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March 1976

Metabolic Mechanisms in Reye Syndrome: End of a Mystery?

Author Affiliations

Department of Pediatrics University of California San Francisco, CA 94116

Am J Dis Child. 1976;130(3):241-243. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1976.02120040019004

The diagnosis of Reye syndrome has become a routine matter in most pediatric centers. The number of cases has risen strikingly in recent years, suggesting that the incidence of this serious childhood disease is increasing. Interestingly, the illness appears to favor rural areas in most developed countries. A clearer picture of its manifestations and clinical evolution has emerged from this extensive experience, but the search for underlying causes has been complicated by the multiplicity of potential etiologic factors in the clinical histories of most patients.1

It is not surprising that aspirin, the most popular drug in treatment of upper respiratory infections and other nonspecific ailments, should be repeatedly implicated in the cause of Reye syndrome. Elsewhere in this issue (p 295), Rosenfeld and Liebhaber report two siblings with Reye syndrome in whom near-toxic salicylate levels were found. Assuming a link does exist between certain common chemicals, viral agents, and

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