Chinese Journal of Medical History / Zhong Hua Yi Shi Za Zhi

[This article belongs to Volume - 52, Issue - 1]

Abstract :

Beriberi is a disease caused by insufficiency vitamin B 1 in the body which, if untreated, can cause death. It was the disease with the highest incidence in the Japanese army during the Meiji and Taisho Periods. It was treated with a variety of therapeutic treatments by the Navy and the Army respectively, based on the different therapy systems of Britain and Germany at the time, with an argument about these treatments lasting more than half a century. Eventually, the Navy experimented with dietary modification for beriberi, according to Takagi Kanehiro, successfully reducing beriberi incidence to zero. This rewrites the epidemic history of beriberi in the Japanese Navy