For the past five or six years a number of investigators have been studying the effects of the feeding of oils containing highly unsaturated fatty acids (with a high iodine number) to patients with infantile eczema and chronic dermatitis (atopic eczema, generalized neurodermatitis).
A. E. Hansen,1 who was originally responsible for the idea of feeding children oils containing unsaturated fatty acids for infantile eczema had his inspiration from the experiments of Burr and Burr,2 who noted a cutaneous disease in rats having a deficiency in unsaturated fatty acids. Hansen found low iodine numbers for the serums of patients with infantile eczema and noted a rise of these iodine numbers coincident with clinical improvement which followed feeding of corn oil or linseed oil. He also noted that clinical improvement was accompanied or preceded by a return of the iodine number of the fatty acids in the serum from subnormal
GINSBERG JE, BERNSTEIN C, IOB LV. EFFECT OF OILS CONTAINING UNSATURATED FATTY ACIDS ON PATIENTS WITH DERMATITISWITH A BRIEF REPORT OF AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY IN GUINEA-PIGS. Arch Derm Syphilol. 1937;36(5):1033–1038. doi:10.1001/archderm.1937.01480050099013
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