Home | Old Medical Pictures Index | Skin & Hair | Pellagra

Note: Medical terms used during the late 19th and early 20th centuries may differ from those found in contemporary medicine. Images were scanned and processed by OMS staff members from old medical textbooks that are in the public domain. Caution: Some images of medical diseases, conditions, and illnesses may be disturbing to viewers, and are not suitable for children.

Pellagra Pictures

Definition: Pellagra is a disease caused by deficiency of niacin or tryptophan in the diet or by a defect in the metabolic conversion of tryptophan to niacin; it is characterized by dermatitis, inflammation of the tongue, diarrhea, and emotional and mental symptoms including depression, disorientation and confusion. Treatment includes the administration of niacin and tryptophan and a well-balanced diet containing other vitamins. Although uncommon in countries whose diet is well-balanced, pellagra can still be found in China, Indonesia and Africa. It can also be found in cases of chronic alcoholism.

Two men with pellagra, note the discoloration of the hands.

Notes from Medical Textbook: Left, Pellagra: Showing involvement, with pigmentation, of hands, lower forearms, and, to a slighter extent, the face. Right, Pellagra: Showing eruption and pigmentation on hands and face.

Notes from Medical Textbook: Pellagra, Showing the constant involvement, with pigmentation, of hands and wrists.

Pellagra in a young girl

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