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Prolonged Gaming Blamed For Rickets Rise 254

Posted by samzenpus
from the don't-let-the-scurvy-get-you-down dept.
superapecommando writes "Too many hours spent playing videogames indoors is contributing to a rise in rickets, according to a new study by doctors. Professor Simon Pearce and Dr Tim Cheetham of Newcastle University have written a paper in the British Medical Journal which warns of the rickets uptake – a disease which sufferers get when deficient in Vitamin D. The study boils down to the fact that as more people play videogames indoors they don't get enough sunlight and this has meant the hospitals are now having to combat a disease that was last in the papers around the time Queen Victoria was on the throne." At least the kids are eating enough snacks with iodized salt that we don't have to worry about goiters.

*

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Prolonged Gaming Blamed For Rickets Rise

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  • Via Wikipedia (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bicx (1042846) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:53PM (#30863316)
    Rickets is a softening of bones in children potentially leading to fractures and deformity. Rickets is among the most frequent childhood diseases in many developing countries. The predominant cause is a vitamin D deficiency, but lack of adequate calcium in the diet may also lead to rickets (cases of severe diarrhea and vomiting may be the cause of the deficiency). Although it can occur in adults, the majority of cases occur in children suffering from severe malnutrition, usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.
    • Re:Via Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

      by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:00PM (#30863412)

      , usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.

      And that's the real story: Parents who have turned their children over to the television, computer, and daycare centers of the world and neglecting basic nutrition. My sister is like that -- she is fed a diet of fast food and microwave meals because her parents can't be bothered to cook a meal (two income family). I don't think its intentional, people just assume there's no problem if it can't be seen.

      • Re:Via Wikipedia (Score:5, Insightful)

        by samkass (174571) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:22PM (#30863638) Homepage Journal

        I'm not sure why you threw daycare centers in there. Often they are much more strictly monitored than a child's home life and probably have prevented more of these cases than caused them.

      • by Nerdfest (867930)
        Please people, play some sports outside with your children. They spend so much time at their computer and console games that they're getting too difficult for us old folks to beat.

        And they're generally fairly annoying about it.
        • by frosty_tsm (933163) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:30PM (#30863750)

          Please people, play some sports outside with your children. They spend so much time at their computer and console games that they're getting too difficult for us old folks to beat. And they're generally fairly annoying about it.

          You're just trying to handicap them. You're supposed to practice after they go to bed so you're ready to unleash a 13 hit combo on them. Or headshot them. Whichever.

          (before I get marked as evil, I mean IN GAMES)

      • by swb (14022)

        No, that's not the real story, that's a line of condescending bullshit from someone who probably doesn't have kids or kids in daycare. Yes, I see the hidden attitude -- dual income parents, who want to have it all -- material possessions and kids -- and who, at the end of the day, are just too tired or self-absorbed from their ceaseless search for money and goods to take proper care of their children.

        I got news for you. Ain't the case. Life is expensive. Very expensive. You really can't take care of a

        • Re:Via Wikipedia (Score:4, Insightful)

          by instagib (879544) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:13PM (#30864334)

          You really can't take care of a family [...] without dual incomes.

          This is only true if you want to maintain your living standard as if you had no kids. Smaller car, no vacation, no restaurants, simple clothing etc. (i.e. how most people live in this world) would allow single income plus a 100% mother - just as a few decades ago. I am not saying that this is how it should be, just that the "want to have it all" is a definitive factor.

      • , usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.

        And that's the real story: Parents who have turned their children over to the television, computer, and daycare centers of the world and neglecting basic nutrition. My sister is like that -- she is fed a diet of fast food and microwave meals because her parents can't be bothered to cook a meal (two income family). I don't think its intentional, people just assume there's no problem if it can't be seen.

        Agreed.

        You don't even need to get out in the sun that much... If you're eating right, you'll be getting plenty of vitamin D. Hell, just a glass of milk is full of the stuff.

        The real story is that nutrition in general, in the United States, is all shot to hell. Folks are living off fast food, cans, boxes, and frozen dinners. Nobody eats real food anymore.

        How do I know? I've been there!

