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Joseph Goldberger, Hungarian US doctor

Joseph Goldberger, Hungarian US doctor

H407/0403

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Credit

PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARY / CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PUBLIC HEALTH IMAGE LIBRARY / CDC / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Joseph Goldberger (1874-1929), Hungarian-American doctor and epidemiologist. Goldberger emigrated to the US from Hungary in 1881. He studied medicine in New York and, after a short time in private practice, joined the Marine Hospital Service in 1899. This service, which became the Public Health Service in 1902, was tasked with fighting epidemics. Goldberger spent his time investigating outbreaks of tropical fevers in the US and Caribbean. In 1914 he was assigned to tackle the disease pellagra, which causes dermatitis, diarrhoea and eventually dementia, and was endemic in the Southern US. Goldberger showed that it was not, as thought, an infectious disease but due to a deficiency in the mainly corn-based diet. Goldberger died before he could find the cause, but in 1937 it was shown to be a deficiency of the B vitamin niacin.

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