It was with great interest that I read your article on vitamins C, D, and E in the July/August BCMJ. I agree with your conclusions. However, the saga regarding D and E began over 60 years ago. I was a junior intern at Victoria Hospital in London, Ontario, in 1947 when the London Free Press came out with headlines proclaiming the benefit of E in coronary artery disease as espoused by Evan Shute and Art Vogelsang. Our Department of Medicine decided to look into this and began a clinical trial on two wards. The advice from Dr Shute was to discontinue digitalis and start E in his prescribed manner on the selected cardiac patients. The trial was short-lived as most of the patients’ clinical status worsened. Regardless, the Shute Institute was established for the treatment of cardiac and other entities later in the 1940s and still exists.
Vitamin D in megadoses was used for a time in the 1940s in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (see Hollander’s textbook on arthritis, 1949 or later editions). The product was called “Ertron.” I believe it was abandoned when it was found to cause extraneous calcification more seriously in the kidneys.
It is fascinating how history repeats itself.
—Charles Y. Brown, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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