        Over the last couple of years my diet has gone straight to hell. I've been busy and overworked and stressed and whatnot

        • Agreed.

          You don't even need to get out in the sun that much... If you're eating right, you'll be getting plenty of vitamin D.

          Well, yes, according to wikipedia some herring will do. But I have heard from a lot of sources that getting enough vitamin D through diet alone is difficult, while even a modest exposure to sun should do the trick (I think it was something like half an hour in the sun with arms exposed).

      • Rickets is not caused by fast food. Subway subs with lots of veggies are probably one of the more nutritious meals you could eat. The disease is actually caused by lack of sunlight.

        Parents have a responsibility to get their kids involved in outdoor sports. This is understandably hard, though, because online multiplayer games have teamwork, competition, and trash-talk just like sports, but with less hassle.

        Still, teach your kids the basics of outdoor sports (tennis, baseball, soccer, track, etc.) from an ear

      • by rve (4436)

        , usually resulting from famine or starvation during the early stages of childhood.

        And that's the real story: Parents who have turned their children over to the television, computer, and daycare centers of the world and neglecting basic nutrition. My sister is like that -- she is fed a diet of fast food and microwave meals because her parents can't be bothered to cook a meal (two income family). I don't think its intentional, people just assume there's no problem if it can't be seen.

        On the contrary, this is a case of conscientious and caring parents following the advice not to expose their children to direct sunlight. These kids never go out in the sun without a hat and some high protection factor sunblock cream.

        Vitamin D is made in the skin cells, in response to damage done by UV radiation from sunlight. Without unprotected exposure to sunlight, less UV damage is done, and this can result in a vitamin D deficiency.

        Blaming modern conveniences and social and moral decay for the deplorab

  • The kicker: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:53PM (#30863328) Journal

    If you spend so much time inside playing video games that you get a case of the rickets, you've got way more problems than just vitamin deficiency.

    • by tomhudson (43916)

      If you spend so much time inside playing video games that you get a case of the rickets, you've got way more problems than just vitamin deficiency.

      You don't hear people talk about it much, for obvious reasons, but it's also a cause of the rise in prolapsed anuses [thefreedictionary.com] in teenagers caused by the support structures weakening from too much inactivity, combined with poor bowel movements.

  • DDrink!

    A Double Dose of D along with a Double Dollop of Caffeine! Get your Dose and Drink DDrink!
    • Thats the thing though, Milk is great for Vitamin D - and Chocolate Milk is a favourite amongst gamers.

      However, just having the D in your system doesn't get it to work, something in the sunlight "activates" it. I heard it from a girl one time.

      • Thats the thing though, Milk is great for Vitamin D - and Chocolate Milk is a favourite amongst gamers.

        However, just having the D in your system doesn't get it to work, something in the sunlight "activates" it. I heard it from a girl one time.

        You actually TALKED to a girl? Wow. That's just incredible

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Bobfrankly1 (1043848)

          Thats the thing though, Milk is great for Vitamin D - and Chocolate Milk is a favourite amongst gamers.

          However, just having the D in your system doesn't get it to work, something in the sunlight "activates" it. I heard it from a girl one time.

          You actually TALKED to a girl? Wow. That's just incredible

          Whoa, don't jump to conclusions now, he was outside the alleged girls window without her knowledge when he overheard this sunlight gimmick. He might have heard further explanation if he hadn't dropped the video camera in the bush and made a bunch of noise trying to find it...

      • by EllisDees (268037)

        I don't think so. Vitamin D can either be synthesized by the skin through exposure to sunlight or it can be ingested and absorbed like most vitamins.

    • by hondo77 (324058)
      I used to get a double dose of D all the time but that was when I was a newlywed. Twenty years later, now I hardly get any DD.
  • Milk? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:54PM (#30863344)

    Wouldn't drinking milk resolved the Vitamin D deficiency. I do not know much about the Richet illness but what does sunlight have to do with Calcium.

