Perspectives in Human Malnutrition: A Contribution to the Biology of Disease from a Clinical and Pathological Study of Chronic Malnutrition and Pellagra in the African

by Joseph Gillman, D.Sc., and Theodore Gillman, M.Sc., Departments of Physiology and Anatomy, Medical School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. 584 pp., 259 illustrations and extensive bibliography. Cloth. New York: Grune and Stratton, 1951, $18.00

William J. Darby
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This monograph is rightfully titled “Perspectives in Human Malnutrition.” It presents a very personal philosophy of its authors. The perspective of these workers is from a viewpoint of clinical and pathologic observations of the malnourished native of South Africa.

The book describes what is obviously a complex deficiency state and rightfully points to the difficulty of sorting out single responsible, etiologic agents and of attributing specific changes in an organ to one etiologic agent. Accordingly, the authors discard the usual approach to the study of malnutrition—this approach they term “machine concept of the organism.” They argue for “a shift of emphasis in the study of disease from organs and tissues to physiological regulations and developmental processes.” Despite this argument, the authors fail to develop their subject in keeping with modern physiologic concepts.

As an example of this failure, one may cite the discussion headed “A Critique of Modern Views on Microcytic Hypochromic Anemias” on pages 328–329.