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