The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C

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Cambridge University Press, Apr 29, 1988 - Medical - 300 pages
The first modern survey of the long and fascinating history of the various ideas and theories about the cause of scurvy, the nutritional deficiency disease that has caused (with the exception of famine) the most human suffering in recorded history. Professor Carpenter documents the arguments that led to the numerous theories about the disease and eventually to the isolation and synthesis of vitamin C (ascorbic acid), and illustrates how the changing ideas about scurvy reflected the scientific and medical beliefs of different periods in history. The author also examines the modern claims for the use of very high levels of vitamin C to bring about a state of super-health, and he analyses the most important evidence for and against this practice. This fascinating story in the history of science and medicine will be of interest to the historian, scientist and the general reader.
 

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Contents

The writings of learned men 15401700
29
Scurvy in the British Navy 17001772
43
Captain Cook and pneumatic chemistry 17701815
75
Land scurvy potatoes and potassium 18101905
98
Problems in the Arctic and the ptomaine theory
133
the new disease of affluence
158
Guinea pigs and the discovery of vitamin C 1905 1935
173
Needs and uses for vitamin C 19351985
198
Retrospect
221
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