    • Your skin produces vitamin D when exposed to sunlight...
    • And isn't a lot of the orange juice on the market vitamin D enriched? I know both tropicana and florida's best have one that is basically milk that tastes like orange juice (although I like pulp so I never buy it).
      • by idontgno (624372)
        Vitamin D enriched foods and drinks (as well as those naturally high in D) would probably help, if we could get the pasty-skinned console trolls to consume them. Maybe if they added vitamin D to pizza rolls, Hot Pockets, Doritos, and Mountain Dew?
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ottothecow (600101)
          They already do this...the whole reason milk is loaded with vitamin D is that in the 1930's the government started forcing dairy producers to fortify their milk with vitamin D in order to combat rickets

          Maybe the real problem is the lack of milk.

          • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

            by brian0918 (638904)
            Milk provides only minuscule amounts of vitamin D, and it is in the form that is less-readily absorbed by the human body - D2.

            A healthy level of vitamin D in the blood should be around 60 ng/mL, but even drinking several glasses of milk a day, you would barely go beyond the widespread, deficient level of around 25-30. In order to reach 60+, you'll have to supplement with the animal version of vitamin D, which is the liquid softgel Vitamin D3, and not the hard tablet D2 that's made from plant matter. If i
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by ottothecow (600101)
              Eh...those guys are clearly talking about the other benefits of large amounts of vitamin D.

              Straight from the cow, milk has very little vitamin D, but the government mandated level is supposed to be enough to get you to the point where you don't get rickets (not something neurologists or cardiologists really deal with).

              The amounts of vitamin D that the guy in the first article is talking about is insanely more than any human would ever get from natural sources. We are just talking about preventing ricke

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by bLanark (123342)

            When you speak of "The government" you mean the U.S.A., yeah?

            This article (Q You did read TFA, didn't you? A No, you didn't even read the summary, did you? Sigh!) was published in the BRITISH medical journal. We Brits don't add much (if anything except water to bulk it up) to our foods here. Not even fluoride in the water (where I live, at least).

            But we do get free soma every day!

    • Woops I posted this to the one above.

      However, just having the D in your system doesn't get it to work, something in the sunlight "activates" it.

      As for the guy who mentioned Orange Juice and Tropicana, most of it is Vitamin C, but there are Vitamin D enriched juices yes. Same rule applies though, it needs sunlight.

    • Re:Milk? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Renraku (518261) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:13PM (#30863534) Homepage

      Don't listen to those people. You do NOT need sunlight to get vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced by your body when the high energy photons in sunlight break apart some chemical bonds in your skin and vitamin D is one of the results. However, it has also been isolated and produced externally for many decades. The vitamin D that you intake is almost as effective as the vitamin D produced by the sun.

  • Hmm... (Score:4, Informative)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:55PM (#30863350) Journal
    Our wikipedia overlords report that the suggested daily supplementation for individuals at risk of deficiency is only 25 micrograms. Unless the risks of overdose are particularly hairy, or are encountered at a dose particularly close to the suggested one, this seems like a problem that could be fairly easily solved by slight modifications to the food supply.

    Or, heck, just make console controllers whose plastics slowly leach vitamin D into the greasy, sweaty, hands of the gamer kiddies....
    • by FooAtWFU (699187)

      this seems like a problem that could be fairly easily solved by slight modifications to the food supply.

      Like putting vitamin D into milk?

    • Or they could just go outside for 10 minutes a day *gasp* without sunscreen. Crazy, I know (and not necissarily effective in certain latitudes during the winter) but it would solve the problem very easily, no changes needed.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Hatta (162192)

        To be fair, this study does come from England. Do they get 10 minutes of sunshine a day there?

      • Or they could just go outside for 10 minutes a day *gasp* without sunscreen. Crazy, I know (and not necissarily effective in certain latitudes during the winter) but it would solve the problem very easily, no changes needed.

        This "outside" would be a change, and I don't deal with change easily. The homeless on the other hand, are always looking for change. "Change?" "chaaaaaange"

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I just did a bit of research, it would take 10 taaaallll Glasses of Vitamin D enriched Milk to barely get the amount required.

      However, less than 30 minutes of sunlight (varying on your size, your skin pigmentation and where you live) will deliver this amount.

