1. A disease occurring among Chinese in Malaya is described. The main complaints are weakness and numbness of the legs ; and the main signs absent tendon reflexes, sensory loss and ataxia.
2. The aetiology is discussed and the disease is thought to be a form of pellagra modified by other factors in the diet or circumstances of those affected.
A marked seasonality of births for the two main ethnic groups of peninsular Malaysia, far exceeding the cyclic fluctuations in births in the United States and Canada, was reported for the 1960s. A 36% excess of births over the average monthly number was observed among Malays each January. Among the ethnic Chinese in Malaysia a regular periodicity in the numbers of births was also found, but it was far less marked and the peak occurred in October or November. The peaks in both groups were due in large measure to conceptions that correlate with religious observances or holidays. Here I report on cyclic birth patterns in peninsular Malaysia for the period 1970-1985. Rapid economic development has occurred during this time and has brought with it demographic changes, such as a massive rise in contraceptive use and a decline in birth rates. These demographic changes have been accompanied by the loss of the pronounced seasonal pattern of births among the Malays. The seasonality of Malay births is now of roughly the same magnitude as the seasonality in the United States and Canada, whereas seasonality of births among the Chinese in Malaysia remains essentially unchanged.