Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thursday Night

So another workday, I'm still feeling sick due to the weather change and an infection that just hangs around like an unwanted curr. Nothing that exciting happened today. Here is another piece of the sheet music I just acquired. This is a rare one and if you aren't familiar with "jake" , here's an article about it... ...and an excerpt from that article after the photo...

Early in the year 1930, newspapers in the American South and Midwest began to report on a strange new paralytic illness that was affecting relatively large numbers of individuals. Victims of the disease would typically notice numbness in the legs, followed by weakness and eventual paralysis with "foot drop." In most cases, this was followed within about a week by a similar process in the arms, resulting in many cases in "wrist drop." The disease was rarely fatal, but recovery was very slow and in many cases the damage to the nervous system left the patient with permanent disabilities.

Although the affliction resembled other neurological problems, such as Landry's disease and anterior poliomyelitis, the symptoms did not conform exactly to any known condition. The number of cases of this mysterious ailment reached epidemic proportions over the course of 1930 and 1931, eventually affecting an estimated tens of thousands of individuals in many states, from New York to California.(1)

It did not take long after the first appearance of the illness to link it to the consumption of fluid extract of Jamaica ginger, commonly referred to as "Jake" by many who used the product. This paper examines the ginger extract toxicity episode of the early 1930s, with particular emphasis on the role of pharmacologist Maurice Smith of the National Institute (now Institutes) of Health in solving the mystery of the poisoning.

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