      • I just did a bit of research, it would take 10 taaaallll Glasses of Vitamin D enriched Milk to barely get the amount required.

        Where did you do your research?

        8 oz (a short glass) of vitamin D enriched milk has about 100 IU of vit D; USRDA for vit D is 400 IU.

        So that's four short glasses, or 2-3 taaaallll glasses to get the RDA.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        And 30 minutes of sunlight in some locations will leave you with frostbite, hypothermia or just plain death if you're running around with a lot of exposed flesh.

        A couple taaaalll glasses of milk or losing a few extremities... tough choice.

      • Web calculator (Score:3, Informative)

        by Khashishi (775369)

        There's a very nice calculator for how much sunlight you need. You might find that 30 minutes sorely underestimates your needs.

        Look for fastrt, by Ola Engelsen. There seems to be multiple versions, and I'm not sure which is the latest. Some leave out Skin Type, which an important factor, but here's one with it in.
        http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD-ez_quartMED.html [nadir.nilu.no]

        here's a more detailed version
        http://nadir.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD_quartMEDandMED.html [nadir.nilu.no]

        There is also an associated paper, but I'm not sur

    • ... this seems like a problem that could be fairly easily solved by slight modifications to the food supply.

      You mean like putting actual cheese in the cheesy poofs?

      • > You mean like putting actual cheese in the cheesy poofs?

        No. That would be a major modification.

  • Grain of salt... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Shanrak (1037504) on Friday January 22, 2010 @03:56PM (#30863374)
    I'm going to take this with a large grain of salt here. Does the publication in the British Medical Journal actually blame the rise on gaming, or is TFA simply adding the gaming aspect to it to generate a sensational article to post on a tech site with a large demographic who plays games. TFA only has a link to the BMJ homepage.

    Oh, and obligatory: correlation does not imply causation
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Link to their paper's abstract: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/content/extract/340/jan11_1/b5664 [bmj.com] Nothing about gaming in the abstract:

      Risk factors include skin pigmentation, use of sunscreen or concealing clothing, being elderly or institutionalised, obesity, malabsorption, renal and liver disease, and anticonvulsant use

    • Oh, and obligatory: correlation does not imply causation

      If playing videogames causes you to be inside and thus not get sunlight, and not getting sunlight causes one to get rickets, then there is a causation here.

  • Expect the addition of Vitamin D to popular gamer energy drinks.
  • Gaming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrMista_B (891430) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:01PM (#30863418)

    Bullshit.

    More likely the result of fear-tactic news scaring people into keeping their kids indoors 24 hours a day except for school. Playgrounds are where perverts lurk, remember? Gotta keep little Billy safe!

    Of course, indoors there are videogames - but there's also books, and television. Gaming is just one possible indoor activity - if you don't let your kids outside, don't be surprised if they end up fucked up.

    • Probably the best post on this article right there.

      I can think of a large number of University students who would probably get Rickets from staying inside studying so much - if it weren't for the half hour outdoor walks across campus.

  • by Sponge Bath (413667) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:02PM (#30863438)
    Play your video games outdoors.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by socrplayr813 (1372733)

      You're modded funny, but why not think about what activities could be moved outside? Video games may not be the best choice to do it with, but it's not a terrible idea to at least consider it. Now that I think about it, it might be nice to go sit under a tree with my laptop somewhere (if it weren't winter).

      Really though, the bigger issue is that the majority of these cases are probably caused by poor diet more than (or at least as much as) lack of sun exposure.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        Well, let's think about what activities are being blamed for the problem described. The one seized upon and trumpeted loudly is gaming. So let's take the gaming rig outside. Where sunlight washes out the contrast of the LCD or CRT display and gets us killed in-game because we didn't see the faint trace of that sniper camper waaaaay over there. And then the console or PC overheats because of the lack of air conditioning. And then we get sunburn.

        Ditto with watching TV and video outdoors, especially the contra

    • by Nerdfest (867930)
      If my legs looked like the ones in the picture, I think I'd wear a cowboy hat and learn to talk like Sam Elliot. Chicks dig Sam Elliot.
    • Finally, there's a reason to play Super Mario Sunshine.
    • by blueg3 (192743)

      Way back when, I had a version of Wii Sports Tennis that you could play outdoors. The controllers were a lot heavier back then, though, and the game only worked properly in certain areas.

