Real anomalies of metabolism have long engaged the interest of students of medicine. The number of these eccentricities, so to speak, in the chemical transformations staged in the living organism has seemingly increased with the greater attention that is being devoted to biochemistry in its relation to the clinic. Cystinuria, alkaptonuria and pentosuria furnish striking illustration of disordered metabolic performances in the body. In no instance has the cause of the aberration been discovered. Usually the manifestations are so inconsequential to the well being of the person involved that the anomaly is discovered through the chance of chemical examinations of the urine for some unrelated reason.
Until quite recently, scientific literature contained accounts of perhaps fifty persons who had been accustomed to excrete pentose in the urine regardless of the nature of their diet. Fischer and Reiner3 of the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York have recently asserted that,