Apoplexy: Hemorrhage into the brain. A stroke. It is
usually associated with loss of consciousness and paralysis of various parts of
Dementia: An organic mental disorder characterized by a general loss of
intellectual abilities involving impairment of memory, judgment and abstract
thinking as well as changes in personality.
Dysentery: Any of various disorders marked by inflammation of the
intestines, especially of the colon and attended by pain in the abdomen,
tenesmus and frequent stools containing blood and mucus. Causes include chemical
irritants, bacteria, protozoa or parasitic worms.
Epilepsy: The paroxysmal transient disturbances of brain function that
may be manifested as episodic impairment or loss of consciousness, abnormal
motor phenomena, psychic or sensory disturbances or perturbation of the
autonomic nervous system.
Mania: Excitement of psychotic proportions manifested by mental and
physical hyperactivity, disorganization of behavior and elevation of mood.
Nephritis: Inflammation of the kidney, a focal or diffuse proliferative
or destructive process which may involve the glomerulus, tubule or interstitial
Paresis: Slight or incomplete paralysis.
Pellagra: A deficiency of niacin causes pellagra, a serious disease which
has plagued mankind for centuries. In most cases pellagra strikes people whose
diet consists mainly of corn and cornmeal. Until fairly recently, pellagra was a
major health problem in the United States. In the 1920s the disease killed
thousands of people in poor rural areas. At that time, pellagra patients filled
both hospitals and, because mental confusion was one of its symptoms, mental
institutions as well. The symptoms
of pellagra include: high sensitivity to sunlight ; aggression ; dermatitis ;
red skin lesions ; insomnia ; weakness ; mental confusion; diarrhea ; dementia.
In the early 1900s, pellagra reached epidemic proportions in the American South.
There were 1,306 reported pellagra deaths in South Carolina during the first ten
months of 1915; 100,000 Southerners were affected in 1916. At this time, the
scientific community held that pellagra was probably caused by a germ or some
unknown toxin in corn.
*Pellagra was reported first in the United States in 1902. Soon, pellagra began
to occur in epidemic proportions in the American South.
Although no one knew the exact cause of the disease, by the beginning of the
twentieth century more and more researchers began to suspect that a dietary
deficiency was responsible. The search for an "anti-pellagra factor" intensified
in both Europe and the United States. In 1912, Casimir Funk (1884-1967), the
Polish-born biochemist who coined the term vitamin, managed to isolate
the right factor—nicotinic acid—from rice polishings. Unfortunately, at the time
Funk was actually hunting for a substance that would cure beriberi, another
serious deficiency disorder. When he found that nicotinic acid had only a
minimal effect on beriberi, Funk pushed the compound aside. In the years that
followed, the compound was largely ignored.
1930s, a number of researchers—among them Hans Euler-Chelpin, Otto Warburg, and
Arthur Harden—began reporting that nicotinic acid appeared to be part of quite a
few vital coenzymes. Perhaps, the researchers suggested, the compound was a lot
more important than was originally supposed.
wasn't fully established as a vitamin until 1937. It was then that a team of
researchers headed by American biochemist named Conrad Arnold Elvehjem
(1901-1962) administered 30 milligrams of nicotinic acid to a dog suffering from
blacktongue (the canine equivalent of pellagra). The dog improved immediately
and, with further doses, was soon completely cured.
biochemical researchers quickly confirmed that niacin was the anti-pellagra
vitamin for humans. They also confirmed that adding foods high in niacin to the
diet, such as meat, green vegetables, yeast, and most grains, dramatically cured
the disease. Moreover, since tryptophan is converted by the body into niacin,
adding milk and other tryptophan-rich foods to the diet worked equally well.
quickly, pellagra cases began declining. In 1941 breads and cereals routinely
began to be fortified with the vitamin. It was then that pellagra ceased to be a
problem in the United States. The disease does crop up occasionally in other
parts of the world, usually where poor diet is a problem.
Systemic disease associated with the presence and persistence of pathogenic
microorganisms or their toxins in the blood.