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May 1949

Fatty Liver Disease in Infants in the British West Indies. Medical Research Council, Special Report Series 263.

Am J Dis Child. 1949;77(5):691-692. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1949.02030040705021

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This monograph is a study of a syndrome observed in infants in the British West Indies. The main features seen were edema, muscular wasting and fatty infiltration of the liver. Additional symptoms characteristic of so-called infantile pellagra were never severe and often absent. The disease differed in this respect from a condition known as kwashiorkor met in West Africa, which, it is suggested, is the same disease complicated by various avitaminoses.

Fatty liver disease is characterized by the presence of fatty infiltration of the liver, high mortality and resistance to treatment by ordinary dietary measures. Accurate data are not available, but, on the basis of this study, the author suggests that a diet consisting mainly of carbohydrate with little milk is the main cause of the syndrome. Infants studied revealed on their admission to the hospital a weight below normal, gross muscular wasting but only incomplete loss of subcutaneous fat,

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