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January 1976

Failure to Thrive: Can Treatment be Effectively Investigated?

Author Affiliations

Departments of Pediatrics Wayne State University School of Medicine Children's Hospital of Michigan 3901 Beaubien Blvd Detroit, MI 48201

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(1):15. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120020017001

The failure of children to grow and develop on a nonorganic basis (variously known as failure to thrive, maternal deprivation, deprivarion dwarfism, etc) has been extensively studied. Results provide sufficient data to establish functional concepts concerning etiology, pathogenesis, diagnosis, manifestations, and sequels. While further studies will, no doubt, refine these concepts, I believe they are not of the highest priority.

See also p 24.

Studies of treatment have been inadequate. The few studies have been retrospective, consisting of descriptions and evaluations of outcomes of unplanned, unsystematic intervention. In these, the intervention is varied and details of critical aspects of the day-to-day handling of the child are not documentable; hence, valid conclusions cannot be drawn. Furthermore, appropriate controls have not been used.

Intervention studies have left unanswered three functional questions: (1) What factors should be used to determine whether a child should be removed from the parent(s)? (2) Do children have

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