Tidbits Grand Forks - February 5, 2015

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February 5, 2015

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VITAMINS On February 5, 1915, the first experiment sponsored by the Public Health Department in order to prove that some diseases are caused by dietary deficiencies began. Researcher Joseph Goldberger consequently proved that the skin disease pellagra is caused by poor diet. Come along with Tidbits as we consider vitamins! VITAL AMINES • In 1911, Polish scientist Casimir Funk theorized that diseases such as beriberi and scurvy were caused by a lack of substances he dubbed “vital amines.” This term was shortened to ‘vitamins.’ He was the first to prove that these illnesses were not caused by exterior factors but were simply caused by dietary deficiency. • Other researchers began isolating these vital amines, calling them simply “vital amine factor A”, “factor B” and “factor C” and so forth. The lack of factor A caused blindness; the lack of factor B caused beriberi; the lack of factor C caused scurvy; the lack of factor D caused rickets; the lack of factor E caused miscarriage, and so on. • At one time there were vitamins A through P. Subsequent research revealed many duplicates, so some were scratched from the list. That's why there is no vitamin F today. Publish a We provide the opportunity for success!

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6. Due to improved diet, 25% of American men now reach heights of six feet or greater. What percentage reached that height in the year 1900 — 4, 8, 12 or 16? 7. What was the last name of the neighbors Ethel and Fred on the “I Love Lucy” TV show? 8. The Supremes had five chart toppers in 1964. How many can you name?


1. What common weed is high in vitamin A? 2. T or F: Oranges contain more vitamin C than any othe fruit. 3. T or F: Carrots contain large amounts of vitamin A. 4. T or F: Milk naturally contains large amounts of vitamin D. 5. What human organ can store up to a year’s supply of vitamin A?


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VITAL AMINES (continued): • Later researchers found that vitamin B was actually a complex compound, and it was broken down into vitamins B1 through B14. Again, later studies showed some errors. Today we have only B1, B2, B6, and B12. • Today we know there are 13 vitamins: A, B1, B2, B6, B12, C, D, E, K, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, and folic acid. In 1933 scientists learned how to manufacture synthetic vitamins in the laboratory. ELMER'S DISCOVERY • In the early 1900s, Elmer McCollum was a researcher at the University of Wisconsin. He was trying to discover whether wheat, oats, or corn was the best feed for cows. His method was to feed three different groups of cows the three different feeds and see what happened. The wheat-fed cows went blind. The oat-fed cows gave birth to dead calves. Only the corn-fed cows were healthy. • Next McCollum switched to rats. He fed his rats a mixture of protein, carbohydrates, minerals, and fat. Then he made an important discovery: when the source of fat was butter or egg yolk, the rats remained healthy. But when he switched the fat to olive oil, the rats died. Obviously there was something essential in butter and eggs that was not present in olive oil. After much laboratory research, the substance was identified, extracted, and named vitamin A. VITAMIN A • The daily allotment of vitamin A is about .0001 ounce. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat soluble and collect in the body tissues rather than being flushed out. These are the vitamins that can be overdosed. Beef liver contains 60,000 IU of vitamin A in four ounces; polar bear liver, however, is about ten times richer than that.

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4. When was the last time the Detroit Lions beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh—1955, 1. Who was the last Los Angeles 1965, 1975 or 1985? Dodgers pitcher before Josh 5. Former college basketball Beckett in 2014, to toss a nocoach Johnny Orr holds the hitter in which he threw 120 record for most career vicor more pitches? toires at two schools. Name 2. Between 2011 and 2013, the them. men’s British Open had three 6. Which of the following pitchsuccessive champions all 40 years ers had the most career shutold or older. Name 2 of the 3. outs: Bob Gibson, Jim Palmer, 3. Which NFL quarterback finished Gaylord Perry or Nolan Ryan? the 2014 reg.-season with the best 7. Which NFL QB was sacked passer rating and completion %? the most times in 2014?

