Edward Mellanby life and biography

Edward Mellanby picture, image, poster

Edward Mellanby biography

Date of birth : 1884-04-08
Date of death : 1955-01-30
Birthplace : West Hartlepool, England
Nationality : English
Category : Science and Technology
Last modified : 2011-12-19
Credited as : scientist, discovered vitamin D, the Central Drug Research Institute

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British physician, pharmacologist, and scientist Edward Mellanby conducted research that established the role of vitamin D deficiency in rickets, though Vitamin D had not yet been discovered.

He was teaching at King's College for Women in London when he began his study of the disease, a childhood malady characterized by softening of the bones. By 1919, his work had shown that dogs developed rickets if kept indoors and fed a restricted diet, but recovered quickly if cod liver oil was added to their diet. He concluded that a dietary element, a fat-soluble factor, was the key to preventing and curing rickets.

Later research showed that the mystery element in Mellanby's experiment was Vitamin D, which can be absorbed through diet or from sunlight (which the dogs had been denied).

In other research, he showed that Vitamin A influences the development of bones, and established that agenized bread can cause of hysteria in dogs.

His wife, physiologist May Mellanby, conducted research that helped establish how decaying or broken teeth are "remineralized" and restrengthened, if sufficient nutrients are present in the patient's diet. Mellanby served as Secretary of the UK's Medical Research Council, and remained active in research even after his retirement in 1949.

In 1951 he helped establish the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India, where he served as the Institute's first Director. After a second retirement, he died in his London laboratory in 1955.


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