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Functional significance of growth retardation in malnutrition.

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Immunity, Cellular, analysis, Antibody Formation, Antigens, Bacterial, Child, Preschool, Diphtheria Toxoid, Growth Disorders, etiology, Humans, Immunity, Antibodies, India, Infant, Leukocytes, metabolism, physiopathology, Phagocytosis, Protein-Energy Malnutrition, complications, immunology, Tetanus Toxoid, Typhoid Fever

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      Various functional parameters involved in resistance to infection were investigated in children suffering from varying grades of protein-calorie malnutrition. It was observed that the phagocytic function was impaired in children whose weights were below 80% of the Indian Council of Medical Research standard, whereas the cell-mediated immune response was altered in those with weights below 70% of the standard. Antibody response to typhoid antigen was impaired in children with severe protein-calorie malnutrition, while the response to diphtheria and tetanus toxoids was normal in all. These observations suggest that malnourished children whose weights are below 80% of the Indian standard are likely to suffer from at least one functional handicap which may increase the risk of infection. In any action-oriented program, priority should, therefore, be given to this group of children.

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