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September 1955


Author Affiliations

Lancaster, Pa.
From the Research Institute, St. Joseph's Hospital.

AMA Am J Dis Child. 1955;90(3):344-348. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1955.04030010346014

IN JANUARY, 1954, a new syndrome of abnormal central nervous system activity in young infants was reported.* This consisted of increased irritability, gastrointestinal distress, aggravated startle response, and convulsive seizures. The symptoms were shown to respond to pyridoxine therapy with both clinical and electroencephalographic improvement. These observations confirmed earlier ones by Snyderman, Carretero, and Holt and established the importance of vitamin B6 in infant nutrition.† It is significant to note that the conditions surrounding the appearance of these symptoms were such as to have produced borderline deficiencies of the vitamin rather than complete avitaminosis. This circumstance has provided a unique opportunity for evaluating the effects of suboptimal tissue levels of this substance during a particularly susceptible stage of human development. Furthermore, these findings have prompted an extensive evaluation of vitamin B6 in milk preparations used in infant feedings. These two aspects of the problem will be considered in