Of mice and literature.

Author:Taft, Chloe
Position:WORKS IN PROGRESS - Brief article

Trapped for six weeks on a square-rigger recreating a historic voyage between Australia and Indonesia, Jonathan Lamb subsisted on salt meat and hardtack. It was enough to persuade him to learn more about scurvy. The disease, common to naval voyages until the last century, is caused by vitamin C deficiency. In addition to symptoms such as fatigue and inflammation, victims often experience delusions, fits of passion, intense nostalgia, and heightened sensitivity to light, touch, and sound.

Lamb, a humanities professor at Vanderbilt University, says Enlightenment efforts to understand scurvy challenged basic understanding of scientific experimentation, because the disease blurs boundaries between body and mind. He is breaking boundaries between the humanities and the hard sciences by collaborating with Vanderbilt neurologists, whose experiments with mice seek a neurological explanation for...

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