Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies

Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies

Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies

Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies

Synopsis

A new work on the history of vitamins and the brilliant men and women who discovered the existence and nature of these small molecules so vital to our health.

Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters: History, Science, and Controversies describes the emergence of nutritional science and its contributions to our understanding of how the body functions. It is an absorbing look at the men and women, many little known in their lifetimes, whose medical detective work helped us conquer a number of devastating health conditions, including some forms of mental illness.

Each chapter of Vitamin Discoveries and Disasters focuses on a specific vitamin, describing the researchers, the research, and the historic and scientific contexts for its discovery. Together, these chapters chart the ongoing conflict between physicians who saw illness as caused by organisms and those who saw illness as a result of dietary deficiency. A concluding chapter shows how our stronger grasp of the effects of vitamin deficiencies on large populations can be used to the utmost benefit of society.

Excerpt

Over the past one hundred years, there have been incredible medical breakthroughs that have prevented or cured illness in billions of people and helped many more improve their health while living with chronic conditions. A few of the most important twentieth-century discoveries include antibiotics, organ transplants, and vaccines. The twenty-first century has already heralded important new treatments, including such things as a vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus from infecting and potentially leading to cervical cancer in women. Polio is on the verge of being eradicated worldwide, making it only the second infectious disease behind smallpox to ever be erased as a human health threat.

In this series, experts from many disciplines share with readers important and updated medical knowledge. All aspects of health are considered, including subjects that are disease specific and preventive medical care. Disseminating this information will help individuals to improve their health, researchers to determine where there are gaps in our current knowledge, and policymakers to assess the most pressing needs in healthcare.

Series Editor Julie K. Silver, M.D. Assistant Professor Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation . . .

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