  • and of course (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames (1099) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:06PM (#30863470) Homepage

    This has nothing to do with the media telling everyone that we shouldn't even risk a glimpse at the sunlight without a generous slathering with SPF 2 billion sunscreen and a hat.

  • I'm sure this works, just not how.

    Sunlight is photons. Energy. Vitamin D is matter. Vitamin D can't literally be in the sunlight.

    Does sunlight just cause the body to produce vitamin D, or what?

    • by TheSync (5291) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:20PM (#30863598) Journal

      Sunlight is photons. Energy. Vitamin D is matter. Vitamin D can't literally be in the sunlight.

      7-dehydrocholesterol, a derivative of cholesterol, is photolyzed in the skin (mostly in the epidermal stratum basale and stratum spinosum) by ultraviolet light between 270-300 nm wavelength in 6-electron conrotatory electrocyclic reaction. The product is pre-vitamin D3.

      Pre-vitamin D3 then spontaneously isomerizes to Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in a antarafacial hydride [1,7] Sigmatropic shift. At room temperature the transformation of previtamin-D3 to vitamin D3 takes about 12 days to complete.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by BarryJacobsen (526926)

        ...7-dehydrocholesterol...photolyzed...epidermal stratum basale and stratum spinosum..6-electron conrotatory electrocyclic...spontaneously isomerizes...cholecalciferol...antarafacial hydride [1,7] Sigmatropic shift...

        Come on, he's not a child, you don't need to dumb it down :P

  • Ugh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rwalker429 (1452827)
    Why are video games exclusively targeted in this? Yes, they create a pretty attractive form of indoor entertainment but the problem here isn't video games. It's the people playing them or in the case of children, THEIR PARENTS. Send the kids outside. Heck, a good video game will make a lot of kids WANT to go play outside...if only so they can emulate their favorite fictional hero of the day. The same case could be made for television, really great sex, or pretty much anything else that makes staying in
    • by Nadaka (224565)

      Don't you know? Everything that every goes wrong with young people can be blamed on video games. Can't you think of the children?

    • by Zerth (26112)

      They blame it on video games because last time they tried blaming it on excessive sunblock use and got reamed by the cancer prevention groups.

  • The part of the country I'm in has been having snow, rain, wind, and hail for months. Even if I were outdoors, I wouldn't get any of this mythical "sunlight" here.

  • A healthy level of vitamin D in the blood should be around 60 ng/mL. In order to reach that, you'll have to supplement with the animal version of vitamin D, which is the liquid softgel Vitamin D3, and not the hard tablet D2 that's made from plant matter. If it just says "Vitamin D", chances are it's D2, and you should avoid that.

    Take about 4,000 to 8,000 IU per day and you're golden. On top of that, your immune system will be able to fight off the common colds that everyone else gets each year due to D d
  • I believe that prepared foods do not use iodized salt. You only can only get it with salt in its raw granular form. Otherwise, most people would get too much iodine in their diet.

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      I believe that...

      Research: you're doing it wrong.

    • And if you use Kosher salt at home, or sea salt, you don't get any iodine there either.

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Don't you dip your hotpockets in ketchup and salt like everyone else? I'd put salt in my Mt. Dew Gamer Fuel (TM) if it didn't cause it to fizz so much. Who cares about rickets when we've got heart disease to promote?
  • Wouldn't there also be a sizable drop in the percentages of STD's contracted, unplanned pregnancies, traffic accidents, drunk and disorderly conduct, and homicides?

    • by blueg3 (192743)

      You joke, but in college I was in a gaming club (as in, D&D) that got funding specifically because it provided an alternative to getting plastered on a Friday evening.

      It was effective, too. We restricted our drinking to Saturday and Sunday.

    • Wouldn't there also be a sizable drop in the percentages of STD's contracted, unplanned pregnancies, traffic accidents, drunk and disorderly conduct, and homicides?

