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Drawing of rickets (vitamin D deficiency).

Drawing of rickets (vitamin D deficiency).

N534/0004

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Credit

SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Rickets. Drawing of three pairs of legs (labelled 'a', 'b', 'c'). Pair 'a' and 'b' show the effect of rickets. Pair 'c' show the legs of a rickets sufferer after undergoing an osteotomy. This was a technique pioneered by William Macewen (1848-1924), a Scottish surgeon. He first described the technique in 1880. Rickets or osteomalacia is a deficiency of vitamin D which results in malformation of the skeleton. Vitamin D is necessary for the uptake of calcium from food; without it not enough calcium salts are deposited in the bones to make them rigid. Vitamin D is obtained from certain foods and is also made in the skin when exposed to sunlight.

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