The physician is rather frequently confronted with a type of infant, who, because of some nutritional disturbance, either fails to gain in weight, or the gain is so slight as to be almost negligible.
This condition of insufficient nutrition is sometimes called athrepsia. The condition is prevalent in hospitals or institutions where many babies are housed. However, it is not uncommon in private practice and among the well-to-do. Its occurrence is much more frequent in the artificially fed infant, although it may be encountered occasionally in the breast fed.
One member of this class of infants will take its food well, does not vomit and there is no indication of digestive disturbance. The food may be of sufficient caloric value. Another member of this class of cases, will tolerate only a certain amount of food. In feeding these infants, one has to be extremely careful not to overtax this food
CLARKE FS, DOW A. RESULTS OF SOME EXPERIMENTAL WORK WITH SODIUM CACODYLATE ON ATHREPTIC INFANTS. Am J Dis Child. 1920;19(4):260-262. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1920.01910220012002