      I suppose that would entirely depend on what you are gaming...

  • This is quite credible. I recall reading a situation in Britain where some first generation immigrants did not understand that in certain parts of England the sun was not as bright as in other places. When the mothers took the babies out for walks, everyone was covered and skin as not exposed to the sun. It was reported that issues related with vitamin D deficiencies were common in mothers and some babies.

    I wonder if kids get any sun. I see my neighbors inside all the time, they even have an attached

    • Too bad the people who wrote this study did not look at the vitamin D connection:
      "Schizophrenia in black Caribbeans living in the UK: an exploration of underlying causes of the high incidence rate"
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2418996/ [nih.gov]
      "The incidence of schizophrenia in black Caribbeans living in the UK is substantially higher than in the white British population. When first reported, these findings were assumed to be a first-generation migrant effect or merely the result of methodological arte

  • Isn't this the obvious answer? Keep your rickets in check, while enjoying your favorite game, while getting a great tan to impress that date, that you will never get . . .

    . . . might as well die of rickets: Game fast, die young, leave a rickets infested corpse.

  • Gilchrest fractures (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:48PM (#30863984) Homepage

    Dr. John Cannell of the Vitamin D Council site also calls these "Gilchrest Fractures" after a dermatologist:
        http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/newsletter/2006-nov.shtml [vitamindcouncil.org]
    """
    Your son had what I call a "Gilchrest fracture." About 30 years ago, dermatologists like Barbara Gilchrest at Boston University, began telling Americans, including children, to stay out of the sun, lather on the sunblock, and to "drink milk" if they are concerned about vitamin D. The problem is that your son would have to drink at least 40 glasses of milk a day to get enough vitamin D if he followed her sun-avoidance advice and it sounds like he did.
        Gilchrest fractures are vitamin D deficiency fractures in healthy people that occur after normal activities. Two studies have clearly linked such fractures to low vitamin D levels. A recent Finnish study found Gilchrest fractures to be almost four times more likely in young soldiers with vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml (75 nmol/L). An earlier study of Israeli soldiers showed the same thing. The surprising thing about both studies was none of the men were obviously vitamin D deficient, indicating—once again—that current lower limits of vitamin D blood levels are set too low and that serum 25(OH)D levels should be maintained at 50–80 ng/ml, year-round. [Ruohola JP, et al. Association between serum 25(OH)D concentrations and bone stress fractures in Finnish young men. J Bone Miner Res. 2006 Sep;21(9):1483–8. Givon U, et al. Stress fractures in the Israeli defense forces from 1995 to 1996. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2000 Apr;(373):227–32.]
        The rates of Gilchrest fractures, even in young people, have been steadily increasing over the last thirty years, since dermatologists have been handing out their pathological advice. For example, the incidence of fractured wrists in American kids went up 32% in boys and 56% in girls between the years 1970–2000. [Khosla S, et al. Incidence of childhood distal forearm fractures over 30 years: a population-based study. JAMA. 2003 Sep 17;290(11):1479–85.]
        A study in Great Britain showed a clear latitudinal variation with the lowest fracture rates in sunnier southeast England and the highest rates in of Gilchrest fractures in Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. [Cooper C, et al. Epidemiology of childhood fractures in Britain: a study using the general practice research database. J Bone Miner Res. 2004 Dec;19(12):1976–81.]
        The good news is that your son only suffered a broken foot by following Professor Gilchrest's advice. As you will see below, others have lost their lives. ...
        All this leaves us with a question, "Are physicians responsible for their advice?" When dermatologists or other physicians subvert the vitamin D steroid hormone system by telling patients to avoid the sun, do they assume an affirmative duty to assess and maintain the vitamin D system they have subverted? Do they have a duty to inform their patients about relevant risks of sun-avoidance? Do they have a duty to inform their patients about relevant risks of vitamin D deficiency? How many dermatologists even bother to check vitamin D levels in their pale-as-ghost patients? How many bother to advise vitamin D supplements? If they do advise supplements, how many advise enough vitamin D to compensate for lack of sunlight? These are questions for tort lawyers.
    """

  • by Paul Fernhout (109597) on Friday January 22, 2010 @04:55PM (#30864092) Homepage

    Vitamin D in the human body is produced mostly by the effect of sunlight on the skin, which creates the version called vitamin D3 (which is the best version to supplement with, usually from fish oil in gelcaps).

