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May 1960

Investigations of Tocopherol Deficiency in Infancy and Childhood: Studies of Ceroid Pigment Deposition

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Medicine and Pathology, The Montreal Children's Hospital, and from the Departments of Paediatrics and Pathology, McGill University. This work was partially supported by grants from the Women's Auxiliary, The Montreal Children's Hospital, and from Distillation Products Industries, Rochester, N.Y.; Assistant Pathologist, Department of Pathology, The Montreal Children's Hospital, and Demonstrator, Department of Pathology, McGill University (Dr. Kerner). Clinical Assistant, The Montreal Children's Hospital, and Demonstrator, Department of Paediatrics, McGill University (Dr. Goldbloom).

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1960;99(5):597-603. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1960.02070030599005

The tocopherols, or vitamin E-active substances have received fitful scientific attention and occasional notoriety in recent years. Reproducible tocopherol deficiency states have been well documented as they affect a wide variety of tissues in various species of experimental animals. The signs of tocopherol deficiency in experimental animals most frequently appear in the reproductive system, smooth and skeletal muscles, blood vessels, and the hematopoietic system.

To date, no clinical syndrome of tocopherol deficiency has been defined in man. Progress in the understanding of the role of tocopherol in human physiology has undoubtedly been hampered by its widespread and often uncontrolled therapeutic use for conditions in which tocopherol deficiency has never been demonstrated. Facetious slogans, such as "E for Everything" have surely diverted the serious investigator's attention from tocopherol, which Gordon has aptly called a "shady lady to be approached gingerly by respectable or discreet investigators in human nutrition."1

The pediatric

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