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VITAMIN D • Vitamin D acts as a catalyst to produce proteins that allow minerals to move through the intestinal membrane and into the cells. Without it, the disease called rickets causes the bones to soften and bend. • The misperception persists that vitamin D is present in sunlight. Actually, vitamin D cannot be formed unless it is activated by ultraviolet light. Therefore, sunlight does not contain vitamin D; it only activates it. Cats and dogs, when they lick their fur, ingest body fat that has been irradiated on their fur. This serves as a source of vitamin D. • One school of thought holds that black skin evolved as protection against sunburn and skin cancer. However, other scientists feel that white skin evolved as a measure to allow enough ultraviolet light to pass through the skin in cold climates where people wear heavy clothing and their exposure to sunlight is limited. VITAMIN E • Vitamin E is necessary for reproduction. Many people have concluded that if a little vitamin E is necessary to reproduce, then a lot of vitamin E should really make you a Casanova. But vitamin E's role in reproduction is merely to prevent miscarriage and has nothing to do with sex or conception. VITAMIN K • Vitamin K comes in cabbage, cauliflower, spinach and pork liver, but the vitamin is also synthesized in the intestinal tract by bacteria, no matter what you eat. Vitamin K is necessary for the liver to synthesize clotting elements that circulate in the blood. Too much vitamin K can damage the liver. Taking oral antibiotics can kill the intestinal bacteria that synthesize vitamin K.


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MOMENTS IN TIME • On Feb. 10, 1763, The Seven Years' War, known as the French and Indian War, ends with the signing of the Treaty of Paris by France, Great Britain and Spain. France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada and various French holdings overseas. • On Feb. 11, 1805, Sacagawea, the Shoshone Indian interpreter and guide to the Lewis and Clark expedition, gives birth to her first child, Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, two months before the trek begins. The baby, nicknamed Pompey, went on the expedition, carried on his mother's back. Clark paid for Pompey's education when the boy grew up. • On Feb. 14, 1842, fans of Charles Dickens organize the Boz Ball, an elite party for the celebrated English writer during his first trip to America. (Dickens' earliest works had been published under the pseudonym Boz.) Only members of New York's aristocracy were invited. • On Feb. 15, 1903, toy-store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop win-

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dow in Brooklyn, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed. • On Feb. 12, 1938, best-selling author Judy Blume, known for her children's books and youngadult novels, including "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" and "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret," is born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Blume's books have been beloved by several generations of readers. • On Feb. 9, 1960, Adolph Coors disappears while driving to work from his Morrison, Colorado, home. The grandson of the Coors' founder and chairman of the Golden, Colorado, brewery was kidnapped and held for ransom before being shot to death. • On Feb. 13, 1991, Sotheby's announces the discovery of a long-lost manuscript of "Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. The manuscript was the first half of Twain's original version, heavily corrected in his handwriting, which had been missing for more than a century. © 2014 King Features Synd., Inc.

VITAMIN B • Vitamin B12 is necessary for the formation of red corpuscles in the blood, for normal growth, and for maintenance of healthy nerve cells. You only need .00000014 ounce of vitamin B12 each day, but a lack of that tiny amount can be fatal. It is impossible to get B12 on a strict vegetarian diet. • Scientists wondered why Hindus, who are strict vegetarians, never suffered from vitamin deficiencies while living in India, but would come down with B12 deficiencies if they emigrated to Britain. It was found that their diet in India inadvertently contained insect parts that became mixed in with the food. But in Britain, where food control laws were stricter, there were fewer microscopic insect fragments in the food. Insects are rich in vitamins, including B12. • Beriberi was a perplexing disease, causing fatigue, then death. In 1894 Christiaan Eijkman began to study it. Certain it was caused by a bacteria or virus, he tried unsuccessfully to infect chickens. One group of chickens received injections of the beriberi bacteria, and another group did not. Suddenly, both groups came down with beriberi. Just as suddenly, both groups recovered. He was mystified. • He spoke with the man who fed them. Back then, brown rice was undesirable, and white rice (which has the hull and the germ polished off) was desirable. Chickens were normally fed undesirable brown rice. But when the supply of brown rice ran out, the chickens received white rice, and they got sick. When more brown rice arrived, they recovered. Eijkman concluded that white rice contains a poison which brown rice neutralizes, not realizing that brown rice contains vitamin B1 (also called thiamine) which wasn't isolated and named until 1926. Bert and Ethel got married Tidbits Laughs yesterday. He's 98 and she's 87. The guests didn't throw confetti; they threw pills. Q: Why does a man twist his wedding ring on his finger? A: He’s trying to figure out the combination.



