Definition of pellagra in English:

pellagra

noun

  • [mass noun] A deficiency disease caused by a lack of nicotinic acid or its precursor tryptophan in the diet. It is characterized by dermatitis, diarrhoea, and mental disturbance, and is often linked to over-dependence on maize as a staple food.

    • ‘The troops suffered from malaria, dengue fever, beriberi, hookworm and pellagra.’
    • ‘Inadequate amounts of this vitamin cause a disease called pellagra, which is characterized by skin disorders, weak muscles, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.’
    • ‘His work on pellagra saved thousands of lives.’
    • ‘The occurrence of pellagra started to be associated from the mid 1700s with a poor diet of maize-meal without meat or milk in different parts of the world, and this link was still occurring in the US well into the twentieth century.’
    • ‘Despite differing reports about the initial symptoms of this wasting disease, pellagra is characterized by diverse clinical manifestations mainly involving the dermatological, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems.’
    • ‘Nongovernment organizations have initiated public health programs such as the Rockefeller Foundation which undertook eradication of pellagra and hookworm.’
    • ‘Deficiency leads to pellagra, a condition characterized by dermatitis, diarrhea and certain mental health problems.’
    • ‘When was the last time that you met an American-born person suffering from rickets, scurvy, beriberi, pellagra, or any other disease caused entirely by malnutrition.’
    • ‘There, in the camp, he almost died of hunger, developed dystrophy and pellagra, and almost lost his central vision.’
    • ‘Severe deficiency of vitamin B - 6 may lead to pellagra, a neurological illness with features of dementia.’
    • ‘He is best known for his work on the disease pellagra, the ‘scourge of the south,’ in which he discovered that the cause of pellagra was a dietary insufficiency, later identified as vitamin B niacin.’
    • ‘But due to peasant resistance and initiative, maize became the primary crop, supporting grain and livestock production and providing the peasant's major food, a dependence that later produced the scourge of pellagra.’
    • ‘Hypoproteinemia and pellagra are caused when tryptophan (ie, an essential amino acid) is used for serotonin production instead of for protein and niacin synthesis.’
    • ‘The severe symptoms, depression, dermatitis and diarrhea, are associated with the condition known as pellagra.’
    • ‘Those highly dependent on corn as a food might develop pellagra and this chronic disease, causing dermatitis, diarrhea, and ultimately dementia, battered the population of European corn growing regions during the nineteenth century.’
    • ‘A deficiency of niacin causes the disease pellagra.’
    • ‘We now know that a niacin or tryptophan deficiency causes pellagra.’
    • ‘In 1902, the American South was swept with an epidemic of pellagra (a niacin and tryptophan deficiency).’
    • ‘The cutaneous changes were among the first symptoms of pellagra to appear in anorexia nervosa patients.’
    • ‘A 67 year old Zambian woman presented to our mission hospital with diarrhoea, dementia, and dermatitis, which are the classic features of pellagra.’

Origin

Early 19th century: from Italian, from pelle skin, on the pattern of podagra.

Pronunciation:

pellagra

/pɛˈlaɡrə/