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Thursday, 10 August 2017


Rickets is a Vitamin D defiency disease of young children and is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries. It is marked by soft, poorly developed bones, resulting in bow legs. The majority of cases occur in children suffering from severe malnutrition, usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.

The name comes from the old English word 'wrikken; meaning "to twist."

Photograph of children with rickets

Cases of what is now known as rickets were documented by Greek physician Soranus of Ephesus. He practiced in Alexandria and subsequently in Rome as early as the first and second centuries AD.

In 1650 a treatise on rickets was published by Francis Glisson, a physician at Caius College, Cambridge, who said it had first appeared about 30 years previously in the English counties of Dorset and Somerset.

Rickets was common during the Industrial Revolution because the persistent heavy industrial smog deprived children of sunlight.

In 1921 scientists proved rickets was caused by lack of vitamin D. The discovery of the cause of rickets coincided with increased understanding of vitamins – particularly A and D. In 1919, Edward Mellanby, after conducting experiments with various diets on puppies discovered a link between lack of "either fat-soluble A" or something pretty similar. That similar factor, vitamin D, was discovered by Elmer McCollum and Marguerite Davis in 1921.

Before and after photographs for therapy for rickets 

Children growing up during the Second World War were told to eat their greens to avoid rickets.

In the 1940s, margarine was fortified with vitamin D to try to prevent the disease.

By 1945, rickets had all but been eliminated in the United States,

In Dutch, German and Swedish rickets is known as "English disease"

Source Daily Mail

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