Conclusion

Unfortunately, it is impossible in the space allotted to discuss all of the novel concepts of early childhood illness that evolved during the twentieth century. Among these was an appreciation of the rapid debility and death that result whenever fluid is quickly lost and not replaced; this led to the development of methods for maintaining or restoring acid-base balance during rehydration. Also in the twentieth century were the recognition and treatment of hormonal disorders, of hemolytic disease of the newborn, and of numerous neurological and viral disorders.

In 1906 George Newman had already indicated that prematurity and immaturity at birth were among the largest contributors to infant mortality and were on the increase (Newman 1907). Today infection and malnutrition, the chief causes of infant death between the ages of 1 month and 1 year in Newman's time, are well understood and are rarely fatal, thus allowing pediatric medicine and research to concentrate on improving the premature infant's chance of survival during the neonatal period. Newman and his contemporaries would be gratified, perhaps amazed, that the current infant mortality rate in developed countries is one-fifteenth to one-twentieth the rate in their time. Even in Third World countries, where many more babies are subject to malnutrition and vulnerable to infection, the infant mortality rate is usually much lower than that which prevailed in western Europe and the

United States at the turn of the century.

Elizabeth Lomax

Your Heart and Nutrition

Your Heart and Nutrition

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