Medicine: Vitamin B<sub>1</sub>

Near the turn of the century, nutritional scientists discovered that the wasting nerve disease called beriberi, which had afflicted rice-eating Orientals for thousands of years, was caused not by a harmful agent that got into the body but by the lack of a beneficial agent which did not get in. A Dutchman, Christian Eijkman, found that chickens which ate nothing but polished rice developed beriberi, but that if the chickens ate the rice coatings they got better. For a quarter century Dr. Robert Runnels Williams of Bell Telephone Laboratories labored to extract the...

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