By Kenneth J. Carpenter
During this entire account of the heritage and remedy of beriberi, Kenneth wood worker strains the many years of clinical and chemical learn that solved the puzzle posed by way of this mysterious sickness. brought on by the inability of a minute volume of the chemical thiamin, or nutrition B1 within the nutrition, beriberi is characterised via weak point and lack of feeling within the ft and legs, then swelling from fluid retention, and at last middle failure. Western medical professionals operating in Asia after 1870 observed it because the significant ailment in local militia and prisons. It was once in the beginning attributed to miasms (poisonous vapors from damp soil) or to bacterial infections. In Java, chickens fed by accident on white rice misplaced using their legs. On brown rice, the place the grain nonetheless contained its bran and germ, they remained fit. stories in Javanese prisons then confirmed beriberi additionally happening the place white (rather than brown) rice was once the staple nutrients. Birds have been used to assay the efficiency of fractions extracted from rice bran and, after twenty years, hugely lively crystals have been acquired. In one other 10 years their constitution was resolute and "thiamin" was once synthesized. Beriberi is a narrative of contested wisdom and erratic clinical pathways. It bargains a desirable chronicle of the improvement of clinical notion, a historical past that encompasses public future health, technology, nutrition, exchange, increasing empires, struggle, and technology.From the preface:This is a scientific detective tale: starting with the research of a illness that has killed or crippled at the very least one million humans, after which following up clues that ranged a lot wider. One end result used to be the construction of an artificial chemical that we now, the vast majority of us, devour in small amounts on a daily basis in our meals. The detectives had various professions and spoke varied languages. Their paintings ranged from learning the overall healthiness of employees in a primitive jungle to the painstaking dissection of person grains of rice below a microscope. The built-in tale in their struggles and successes, culled from outdated volumes in scattered libraries, kinds the topic of this publication.
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Extra resources for Beriberi, White Rice, and Vitamin B: A Disease, a Cause, and a Cure
42 In the section of his ﬁrst annual report for 1888 dealing with beriberi, Eijkman wrote that he had tried to infect a dozen rabbits with cultures of Pekelharing’s micrococcus. Each was given twenty successive injections over a month. One died suddenly on the fortieth day without any previous sign of nerve damage. The others showed no notable results. Experiments with a few monkeys were also disappointing. Eijkman concluded that beriberi was a lingering disease, with a considerable time elapsing before its full development.
The name “rice” is applied to a wide range of semiaquatic annual grass plants. But, in practice, those cultivated on a large scale all belong to one species, with the formal name Oryza sativa L. Within this species are two main types, japonica (also known as sinica) and indica, which are suited to different climatic conditions. The indica varieties grow well in more tropical climates, and the thin, elongated grains are typically dry and ﬁrm when cooked. 5 There are also hybrids between the two main varieties.
1 (continued) The question asked The answer 12. Did polished rice acquire a toxin during storage? No, even freshly polished rice (raw or cooked) caused the disease. 13. Is silverskin still protective when Yes. rice is ground and cooked? 14. Was stimulation of the intestine by ﬁber from unpolished rice an important factor? No, addition of coarse rice husks to cooked polished rice failed to cure diseased chickens. 15. Is it the nutritive salts and/ or protein of the silverskin that is important? No, chickens diseased from being fed tapioca starch responded only for a short period when supplemented with meat that provided as much protein and essential salts as in silverskin.