CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Prof. Conrad Elvehjem

(May 27, 1901 – Jul 27, 1962)

💠American Biochemist

💠Discoverer of Anti-Pellagra Vitamin

His contributions…

🔸Elvehjem was asked about his career preference at the age of 13. He chose the field of Biochemistry because he was interested in knowing the secret behind plant growth.

🔸As per his wish, he completed three degrees, a BS (1923), MS (1924) and Ph.D. (1927) – all in agricultural chemistry at the University of Wisconsin.

🔸His ultimate research was on nutrition, especially in trace elements and vitamins.

🔸Between 1908 -1940 there was an epidemic in the southern states of America, where 3 million people suffered from and 100,000 deaths occurred due to Pellagra. It was concluded as the most infectious and contagious disease of the time.

🔸In fact, Dr. Joseph Goldberger, a Clinical Epidemiologist solved the myth and mystery of Pellagra. His study concluded that it was a dietary disease. Since the people ate maize (corn) as a staple food, it lead to nutritional deficiency.

🔸The scientific community pursued the search for isolation of anti-pellagra factor across the world.

🔸In 1937, Dr. Elvehjem isolated & determined the structure of Nicotinic acid (NIACIN) from Liver extract. He found that Niacin was used to treat Black Tongue of a Dog, which is equivalent to Human Pellagra.

🔸Niacin is a Vitamin B3, also named as Pellagra Preventing Factor or Anti-Black Tongue Factor.

🔸Shortly, clinical trials done by Dr. Tom Spies, an American physician and medical educator, established that Niacin cures Pellagra in humans.

🔸In addition, Dr. Elvehjem published more than 800 research papers during his career on biochemistry and nutrition.

A Day to Commemorate

The Major Contributor in the Golden Era of Nutritional Research

Prof. Conrad Elvehjem 🙏🏼

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