Sunday, April 1, 2012

Edited roughly for formatting...

From the Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1948




Iodine Deficiency Disease

To the Editor:

The article by Dr. W. N. Kemp, on "Iodine Deficiency

Disease"'in the Journal, October, 1947, is

most interesting.  

May I add thereto several observations made
on the problem of iodine deficiency in both

animals and humans. 
My observations of animals were
made in the Saskatchewan River basin, that is

the upper reaches of the old glacial Lake Agassiz.

My observation of the humans was made in Winnipeg

and in the Japanese Prison Camp at Angler, Ontario,

both fresh water areas, the former again in the

Agassiz Lake bottom.

Animal conditions in the Saskatchewan

River area in 1922 were as outlined by Dr. Kemp, in other Continental areas.
By 1927 the farmer had learned his

lesson the hard way and was rearing young stock to

supply his markets and power needs. I observed at

this time, that breeding stock on minute quantities

of iodide remained fatter and more well favoured than

stock which was not on iodides. Consequently in a

herd in which I was interested, I made iodides routine

in their care. It was noted that injuries such as

barbed wire cuts and collar galls on horses healed

more readily.

Of particular interest was the difference in effect

on cattle, sheep, hogs and horses of an iodine free

diet. Cattle and sheep were born with goitres, hogs

were born hairless and colts died in their first three

years, usually in their first six months of a condition

known as Joint and Navel Disease. This condition in

horses was to all appearances due to an organism said

to enter through the cord of the new born foal. This

idea may have had some foundation as the occasional

foal dropped on clean pasture survived.

In this same area the years 1939-41 proved to be encephalomyelitis years. 
My herd of horses seemed to have an immunity

for not until 1941 did the disease hit. Then a six

month old colt went down with it and to our surprise

recovered with a minimum of care and no medication.

The same summer a survey of the area proved no cases

of encephalomyelitis in horses on iodine routine.

I have since learned that the late R. A. McLoughry,

V.S.,of MacGregor, Man., was using iodine therapy in

his treatment of encephalomyelitis during the epidemic

years with some degree of success. His reports were

unfortunately not published due to his death.

A recent article published in the American Veterinary

Medical Journal of August, 1946, by R. D. Radeliff, V.S.

entitled "Sodium Iodine Therapy in Infectious Equine

Encephalomyelitis" reports that in his practice in

Texas he reduced the mortality rate among horses from

40 to 10% with no "dummies". He uses sodium iodide

intravenously,while Dr. R. A. McLoughry used potassium


Observations made at Angler, Ont. on Japanese P.O.W.'s and guards alike were made following the introduction of potassium iodide to their drinking water in amounts calculated to double the amount available in iodized salt. I may here add that in my opinion

iodized salt is readily depleted of its iodine when left

in storage. Notations made here were, a general increasein

body weight and a remarkable absence of skin infections

in spite of the Japanese practice of burning the

skin with numerous mounds of leaf pith, as a counter


It was also noted by the dental officer that

upper respiratory infections in this camp were practically

nil, while he averaged three patients a day with upper

respiratory infections in a camp of German P.O.W. 's

who were living under identical conditions but without

additional iodides.

During the five months of observations

we had three cases of influenza in the Angler Camp.

Observations made in Winnipeg showed that in 8

cases of mastoid involvement, in one month in the

Winnipeg General Hospital, none had used iodized salt

in the home; and secondly of 18 cases of polio in 1942

9 families did not use iodized salt, 5 did and 4 were

uncertain about salt used.

It is evident that because of the minute quantity of

iodine employed in cases cited that its medical value is

nil. It is my theory therefore that in some way the

iodine ion acts as a catalyst upon the normal defence

mechanism of the body, to increase the phagocytic

properties of the leukocytes or to act as an opsonin. It

is of interest to note that Dr. R. D. Radeliff in his article

came to a similar conclusion.


1. Minute quantities of iodine in the diet of pregnant

dams prevent goitre in lambs and calves, hairlessness

in new born pigs and joint and navel disease, apparently

a septicemic condition in colts.

2.Minute quantities of iodine in the diet of humans

prevent stillbirth, adds weight, promotes wound healing and

prevents skin infections.

3.Intravenous iodine will reduce the mortality rate

in encephalomyelitis in horses and in the diet appears

to prevent the same disease.

4. Iodized salt when long in storage is depleted of

its iodine content.

5. Iodine ions in the body act as a catalyst upon the

normal defence mechanisms.

6. Further experimental observations should prove of




1. Canad. AI. A. J., 57: October, 1947.

2. Am.Veterinary M. J., August, 1946.

615 Medical Arts Bldg.,


Is there a role for Iodine in Breast Diseases?

Thank you to Dr. Venturi for permission to post his work here!