THE 'ORCiANlSM-AS-A-WHOLE' 127
Scurvy develops gradually. The patient loses weight, appears anaemic, pale, weak, and short of breath. The gums become swollen, bleed easily, and often develop ulcers. The teeth loosen and may fall out. Hemorrhages between the mucous membranes and the skin often occur. Blue-black spots in the skin are very easily produced, or even occur spontaneously. The ankles become swollen, and, in severe cases, the skin becomes hard. Nervous symptoms of a varied character appear, some of which are due to the rupture of blood vessels. In later stages of the disease, delirium and convulsions may occur. Autopsy reveals significant data; namely, hemorrhages and fragility of the bones. Scurvy appears also as a deficiency disease, produced mainly by the lack in food of the so-called 'anti-scorbutic vitamin'.
Beri-Beri labels a form of inflammation of the peripheral nerves, the nerves of motion and sensation being equally affected. In the beginning of the disease, the patient feels fatigue, depression, and stiffness of the legs. We distinguish two forms, the wet and the dry. In the dry form, wasting, anaesthesia and paralysis are the chief manifestations. The most marked manifestation in the wet form is the accumulation of serum in the cellular tissue affecting the trunks, limbs and extremities. Usually, in both forms, there appear tenderness of the calf muscles and a tingling or burning in the feet, legs, and arms. The mortality is high.
Pellagra involves the nervous system, the digestive tract, and skin. Normally, one of the first symptoms to appear is soreness and inflammation of the mouth. Symmetrical redness of the skin occurs on parts of the body. The nervous symptoms become more pronounced as the disease advances. The spinal cord is particularly involved, but the central nervous system is also often affected.
Speaking about 'vitamins' and how their absence affects the organ-ism-as-a-whole, we should mention that sterility in females may be connected with lack of vitamins. Astonishing experiments by Professor McCollum showed that such diverse phenomena as loss of weight, premature old age, high infant mortality., are largely due to diet, and that even such fundamental instincts as the motherly instinct are also affected. The normally nourished rat very seldom destroys its young and, as a rule, rats are good mothers. If we put such a mother rat on an abundant diet that is deficient in some vitamins, the mother reacts quite differently toward her young and destroys them soon after their birth. This characteristic has been controlled experimentally, and reversed at will by proper diets. Nervousness and irritability in rats can also be controlled experimentally by means of the vitamins they receive, or lack in food.