Plasma cortisol levels were measured in 13 children with marasmus, in 7 with kwashiorkor, and in 24 normal children. Cortisol levels in the malnourished children did not differ from those of the normal group, either before or after 15 or 30 days of treatment, unless there was superimposed acute stress. Stress caused by complications such as hypoglycaemia, infection, hypothermia, or acidosis led to raised plasma cortisol levels.
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