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November 1952

Kwashiorkor in Africa.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1952;90(5):727. doi:10.1001/archinte.1952.00240110153018

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This monograph, sponsored by the World Health Organization with the cooperation of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is a significant contribution to knowledge of kwashiorkor, an important nutritional disorder of unknown causation prevalent in tropical and subtropical countries. Findings were gleaned from a survey in 10 areas of Central Africa, from the world literature, and from the experiences of one of the authors in South Africa. Essential features of the kwashiorkor syndrome among indigenous Africans are summarized as follows: (a) retarded growth in the late breast-feeding, weaning, and postweaning ages, (b) alterations in skin and hair pigmentation, (c) edema, (d) fatty infiltration, cellular necrosis or fibrosis of the liver, and (e) a heavy mortality in the absence of proper dietary treatment. Dermatosis was commonly present; gastrointestinal disorders, mental apathy, anemia, and atrophy of the acini of the pancreas often occurred. The characteristic clinical findings are well depicted in

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