The Halo Effect of 13 Vitamins

They were first named "vital amines" by Polish biochemist Kazimierz Funk around 1912. Other suggestions of the time were "food hormones" or "food accessory factor." Would parents today insist their children get food hormones? Vitamin supplements are taken by half the American population--even though scientists have debunked this idea over and over. (A fascinating history of vitamins is…

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Influenza Epidemic: 1918-1919

The influenza epidemic of 1918-1919 killed more than 50 million people worldwide. In the United States, approximately 650,000 died. This "Spanish flu" was caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus that targeted the younger population. The University of Michigan has an absolutely fascinating website, called "The American Influenza Epidemic of 1918-1919: A Digital Encyclopedia," that…

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High C at High Sea

Scottish naval surgeon James Lind (born Oct .4, 1716) conducted many experiments while trying to cure scurvy. Using 12 scurvy victims aboard the Royal Navy’s H.M.S. Salisbury, Lind tried cider, nutmeg, vinegar, an elixir of vitriol, and a compound made from garlic, myrrh, mustard and balsam of Peru. None worked. Then he gave two men two…

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