FOREWORD by Linus Pauling to 'Every Second Child' by Dr Kalokerinos

THIS book presents the engrossing account of the attack, in large part ultimately successful, made by Dr. Archie Kalokerinos on the problem of the very high death rate of Aboriginal children in the part of New South Wales in which he was working. After he had recognized the problem and had rejected the usual explanations of the high death rate of the Aboriginal infants, he was led finally to the conclusion that the infants were suffering from scurvy, a deficiency of vitamin C. This discovery was at first re­jected by the authorities, and by most of his fellow physicians; but the weight of the evidence has finally led to acceptance of his views.

Through his work Dr. Kalokerinos has made a great contribution to the health and welfare not only of the Australian Aborigines but also of people everywhere in the world.

The idea that there might be a rather general deficiency in vitamin C was developed slowly during the twenty years from about 1949. In that year G. B. Bourne pointed out that the gorilla, which like man requires vitamin C in his food in order to keep alive, obtains in his daily supply of food a very large amount of vitamin C, about 5,000 milligrams, 100 times the amount usually recommended for human beings. In 1965 the American biochemist Irwin Stone presented several arguments to support the thesis that the optimum intake of vitamin C, the intake that leads to the best of health, probably for most people lies be­tween 1,000 and 5,000 milligrams per day. One argument leading to this conclusion is that most animals manufacture vitamin C in their own bodies, and the amount manufactured corresponds to an intake by man of between 4,000 and 16,000 milligrams per day. It is interesting also that the Committee on Human Foods and Nutrition of the United States Academy of Sciences-National Research Council recommends only 60 milligrams per day for human beings, whereas the Committee on Feeding of Laboratory Animals, also a committee of the United States National Academy of Sciences-National Research Council, recommends 2,000 milligrams per day for monkeys. It is likely that the second committee has more reliable experimental information to support its recommendation than the first commit­tee, because it is possible to carry out controlled experiments on monkeys more easily than on human beings.

In the period between 1942 and 1961 several investigations were reported in which it was found that people receiving 200 milligrams to 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per day had fewer colds than people who were given an inactive tablet. During the last three years six more studies have been made of people who receive either vitamin C or an inactive tablet over a period of weeks or months, and they were observed to see whether the incidence and sever­ity of colds were affected. It was found in every one of these investigations that an added intake of vitamin C leads to a decrease in the number of colds and also to a decrease in the amount of illness caused by colds. Moreover, it has been found that there is a decrease in the incidence of non-respiratory diseases, as well. We may conclude from these studies that an improvement in health may in general be expected to result from an increased intake of vitamin C.

The problem of obtaining a suitable amount of vitamin C is, of course, a far more serious one for the Australian Aborigines than for other people. I believe that the conclusion reached by Dr. Kalokerinos that the high infant mortality and generally high incidence of disease among the Aboriginal infants are to be attributed in considerable part to a low body content of vitamin C is correct. Moreover, it seems to be not unlikely that the Australian Aborigines have a special immunological problem, as described by Dr. Kalokerinos, and that in addition the deficiency in vitamin C is exacerbated by immunizations and inoculations, since it is known that immunization and inoculation lead to destruction of vitamin C. Dr. Kalokerinos deserves much credit for having made these discoveries.