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September 1967

Isolated Lactase Deficiency: Correlation of Laboratory Studies and Clinical Data

Author Affiliations

Oklahoma City; Lackland Air Force Base, Tex; Omaha

From the Department of Medicine, University of Oklahoma Medical Center, Oklahoma City (Drs. Welsh and Rohrer); the Department of Medicine, Wilford Hall USAF Hospital, Aerospace Medical Division (AFSC), Lackland Air Force Base, Tex (Dr. Knudsen); and the Department of Medicine, University of Nebraska College of Medicine, Omaha (Dr. Paustian).

Arch Intern Med. 1967;120(3):261-269. doi:10.1001/archinte.1967.00300030003003

Several studies concerning isolated lactase deficiency have appeared recently.1-9 Agreement has not been reached, however, concerning the interpretation of human intestinal disaccharidase activity 10 and the lactose tolerance test.11,12 Previous studies from our laboratory reported early experience with oral tolerance tests using different amounts of lactose13 and described seven individuals with isolated lactase deficiency.14,15 Through a cooperative study involving three medical centers, we have now accumulated data on 47 individuals with this defect. The current report compares the findings in these persons with those in a group of subjects with normal lactase activity and presents our concept of the significance of an isolated lactase deficiency based on these results.

Material and Methods  The studies were done on 170 individuals. There were 109 males, 61 females, 145 whites, 22 Negroes, and three American Indians. The patients ranged in age from 3 to 80 years with only three