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n. a disease caused by deficiency of niacin or tryptophan (or by a defect in the metabolic conversion of tryptophan to niacin); characterized by gastrointestinal disturbances and erythema and nervous or mental disorders; may be caused by malnutrition or alcoholism or other nutritional impairments [syn: pellagra, Alpine scurvy, mal de la rosa, mal rosso, maidism, Saint Ignatius' itch]