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August 1914


Am J Dis Child. 1914;VIII(2):163-177. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1914.04300010169011

During the last twenty years there has been much change in the interpretation of symptoms occurring in the digestive diseases of babies. The older physicians regarded acute and chronic gastrointestinal disorders as being always due to diseases of the stomach and intestines. Fermentation dyspepsia, fermentation catarrh, gastroenteritis, cholera infantum, dysentery, ileocolitis. These were compared with similar conditions in adults, allowance being made for the slighter resistance in babies which favored a severe course of the disease.

Widerhofer made a classification on anatomic grounds, dividing the various symptom-complexes into:

  1. Purely functional.

  2. Catarrhal.

  3. Ulcerative-inflammatory lesions of the intestines.

These were clinically distinguished by the character of the stools and by the constitutional symptoms; thus, he speaks of acute and chronic dyspepsia, enterocolitis and enteritis with inflammatory lesions in the large intestine. A fourth form was the murderous cholera infantum.

This description is most valuable. Yet there were many intermediate

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