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July 7, 1906


JAMA. 1906;XLVII(1):39. doi:10.1001/jama.1906.02520010047004

In 1904 a Swedish physician, Erik Ekelöf,1 published the results of certain personal observations as well as literary investigations concerning the occurrence of scurvy among arctic explorers. He reaches the conclusion that scurvy in general is caused by poisonous substances developing as the outcome of certain autolytic and spontaneous, non-bacterial processes in preserved animal products (meat and fish) which in most cases have constituted a large part of the food of arctic and antarctic expeditions.

We can not attempt to follow Ekelöf's reasoning in detail. Suffice it to say that he reaches his final conclusion by a process of exclusion. From a careful study of the health and the dietary of practically all authentically recorded polar expeditions he finds that the one common factor in all the cases in which scurvy made its appearance was the use of preserved meat and fish for a long period and to the