I cannot agree with the theory of of beriberi being caused only by white milled rice. Beriberi is, of course, a true neuritis, and phosphorus is certainly removed in taking away the outer layer of the rice paddy, but my experience was that when proper precaution was taken in harvesting and caring for the rice after harvest—storing it in a dry place—that there was very little or no beriberi. Witness the Danish captain in the Siamese navy who personally told me that he had never had a case of beriberi on board his ship in seventeen years' service, and who personally bought the best rice and was careful as to its storage in a dry place; also the fact that beriberi usually

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