The causes and cures of scurvy. How modern was James Lind’s methodology?

Erik Weber, Leen De Vreese



The Scottish physician James Lind is the most celebrated name in the history of research into the causes and cures of scurvy. This is due to the famous experiment he conducted in 1747 on H.M.S. Salisbury in order to compare the efficiency of six popular treatments for scurvy. This experiment is generally regarded as the first controlled trial in clinical science (see e.g. Carpenter 1986, p. 52).

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Carpenter, K.J. (1986), The History of Scurvy and Vitamin C. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Corruble, V., and J.-G. Ganascia (1997), “Induction and the Discovery of the Causes of Scurvy”, Artificial Intelligence 91, 205–223.

Dupré, J. (1993), The Disorder of Things. Cambridge and London: Harvard University Press.

Giere, R. (1997), Understanding Scientific Reasoning (4 th edition). Fort Worth: Harcourt College Publishers.

Mahé J. (1880), “Le Scorbut”, in Dictionnaire Encyclopédique des Sciences Médicales. Série 3. Tome 8.

Paris: Masson, pp. 35–257.

Stewart, C.P., and D. Guthrie (eds.) (1953), Lind’s Treatise on Scurvy. A Bicentenary Volume Containing a Reprint of the First Edition of “A Treatise of the Scurvy” by James Lind. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

ISSN: 1425-3305 (print version)

ISSN: 2300-9802 (electronic version)

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