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Zinc Deficiency in a Premature Infant Fed Exclusively Human Milk

PAUL H. PARKER, MD; GERALD L. HELINEK, MD; RAYMOND L. MENEELY, MD; FAYEZ K. GHISHAN, MD; HARRY L. GREENE, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1982;136(1):77-78. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1982.03970370079024.
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The most notable changes of severe zinc deficiency are diarrhea, growth failure, delayed sexual maturation, alopecia, dermatitis, anorexia, mood changes, and frequent infections.1 While severe zinc deficiency is rare in infancy, milder forms of zinc deficiency may be more common.2 Because breast milk seems to enhance zinc absorption, it is often referred to as the most appropriate formula for prevention of zinc deficiency in infants.3 However, a recent report of symptomatic zinc deficiency in a breast-fed premature infant would seem to question this concept.4 Herein we report the development of zinc deficiency in another breast-fed premature infant and discuss possible factors that contributed to its occurrence.

Report of a Case.—The patient was the second child born of a 27-year-old woman. The pregnancy was uncomplicated until the 26th week, when premature onset of labor resulted in delivery of the 710-g infant. The neonatal course was complicated

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