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Early in the study of the effects of a lack of vitamin A in the diet, several striking and serious symptoms of this form of avitaminosis were brought to notice. The decline in weight, in the case of growing animals deprived entirely of this vitamin, established the belief that it is essential to nutritive welfare. When Osborne and Mendel, in 1913, described eye disease, now identified as xerophthalmia, as a frequent consequence of deprivation of vitamin A, and McCollum, in 1917, called attention to respiratory disturbances under the same conditions of an inadequate dietary regimen, the consideration of the possibility that shortage of vitamin A in the diet is of serious moment in human well being rapidly began to develop. Meanwhile the pathology of experimental avitaminosis, related to lack of vitamin A, began to be elucidated further. The keratinization of certain tissues was noted, culminating in the extensive observations of
EARLY STAGES OF VITAMIN A DEFICIENCY. JAMA. 1932;98(26):2290–2291. doi:10.1001/jama.1932.02730520032010
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