Scurvy

Alfred F. Hess

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Excerpt from Scurvy: Past and Present

Interest in scurvy has been stimulated in the last few years as the result of a new and broader conception of nutrition. It has come to be realized that in addition to the substances heretofore recognized as of essential importance in the dietary - the proteins, fats, carbohydrates and the salts - there is still another group, termed "vitamines," "accessory food factors" or "food hormones," which must be included in order to render the diet complete and adequate. It has become increasingly evident that the attention of physiologists and of clinicians has been focussed too sharply and too narrowly on the caloric value of foodstuffs. At the same time we have begun to appreciate the existence of a group of nutritional disorders which depend largely on a deficiency of these illusive vitamines or food factors, and which evidently are of vital importance to the welfare of the individual and of mankind. Scurvy is one of this newly-constituted group, and due to this association has acquired a fresh and broader significance. It is in this light that the intensive research work must be interpreted, which has been applied within the past few years, both in this country and abroad, to problems relating to this disorder. It is clear that the subject is in its infancy, and is destined to participate in a consideration of many of the nutritional and infectious diseases of the adult and the child.

The World War has tended also to demand a renewed consideration of scurvy. This disorder has played a role in all wars - in the campaigns of the C?sars, the pilgrimages of the Crusaders, and the numerous wars of the last century.

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