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Composition of Muscle in Malnourished Human Infants


ALTHOUGH protein deficiency is probably the commonest form of malnutrition throughout the world, there is no means of assessing its severity in the living subject. One approach to this problem is by tissue analysis. Measurement of the protein content of tissues by itself is of little value, since significant changes do not seem to be found1. If, however, protein content is related to deoxynucleic acid, an index is obtained of the amount of protein per cell. By this method we have shown that there is a very severe loss of protein from the livers of malnourished infants on a protein-deficient diet2.

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  1. Holmes, E. G., Jones, E. R., Lyle, Margaret, D., and Stanier, Margaret W., Brit. J. Nutr., 10, 198 (1956).

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  2. Waterlow, J. C., and Weisz, T., J. Clin. Invest., 35, 346 (1956).

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  3. Mendes, C. B., and Waterlow, J. C. (to be published).

  4. Protein Malnutrition, Proc. Conf., convened in Jamaica by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the World Health Organization and the Josiah Macy, Jr. Foundation, edited by J. C. Waterlow (FAO, Home, 1955).

  5. Hansen, J. D. L., and Jenkinson, V., S. Afr. J. Lab. Clin. Med., 2, 205 (1956).

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WATERLOW, J., MENDES, C. Composition of Muscle in Malnourished Human Infants. Nature 180, 1361–1362 (1957).

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