Etiology - Medicine

Medicine

In medicine, etiology refers to the many factors coming together to cause an illness. It is normally the focus of epidemiological studies. The etiology of scurvy is a good example. With scurvy, sailors going to sea often lacked fresh vegetables. Without knowing the precise cause, Captain James Cook suspected scurvy was caused by the lack of vegetables in the diet. Based on his suspicion, he forced his crew to eat sauerkraut, a cabbage preparation, every day, but he had no idea, precisely, why it prevented scurvy. It was only about two centuries later - in 1926 that it was discovered that it was the lack of vitamin C in a sailor's diet that was the base cause of scurvy.

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