• "Pellagra" is Italian for "rough skin." It's a disease whose first symptom is irritated skin, and it is eventually fatal if left untreated. • In the early 1900s pellagra was rampant in the deep south, and the Public Health Service hired Joseph Goldberger to find out why. His first discovery was that it was common among prisoners, children in orphanages, and patients in mental institutions. Yet he never found a single doctor, nurse, nun, or prison guard who also had the disease. • Theory held that pellagra was a contagious disease, but Goldberger became convinced that it was tied to the diet. In the Methodist Orphan Asylum in Jackson, Mississippi, one third of the children suffered from pellagra. However, all of the victims were between the ages of 6 and 12. He discovered that only the children between the ages of 1 and 5 were given milk to drink. And only the children over the age of 12 were given much meat. Between the age of 6 and 12, the orphans received no milk and little meat. They survived on grits, mush, and sow belly. And they got pellagra.

• Goldberger convinced the orphanage to change the children's diet, giving them lots of meat, milk, and eggs. Pellagra disappeared. • Wanting to be thorough, Goldberger decided that if he could cure the disease with proper diet, he ought to be able to induce it through faulty diet. At the prison farm near Jackson, he signed up 12 prisoners who were willing to go on a special diet in exchange for a pardon at the end of six months. He fed them biscuits, mush, grits, gravy, syrup, corn bread, rice, coffee and sugar. After a few weeks, the men started showing the signs of pellagra.

NIACIN (continued): • Goldberger went one step further to prove pellagra was not contagious. He collected 16 volunteers, including his wife and himself, who did everything to contract pellagra through injections and secretions and bodily contact with sufferers. No one got the disease.

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• Goldberger spent the rest of his life in the laboratory trying to discover what factor meat, milk, and egg yolks had in common. By 1926, Goldberger established that a small amount of brewer's yeast prevented pellagra, yet he never knew why.

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• It was Conrad Elvehjem who discovered that pellagra is caused by a lack of the B vitamin niacin. He presented his findings in 1937, eight years after Joseph Goldberger's death.

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• Goldberger is remembered as the "unsung hero of American clinical epidemiology." Although he was nominated five times for the Nobel Prize, his discovery proved socially and politically unacceptable, and he made little progress in gaining support for the treating of pellagra during his lifetime. © 2015 King Features Synd., All rights reserved.


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• Pellagra is still found today, especially in third world countries that depend primarily upon corn for their sustenance. Refugees and prisoners receiving inadequate food commonly suffer from it. Alcoholism and drug addiction can also cause pellagra, as can intestinal disorders. Untreated, the disease can kill within four or five years.

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• Besides meat and eggs, niacin is found in avocados, dates, tomatoes, leafy vegetables, broccoli, sweet potatoes, asparagus, nuts, whole grains, and legumes.



• Between 1906 and 1940 more than 3 million Americans were affected by pellagra with more than 100,000 deaths, yet the epidemic resolved itself after authorities decided to add niacin to bread in 1938.


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• French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew were searching for a sea passage across North America in the 1530s when they spent the winter on the St. Lawrence River, where they became icebound. By the middle of February the crew was suffering with scurvy and were so weak they could not move from their beds. 25 out of 110 crew members were dead. • Cartier, who probably had been sneaking food from a secret cache, remained in good health. He was reluctant to have much contact with the local Indians for fear they would attack the boat after seeing how weak the crew was. • Still, while Cartier was out on shore one day, he ran into an Indian named Dom Agaya. Cartier had met up with this man several days earlier and had noted that he also was suffering from the onset of scurvy. Now, however, he was completely cured.

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• At first some of Cartier’s men refused the cure, but when one or two tried it, they immediately began feeling better. The rest of the crew soon rushed to join them, and within eight days they had consumed an entire tree and in so doing had cured themselves. • Still, although Cartier took samples of the tree with him back to France, the knowledge of the cure failed to make the rounds. Ten years later, another French expedition wintering at the same spot on the St. Lawrence seaway lost 50 of their 200 crew to scurvy. SCURVY SCALLYWAGS • In earlier centuries, scurvy was a disease that struck sailors, prisoners, armies, and besieged cities. Victims got progressively weaker and eventually died.



