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August 7, 1954


JAMA. 1954;155(15):1307-1313. doi:10.1001/jama.1954.03690330011004

The tendency of severe states of nutritional deficiency to alter the function of various endocrine glands has been observed in both human beings and experimental animals. The similarity of the clinical picture produced by extreme degrees of malnutrition to that following destruction of the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland continues to be a source of confusion and error in the differentiation between these two conditions. Escamilla and Lisser,1 in their review of 595 cases of possible hypopituitary cachexia (Simmonds' disease), have commented on the frequency with which this syndrome has been mistaken for anorexia nervosa, and various laboratory tests or groups of tests have been recommended by many authors to facilitate the differential diagnosis. In order to evaluate the efficacy of such studies, an endocrine survey was performed on five selected patients with unusually severe starvation states, four of whom were comparatively young adults, and the results of