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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Indicators of normal carbohydrate digestion in children

item Nichols, Buford

Submitted to: Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/1/2007
Publication Date: 8/1/2007
Publication URL:
Citation: Nichols, B.L. 2007. Indicators of normal carbohydrate digestion in children. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 45:176-177.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: More research is needed to determine the nutritional and clinical significance of the intermediate values of low but not deficient duodenal disaccharidase activities, but the Dahlqvist-method biopsy assay of activity serves as a gnomon of carbohydrate digestion, in the sense that Anaximander used a gnomon to chart his 6th-century, earth-centered cosmology. Much more work was needed before Galileo was able to chart the orbits of a sun-centered cosmology in the 16th century. The word cosmos (kappa o sigma mu o sigma) is Greek and refers to order, world, or universe, and is the opposite of chaos. We apply this term to the global characterization of carbohydrate digestion to glucose and its consequent absorption and metabolic oxidation. Galileo wrote, “measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” As pediatric gastroenterologists, we need to move from the “gnomon” of Dahlqvist mucosal assays toward a full “cosmology” of carbohydrate metabolism. We are motivated to make the cosmos of carbohydrate digestion to glucose measurable because of the virtual dependence of normal childhood brain metabolism on glucose substrate.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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