By Kenneth J. Carpenter
During this finished account of the historical past and therapy of beriberi, Kenneth chippie strains the many years of clinical and chemical examine that solved the puzzle posed through this mysterious sickness. attributable to the shortcoming of a minute volume of the chemical thiamin, or diet B1 within the nutrition, beriberi is characterised through weak spot 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 disorder in local defense force and prisons. It used to be at the beginning attributed to miasms (poisonous vapors from damp soil) or to bacterial infections. In Java, chickens fed unintentionally on white rice misplaced using their legs. On brown rice, the place the grain nonetheless contained its bran and germ, they remained fit. reports in Javanese prisons then confirmed beriberi additionally happening the place white (rather than brown) rice used to be the staple nutrients. Birds have been used to assay the efficiency of fractions extracted from rice bran and, after twenty years, hugely energetic crystals have been acquired. In one other 10 years their constitution was resolute and "thiamin" used to be synthesized. Beriberi is a narrative of contested wisdom and erratic clinical pathways. It bargains a desirable chronicle of the advance of medical concept, a background that encompasses public future health, technology, vitamin, exchange, increasing empires, battle, 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 1000000 humans, after which following up clues that ranged a lot wider. One final result used to be the construction of an artificial chemical that we now, the majority of us, devour in small amounts every day in our foodstuff. The detectives had a number of professions and spoke diversified languages. Their paintings ranged from learning the health and wellbeing of workers 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 The built-in tale in their struggles and successes, culled from outdated volumes in scattered libraries, kinds the topic of this ebook.
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Additional info for Beriberi, White Rice, and Vitamin B: A Disease, a Cause, and a Cure
35 They added that looking for a poison would be difﬁcult, but in looking for a microor- 34 Chapter 3 ganism they did have new techniques that had been successful with other diseases; if they could grow cultures of organisms found in patients, and then reproduce the disease in animals by injecting them with these cultures, this would be clear evidence of the cause. 36 They ﬁrst studied beriberi patients who had developed the disease in Atjeh and then been brought back to a hospital in Batavia, but in most cases they failed to ﬁnd bacteria in the patients’ blood.
The Portuguese were the ﬁrst Europeans to establish bases in the East Indies in the sixteenth century. In a number of letters in this period, missionary priests referred to a local disease called bere bere, which they themselves sometimes contracted. In a letter written in 1580 from the Molucca (or Spice) islands we read: Father Rodriguez is suffering from an illness called bere bere. It begins in the feet and takes away the power of walking; the same happens to the hands, and then goes further to where the heart is affected, when death follows.
7 Another army surgeon, J. Ridley, painted a dramatic picture of his own experience with the disease in Ceylon some ten years later. He had traveled to a small inland garrison, where a fort was being constructed by four hundred native troops under a European comman- Studies in the Colonies 27 der, in order to attend to a serious outbreak of beriberi. He found the commander dying of “jungle fever” and ﬁve to eight of the men dying each day of beriberi. ”8 Ridley ordered the wards for the sick cleaned and fumigated, dosed the patients with calomel (mercurous chloride, used as a purgative) and diuretics (drugs used to stimulate urine production), and had their legs and feet bathed and rubbed.
Beriberi, White Rice, and Vitamin B: A Disease, a Cause, and a Cure by Kenneth J. Carpenter