Severe infantile malnutrition has received many names, such as infantile atrophy, marasmus, atrophy, athrepsia and decomposition. It does not represent a definite disease entity nor is there any clear description of exactly what the condition is. It is found in all degrees of severity and it is often difficult to state just when it commences. It is usually associated with symptoms of indigestion, either vomiting or diarrhea, or both, and a loss in weight. Some infection, such as pyelitis or bronchitis often complicates the condition. When most pronounced, the infant is very much wasted, the skin hangs in folds and is of a gray pallor, the hands and feet tend to be cold, and toward the end the temperature becomes subnormal and has to be maintained by external heat. Metabolism experiments show that the infant is frequently unable to absorb the food given him. There is no common pathologic basis
TALBOT FB. SEVERE INFANTILE MALNUTRITION: THE ENERGY METABOLISM WITH THE REPORT OF A NEW SERIES OF CASES. Am J Dis Child. 1921;22(4):358–370. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1921.04120040033003
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