    Essentially, as people in industrialized countries have been spending more time indoors at home, work, or school, often at computer screens; and as people have been following well-meant advice from dermatologists to stay out of the sun; and as we all drive more instead of walk or bicycle; and as children are less allowed to roam freely outdoors through fears of stranger abductions or whatnot, we have ended up vitamin D deficient as a society. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with a variety of issues, including cancer, depression, diabetes, obesity, schizophrenia, autism, heart disease, tooth decay, asthma, allergies, osteoporosis, and even influenza. Ironically, vitamin D deficiency may be causing even more skin cancers in office workers, because being vitamin D deficient cripples some of the immune response that prevents cancer cells from getting out of control. Modern window glass has also been "improved" to let through less UV-B rays to prevent carpet fading; so now we have faded people instead. :-(

    Consider that vitamin D deficiency is related to behavioral issues like depression that can manifest themselves in different ways in children. If kids misbehaves in school, they are often denied going outside at recess into the sunshine. If kids misbehave more, they are denied being outside all summer in the sunshine because they have to go to summer school. If they are really bad eventually, then kids get set to juvenile detention and then prison where they may be mostly indoors for years. Sadly, that is a negative spiral of vitamin D deficiency. Homeschoolers at least have the option of being outdoors more and getting more sunshine.

    I wrote some on that connection here:
    "ADHD or lack of Vitamin D? Albany Free School connection?"
    http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-October/005083.html [listcultures.org]
    "I have no doubt such a play-based curriculum is a good thing and better than compulsory school for most kids. I love learner-directed education, where public schools would become more like public libraries. But, what if some of the magic with the kids labeled ADHD at the Albany Free School is that, instead of getting Ritalin, that kids who have been labeled are allowed to play outdoors in the sunlight a lot? Especially African American kids in that more northern area of the USA who will struggle more with getting enough Vitamin D at that lattitude? The Free School has an outdoor courtyard at the school kids can use when they want, and they allow kids to go to the nearby parks, plus they have some rural lands they go on field trips too."

  • It is possible that some of this vitamin D deficiency disaster could have been prevented with more information sharing. As I wrote here:
    http://listcultures.org/pipermail/p2presearch_listcultures.org/2009-October/005081.html [listcultures.org]
    """
    Ryan pointed out to me the University of Wisconsin has patents related to Vitamin D. So, were people perhaps denied Vitamin D as an example of a public institution being funded by public dollars privatizing research results? Same as I can't easily see that study above on

  • by thetoadwarrior (1268702) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:25PM (#30864468) Homepage
    Parents, yet again, are the true problem. If these kids weren't gaming, they'd be chatting on the computer or watching tv or just playing in their bedroom because parents won't let them outside since there are paedophiles on every street corner. Having both parents working also stops kids from getting out because no one is there to watch them when they're out or even to ensure they go out rather than stay inside all day.
  • by stewbacca (1033764) on Friday January 22, 2010 @05:34PM (#30864566)

    ...because they live in England.

  • Explains a lot. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tak_1 (1684082) on Friday January 22, 2010 @09:45PM (#30866422)
    A Trip to the doctor recently found that my blood work was great, except for a SERIOUS vitamin D shortage. Now I have to take 2000Mg of Vitamin D a day. Considering my free time consists of "World of Warcraft" this isn't too surprising. But I'm 45 years old. When I was a kid I had an actual life and a decent diet. If my vitamin D levels had been this low at 12, my bones would have been like soft cheese. How hard is it to force some vitamins into your kid? We were raised by a single parent, and somehow she still managed to make us take a multi-vitamin. I can't get over the fact that there are people who would never dream of missing an oil change on their car who can't see to it that their kid gets a vitamin supplement every day.

Don't sweat it -- it's only ones and zeros. -- P. Skelly

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