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General atrophy that is associated with, and apparently stands in direct relation to, a greater or lesser degree of preceding intestinal disturbances occupies a position of profound importance in the pathology of infancy. Marasmus is, indeed, so common and often so intractable that the laity are almost as familiar with its general features as are physicians. Much less commonly, but still occasionally, a condition that is, in its chief clinical features, apparently the same as the atrophy of infancy, appears in early childhood. In later life, typical cases of this kind are rare; there are, however, very many instances of serious disturbance of general nutrition that seem to bear a direct relation to intestinal trouble, but are too pronounced in their general features to be satisfactorily explained by the mere loss of nutriment that occurs through lack of digestion and absorption—for these patients may still be absorbing an amount sufficient
EDSALL DL. OBSERVATIONS RELATING TO THE NATURE OF ATROPHY OF INTESTINAL ORIGIN.. JAMA. 1907;XLVIII(18):1469-1476. doi:10.1001/jama.1907.25220440001001