Historic Medical Similarities
James Lind conducted the first clinical trial for a cure for a disease. His treatise on scurvy was published in 1755. Scurvy was a debilitating disease largely suffered by sailors. Lind had groups of sailors try six different substances and found that fresh citrus fruit cured scurvy. The other substances he tried were: cider; dilute sulphuric acid; vinegar; sea water; and a medicinal paste made up of garlic, mustard seed, dried radish root and gum myrrh.
Dr. James Lind 1716-1794
Foundation of Clinical Medical Trial
Prevention of Scurvy
Concept Development of Deficiency Diseases
Lind, like Jenner, did not know why the citrus fruit cured scurvy. That is, he did not know the scientific reason for his success. He reported that oranges worked the best for curing scurvy.
Lind's second book on curing scurvy, an essay on the most effectual means of preserving the health of seamen was published in 1762. Scurvy was not caused by a pathogen but was a deficiency disease. The concept of a disease caused by a deficiency of an essential substance was not realized until the work of Dr. Joseph Goldberger in the 1920's on pellegra. It would not be until the 1930's that vitamin C was discovered.
Other deficiency diseases are:
Night blindness - lack of vitamin A
Rickets - lack of vitamin D
Beriberi - lack of vitamin B1
Pellagra - lack of vitamin B3 (niacin)
Anemia - lack of iron
Goiter - lack of iodine
Understanding a new brain function