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A narrative review of recent progress in understanding the relationship between tuberculosis and protein energy malnutrition


Protein energy malnutrition (PEM) and tuberculosis (TB) are the major public health issues, particularly in the developing country setting. Malnutrition is an underlying cause of many deaths and when left untreated devastates normal physical and cognitive development. TB continues to gather momentum as a serious infectious killer. They have both rightly been highlighted as important global health issues by their inclusion in the Millennium Development Goals. But what is known of their relationship with one another? It is historically accepted that PEM and TB have a synergistic relationship adversely having an impact on one another. However, researchers have sought to apply this understanding in an examination of the relationship between TB and PEM with often inconclusive results. This narrative review of recently published research and current knowledge may help delineate the association between PEM and TB mortality. Such results will assist future research in this important area of health—an area lacking evidence-based guidance.

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We acknowledge and express gratitude to Dr Mohammed Ali for his supervisory role and encouraging guidance of the structure and content of this review.

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Correspondence to M L H Hood.

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The author declares no conflict of interest.


Appendix 1

Figure A1
figure 1

The search strategy process for selecting the documents for this review.

Appendix 2

Table a1 Summary table of the items included in this review

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Hood, M. A narrative review of recent progress in understanding the relationship between tuberculosis and protein energy malnutrition. Eur J Clin Nutr 67, 1122–1128 (2013).

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  • protein energy malnutrition (PEM)
  • protein calorie malnutrition
  • tuberculosis
  • review

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