• Dr. L. Forbes Winslow, perhaps best known for his relentless (and fruitless) attempts to identify the person behind London's Jack the Ripper murders, also was a wellknown psychiatrist. Among his many notes on his practice was the report of a heartbroken man who requested that, after his death, his body should be boiled down to extract the fat. That fat would be used to make a candle which, along with a letter from the deceased, would be delivered to the woman who jilted him. He even specified that the items should be delivered at night, so the woman would read the letter by the light of the "corpse candle." • If you were living in the newly christened United States in 1776 and earned $4,000 per year, you would be considered wealthy. * * * Thought for the Day: "I am not young enough to know everything." -- Oscar Wilde


• It was German author and statesman Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who made the following sage observation: "When ideas fail, words come in very handy." • Unless you're a local, you've probably never heard of the town of Rugby, North Dakota, but if you ever set out to find the geographical center of the continent of North America, that's where you'll end up. • In 1936, in the final match of the men's table tennis world championship, the two competitors volleyed for two hours and 12 minutes on the opening serve alone. • Before modern English there was Middle English, used during a time when men of the church were supposed to remain humble. This is why these men were called "ministers" -- it means "lowly person" in Middle English. • Those who study such things say that if you spend an hour listening to the radio, you'll hear approximately 11,000 words.

• Cartier asked him what had cured him, and the Indian showed him how to cut branches and needles from a local tree (probably a cedar tree), boil them in water, and drink the tea.


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SCURVY SCALLYWAGS (continued): • In 1737 an Austrian doctor named Kramer noticed that army soldiers often got scurvy— but the officers (who ate better food) never Answer: did. HeDell. was the first person to make the conA VERY diet LARGE NUMBER nection between and disease. Edward Kasner was a mathematician. 1938 • • Soon after, a Scottish doctor namedIn Lind he was asked to come up with a name for a proved that citrus fruits would prevent scurvy. very large number: the numeral one, followed • Captain Cook was impressed took by a hundred zeros.soHe asked histhat twoheyoung limes on his round-the-world voyage, and nephews what name they would suggest. lost one sailor to the disease. However, the • only Nine-year-old Milton suggested a name British army remained unconvinced and didn’t out of the funnies. A cartoon strip character start following for another 40 years. named Barney the wasadvice very popular. Milton chose Barney’s last name for the number. • In 1794 the British Admiralty finally decided • to Kasner announced the new name for the big try citrus as a preventative for scurvy. They number in his next book, altering spelling. sent an English squadron out withthe a full sup• ply Sixty later, Larrythe Page andtouched Sergey port Brin of years lemons. When ships a new internet engine. Other atdeveloped Madras 23 weeks later,search only one crewman search engines each webpage and had come downsearched with scurvy— and he had ranked them according to how many times traded his daily lemon juice ration for anothera specificrum. term appeared on them, but Page and sailor's Brin designed their search engine to search for • After it was discovered thatfind citrus the specific term and then outfruits how could many cure everythat Spanish sailor for linksscurvy, there were led back to bound that page, which resultedwas in a better search engine. the Americas supplied with 100 seeds young seedlings planted the new • or They decided theyto be needed a in name that land. Today's Florida beganthe withsearch trees reflected how manygroves websites engine in was1513 searching. They took the name planted by Ponce de Leon. By 1800 of Edward Kasner’s very large number, only scurvy was wiped out. they misspelled it slightly, so it ended up being • Because limes, spelled lemons exactly were the commonly same way called the cartoon English known as characterseaman Barneyeventually spelled hisbecame last name. What’s "limeys." it called? (Answer at bottom of page) • Without vitamin C, the body cannot syntheCOMPUTER FACTS size collagen, which is the adhesive protein • In 1981 Bill Gates said, “640 kb of memory substance holdsforcells together. Without ought to bethat enough anybody.” collagen, wounds cannot heal, oldperformance scars may • Moore’s Law states that computer open, and gums The victim becomes doubles every 18 torot. 24 months, and ever since cranky, apathetic, and dizzy. Joints and mus1971, this has been true. bonesand grow brittle, • cles HP, become Google, sore, Microsoft, Apple werelegs all swell, and bruises appear as tiny blood vesstarted in garages. sels rupture. Death occurs when the brain, the Answer: Google, from googol. lungs, or the digestive tract rupture.



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