Kwashiorkor

by H. C. Trowell, O.B.E., M.D. (London, P.R.C.P., Physician, Mulago Hospital, Uganda Medical Dept., and Dept. of Medicine, Makerere College, Medical School, Kampala; J. N. P. Davis, M.D. (Bristol) Professor of Pathology, Makerere College Medical School, Kampala; and R. F. A. Dean, Ph.D. (Cambridge), M.R.C.P., Medical Research Council, Group for Research in Infantile Malnutrition, Kampala, Uganda. 308 pages, illustrated. Baltimore: Williams and Wilkins Co., 1955. Price $10.00

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A clinician, a pathologist and a pediatrician, all engaged in a colonial medical service in East Africa, have collaborated in the preparation of this book which will now become the standard reference for kwashiorkor. This disease is often considered new. The authors indicate in their detailed history that the syndrome has been long known. A disease of weanlings, described in Germany in 1906 and called Mehlnährschaden, now seems clearly an equivalent of kwashiorkor. The French in Indochina called a similar disease Bouiffissure d'Annam. In Yucatan another variant was called culebrilla. The present authors present the logical thesis that all these diseases have a common basis in a dietary deficiency of protein. Kwashiorkor—after the word with which West African natives sagaciously related the cause to a hasty succession of babies—is characterized by muscle wasting, edema, skin and hair changes, digestive failure and a large fatty liver. If untreated, the child dies.

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