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Scurvy and Vitamin C

Stark, William. The Works of the Late William Stark, M.D., Consisting of Clinical and Anatomical Observations with Experiments, Dietetical and Statical... London: Printed for J. Johnson, 1788.

William Stark (1741?-1770), born in England of Scottish parentage, studied medicine at Edinburgh and London, and obtained his medical degree at Leyden in 1769. He returned to London and undertook dietary studies upon himself-----a healthy, six-foot young man. In this book there is the careful description of Stark's twenty-four dietary experiments which culminated in his death after seven months. He recorded temperature and weather condiitons, exact weight of food and water he consumed, the weight of all daily excretions, and the way he felt. In the first experiment the diet was bread and water (thirty-one days). In succeeding experiments he used bread and water and added other foods one at a time: olive oil, milk, roast goose, boiled beef, fat, figs, veal. He recorded that after the first two months the gums of both jaws were red and swollen and bled when pressed. This was undoubtedly scurvy and contributed to his early death at age twenty-nine. His experiments were published by James Carmichael Smyth eighteen years later.