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Family, Internal Medicine, General Medical Questions/What health problems would likely result from a childhood of deprivation?


Dear Doctor Borucki,

Hello. I wonder if it would be possible for you to help me. I'm writing something, and I'm trying to research what health problems, if any, would result from a childhood of deprivation?

For example, if a child had a normal life up to the age of about 5, and then became homeless and lived basically starving for the next 15 years until they were about 20; and then from that time on, they stopped being homeless, and lived a completely ordinary life in a house with plenty of food etc., would such a childhood leave any lasting effect on the health of that person, and if so, what kind? I mean, I've read that the starvation anorexics submit themselves to often puts a huge strain on their hearts is it likely that something like that would happen in this case?

I'd appreciate as much detail, speculation etc. as possible, if you'd be so kind! As you can imagine, due to the hypothetical nature of the question, it's a very difficult subject to research without the help of an expert.
I hope this is the kind of question you intended to deal with in your category if not, I'd be extremely grateful if you could let me know what category you think would be most appropriate.

Thank you very, very much!

I don't even want to speculate on the psychological aspects of growing up without any direction/guidance.....

But physically, people who survive that long on their own, learn survival skills early on and learn to get what they need.  I would wonder about vitamin deficiencies.... different deficiencies cause different problems.... Vit C - scurvy, Vit D - rickets, etc, protein malnutrition- muscle problems including heart, so you have some literary license to create a syndrome and then backtrack to see what was lacking in the diet to create it........

But is someone had over a decade to develop problems, especially at that age, there could be serious long term problems.  

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Robert Borucki


I am an expert in Family Medicine and Emergency Medicine.


I am trained and boarded in Family Medicine and have also worked extensively in emergency medicine for over 10 years.

BA in Natural Sciences; MD in 1986\borucki

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