The widespread clinical application of vitamin B1 therapy has been stimulated by the availability of the crystalline substance. Estimates as to dosage and duration of therapy have had to be approximated on the basis of gross clinical changes. The use of this vitamin as a therapeutic test in various confusing syndromes has been expensive to both patient and physician. Furthermore, the negative response to vitamin B1 in many of these syndromes may discourage its use where it is really indicated.
If a test were available by means of which one could estimate the state of nutrition in a person with respect to vitamin B1 rapidly and inexpensively, then the clinical application could be placed on a more rational basis.
The methods available up to recently have been long and cumbersome. Schultz, Atkins and Frey developed a method which is comparatively simple and lends itself to clinical investigations.