During the summer of 1935 there occurred a sporadic outbreak of cataracts, predominantly in young women, which could have been likened to an epidemic. It began about April, rapidly increased during the summer and fall and gradually disappeared during 1936-1937. Like an epidemic, it seemed to point to a common source, namely dinitrophenol, which was taken for the rapid reduction of body weight. The number of persons who were affected—estimated at more than 164—probably exceeds the number of cataracts reported in any single toxic epidemic with the possible exception of that due to ergot poisoning. A study of this unusual phenomenon is therefore of interest.
EARLY HISTORY OF DINITROPHENOL
Dinitronaphthol and dinitrophenol were shown to be accelerators of metabolism in dogs by Cazeneuve and Lépine in 1885,1 by Gibbs and Reichert in 18912 and by later investigators.3Dinitrophenol did not receive medical consideration until the first
HORNER WD. DINITROPHENOL AND ITS RELATION TO FORMATION OF CATARACT. Arch Ophthalmol. 1942;27(6):1097–1121. doi:10.1001/archopht.1942.00880060073002
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