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October 1964

Geophagia With Iron Deficiency And HypokalemiaCachexia Africana

Author Affiliations


Arch Intern Med. 1964;114(4):470-474. doi:10.1001/archinte.1964.03860100052002

Introduction  Occasionally a patient with a peculiar syndrome comes to our attention who evokes a great deal of interest and speculation. Frequently, the problem remains "one of a kind" and is relegated to The Archives of I Once Saw.... Sometimes similarities between its features and those described many years ago are recalled. During the course of an investigation of the nutritional and hematologic effects of clay and starch ingestion (pica, geophagia), such a patient came to our attention. The similarities between her illness and the clinical picture described over 100 years ago by Cragin and Carpenter as cachexia africana were striking.1,2 Although geophagia is still prevalent today, particularly in pregnant Negro women, the severe illness produced in our patient by the ingestion of large quantities of clay over a prolonged period of time is extremely rare. It is the purpose of this report to (1) describe the clinical features

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