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October 1962

Metabolic Defects Associated with Mental Retardation

Author Affiliations

Henry K. Silver, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Medical Center, Denver 20, Colo.; Senior assistant resident in Pediatrics.; From the Department of Pediatrics, University of Colorado Medical Center.

Am J Dis Child. 1962;104(4):401-418. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1962.02080030403014

Mental retardation produces untold disability with resultant economic uselessness and human misery. With the possible exception of mental illness, mental retardation is the most significant handicap of our society. Of the approximately 4,200,000 children born annually in the United States, 3%, or 126,000, will never achieve the intellect of a 12-year-old child; 0.3%, or 12,600, will remain below the 7-year intellectual level, and 0.1%, or 4,200, will spend their lives as completely helpless individuals with intellectual development in the imbecile range and will be unable to care for their own basic needs.7

The problem of mental retardation has always been with us, but several factors have recently served to magnify the problem. One of these is the increase in the complexity of our society; another is society's increasing demands for educational achievement and technical competence. This has altered the significance of mental retardation, so that persons who would previously

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