Beriberi patient, 1914

Beriberi patient, 1914

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Credit: US NATIONAL LIBRARY OF MEDICINE/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

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Caption: Beriberi patient on crutches. Beriberi is a disorder of the nervous system caused by a lack of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the diet. It can cause weight loss, emotional disturbances, and weakness and pain in the limbs, among other symptoms. The condition is more common among populations in Asia where a main part of the diet is white rice. White rice (also called milled rice) has had the rice husks removed. In the 1890s, Christiaan Eijkman discovered that the rice husks could be used to cure the disorder. In 1912, Casimir Funk isolated the anti-beriberi factor. He named it vitamine, though it was later named thiamine. Photograph published in 1914 in Die Vitamine by Casimir Funk.

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