July 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Joseph Goldberger

Born on this day in 1874, in Hungary, Goldberger came over to the U.S. with his parents in 1883. He became a doctor and studied diseases (which means he was an epidemiologist), and he was nominated for the Nobel Priz
e five times for his work on the disease called pellagra.

When Go
ldberger was asked to study pellagra, most doctors thought it was an infectious disease that spread from person to person. However, Goldberger thought it was related to diet. He did some careful restricted-diet experiments with volunteers—studies that spanned several years—and Goldberger was able to show that people who had diets of mostly corn and corn products were at a greatly increased risk to get the disease.

By 1928 Goldberger was able to determine that it was a Vitamin B (niacin) deficiency that caused pellagra.

Unfortunately, Goldberger died the next year of cancer.

Foods high in niacin include eggs, meat, avocados, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, ca
rrots, nuts, legumes, and mushrooms (plus many more!).

Quick Q

Which of these diseases is caused by a vitamin deficiency (but of another vitamin, other than B)?



ANSWERS: (1) Rickets is Vitamin D deficiency. (4) Scurvy is Vitamin C deficiency.

Find Out More

  • Here is a website with info about vitamins and what they do in our bodies. There are lots of other health topics to click on, too!
  • This website has some pretty high-level info about our digestive process and “biomolecules,” including a virtual journey down Fred's throat...and beyond...

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