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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions


Scurvy: The Disease of Discovery

by Jonathan Lamb,
Psychology Today, December 15, 2016

The cause of about two million deaths in navies and merchant marines, scurvy was the premier occupational disease on the high seas between 1500 and 1800. The physical symptoms of scurvy included swollen gums, aching joints and limbs, and a bilious gout. Victims also experienced a hubbub of the brain that activated the imagination, produced morbidly acute sensations (depression, nostalgia and homesickness) and rendered fragrances disgusting, light blinding, and music deafening.


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