STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY STEVE GSCHMEISSNER / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Rickets. Light micrograph of a section through bone of a patient with rickets, a softening of the bones. The light purple areas are unmineralised (unhardened) cartilage, while the darker areas show abnormal bone growth. The predominant cause of rickets is a deficiency in vitamin D, which is required for normal calcium absorption from the gut. Malabsorption leads to low levels of calcium in the blood. This not only prevents proper bone growth, but can also lead to calcium being released form the bones to increase blood calcium levels. Treatment is of the underlying cause and vitamin D and calcium supplements. Magnification: x30 when printed at 10 centimetres wide.
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