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Goldberger, Joseph (1874–1929)

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Joseph Goldberger was the medical detective and pathbreaking epidemiologist in the U.S. Marine Hospital Service (later the U.S. Public Health Service [PHS]) responsible for discovering that pellagra was a nutritional disease. Goldberger's research and controversial experimentation revealed that pellagra could be cured and prevented by eating a balanced diet rich in animal protein or augmenting the diet with brewer's yeast. Later research following Goldberger's death revealed that insufficient nicotinic acid or niacin in the diet caused pellagra.

Born in Giralt, Hungary, on July 16, 1874, Goldberger emigrated to the United States with his parents and three older siblings in 1883 after a plague wiped out the herd of sheep on which the family depended for its living. Among the millions of Jewish immigrants to arrive in ...

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