Etiology Epidemiology and Distribution

Human beings, like guinea pigs and monkeys but unlike many other animals, do not synthesize vitamin C. No doubt this reflects a period of evolution in a vitamin C-rich environment; and, with the expansion of the species to all parts of the Earth, less generous climates have inevitably taken a toll due to scurvy. The disease occurs where economic, social, or climatic factors prevent access to an appropriate diet, and frequently has appeared under circumstances where diets are circumscribed, including long sea voyages, during military operations, in prisons, with the failure of crops, and during the Gold Rush. In the modern period, infantile scurvy has been a problem, for example, in Canada during the decades 1945-65, where it occurred mostly among the lower socioeconomic groups. As with other occur rences of infantile scurvy, this period was associated with a trend away from breast feeding, combined with maternal ignorance about substitute foods. The same causes were at work in cases in Australia.

Scurvy occurs occasionally in slavish followers of fad diets, and more commonly in middle-aged men living on their own and neglecting their diets. The disease is not widely reported from the Third World, perhaps because of a comparatively greater availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in some countries, but more generally no doubt because of a lack of the medical services that would be the normal route of reporting the disease.

It can be said in general that scurvy is a disease of northern countries although, as observed, the traditional diet of the Eskimo is sufficient to prevent it. Until recent times adult scurvy was endemic in Russia. This was not the case with infantile scurvy, however, for properly suckled infants do better than adults when the general diet tends toward the scorbutic.

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

New Mothers Guide to Breast Feeding

For many years, scientists have been playing out the ingredients that make breast milk the perfect food for babies. They've discovered to day over 200 close compounds to fight infection, help the immune system mature, aid in digestion, and support brain growth - nature made properties that science simply cannot copy. The important long term benefits of breast feeding include reduced risk of asthma, allergies, obesity, and some forms of childhood cancer. The more that scientists continue to learn, the better breast milk looks.

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