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Trials and Research, Codes and Principles of Research, Consent


The discoveries that modern technologies have facilitated in the field of medicine have helped to evolve the ways and means of preventing and curing many diseases, which in turn has brought down the death rate in recent years. Inventions in medical science have paved the way for the permanent eradication of certain deadly diseases. It is in the interest of society that inventions and discoveries in this field be recognized, respected, and rewarded. “Millions of Oriental medicine treatments have been delivered. Patients have benefited and moved to new levels of health and wellness”.

Beriberi, an endemic with fatal consequences, has remained a major challenge to the countries in Eastern and Southern Asia. Scientists have been groping in darkness, without any hint as to what the causes of this ailment were. Thus the medical fraternity, unable to deal with the issue, has remained bogged down in a melee of differing opinions and endless debates. It is in this backdrop that Dr. Carpenter made some findings that beriberi is a deficiency disease resulting from the lack of thiamine and Vitamin. B. Thiamine acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of carbohydrates. In its absence or shortage, pyruvic acid and lactic acid get accumulate in the body and cause damage to nerves and the heart. This finding by Dr. Carpenter is the starting point from where further research and other studies have taken place, helping medical science to come up with an effective remedy in curing the disease. “Beriberi can cause heart failure and paralysis when left untreated. Happily, it is easy to add thiamine to the diet. Consumption of fresh vegetables and fruit, legumes, and meat will all help to keep the disorder from developing. Vegetarians or vegans can easily add thiamine to their diets by eating brown rice”. In order to prevent this disease, people must inculcate the habit of eating a balanced diet which shall include all the necessary vitamins. “Beriberi could be treated by reversing the deficiency in the diet but this could not be easily achieved in POW Camps. The disease is fatal if not treated and the longer the deficiency exists the sicker the person becomes.” It is a standard and appropriate practice that whenever an individual makes a new invention, especially in the field of medicine, and when it offers the cure for a fatal disease, it benefits not just a community but the entire humanity. Intellectual exploration and resultant innovation produces higher awareness of procedures and make their realistic application easier. Under such circumstances, the person’s sparkle of brilliance has to be appreciated and complete and open recognition of the finding must follow as a reward. The recognition must act as a means of motivating young people into the field of inventions and research. The world at large has an obligation to consider the fact that a scientist who pursues research has to make a lot of sacrifices, including the neglect of personal comforts and family commitments.

Codes & principles provide

Moral understandings and actions to the research and also offer awareness about the subject. ”The first, second and fifth principle of ethical practice of public health says, Public health should address principally the fundamental causes of disease and requirements for health, aiming to prevent adverse health outcomes, it should achieve community health in a way that respects the rights of individuals in the community and it should seek the information needed to implement effective policies and programs that protect and promote health”

Trials & treatment

Beriberi is deceases caused because of lack of vitamin B. The main signs of this disease are feeling weak, senselessness in feet, inflammation in the low part of the body, and sometimes in serious cases it may cause heart failure and the patient may die. Treatment for the Beriberi disease are follows. “Oral thiamine, Thiamine injections, Vitamin B1 – possibly used for related vitamin B1 deficiency, Vitamin B1”.

Different forms of the disease (children and fetus)

Beriberi is caused in infants who are breastfed by mothers who suffer from a deficiency of thiamine. The fetus of pregnant women who suffer from deficiency of thiamine may be affected by this disease. “It used to be a major contributor to mortality, especially in infants — a third of the workers in one Malaysian mine in just two years, 10% of all births in Manila around 1915, and so forth”. Cerebral beriberi is a kind o this disease found in people who are severe alcoholics. This disease mainly affects the brain and the spinal cord which may cause alcoholic splurge or constant vomiting. “Beriberi puzzled medical experts for years as it ravaged people of all ages in Asia. Doctors thought it was caused by something in the food. In adults, there are different forms of beriberi, classified according to the body systems most affected. Dry beriberi involves the nervous system; wet beriberi affects the heart and circulation. Both types usually occur in the same patient, with one set of symptoms predominating”.

Moral conduct in doing research says that assurance must be given regarding value for the rights of other individuals who are affected by the research in any manner. Especially in the case of human beings bodily and private sovereignty must be esteemed. Completely knowledgeable consent should be taken from every person. “Where participants are not in a position to give informed consent (for example, children or mentally incapacitated adults), the researcher should seek advice from the Research Office early in the process of planning the project, as formal legal clearance is likely to be required”. Embryonic & stem cell research has been abolished in many countries. But it has not been abolished in the United Kingdom. “Research on embryos and stem cells has the potential to produce many major medical discoveries. Cures may be found for previously untreatable diseases and disorders”.


In today’s world, beriberi is not a common disease like in the earlier days. It was only because of the discoveries made in this field that this disease has been eradicated to a larger extent. ”Beriberi was endemic in some areas of the world and may be related to the consumption of milled rice. The process removes the outer crust that contains the vitamin, and in Indonesia especially, the condition is very common although the World Health Organization claims considerable improvement in the area”.


Allen, M, ‘The importance of research’, Acupuncture Today, vol. 1, no. 9, 2000, Web.

Beriberi, Medical, and research, n.d., 2010, Web. 

‘Beriberi’, Patient plus, patient UK, 2010, Web.

Code of practice on research ethic, Gold Smiths Collage University of London, London, 2005, pp.1-4, Web.

Kaminsky, A, What causes beriberi?, Wise Geek, 2010, Web.

Karen, E, Medical encyclopedia: Beriberi, Answer.Com, 2010. Web.

Kenneth, JC, Beriberi, white rice, and vitamin B: A disease, a cause, and a cure, University of California Press, 2004, Web.

Principle of ethical practice of public health, Public Health Leadership Society, Vol. 2, no.2, 2002, pp.1-16. Web.

Treatment for beriberi, WP, 2010, Web.


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