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April 8, 1974

Proteins in Human Nutrition

Author Affiliations

Mayo Graduate School of Medicine Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1974;228(2):213-214. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230270057036

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Protein malnutrition is more an economic problem than a medical one, more a matter of food distribution than of production, more linked to the slowness of land reform than to the introduction of sophisticated technology. Present scientific knowledge is already capable of eliminating protein deficiency in most underdeveloped countries. The crucial problem is to overcome the formidable obstacles that impede the proper use of this knowledge... not to elaborate still more refined techniques.

So begins this excellent international symposium. Ironically, the remaining 44 discussants devote most of their words to the problems of technique. Perhaps this is inevitable. After all, the biologist, the biochemist, the agricultural scientist, and the physician are neither economists nor politicians. The scientist can prepare the tools for solving some of society's problems, but, in the final analysis, political and economic forces determine if and how these tools will be used.

The "tools" are amply demonstrated