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August 1965

Osteomalacia Among the Bedouin of the Negev Desert: Clinical and Biochemical Observations

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine A, Hadassah Hebrew University Medical School and Hospital, Jerusalem, The Department of Medicine A, Assaf Harofe Government Hospital, Zrifin, and the Bedouin Clinic of the Ministry of Health, Beer Sheba. Dr. Groen holds a grant from the Lasker Foundation for the Study of Man. Professor and Head of Department of Medicine "A," Hadassah Hebrew University Hospital and Medical School (Dr. Groen); Junior Physician and Instructor in Medicine, same department (Dr. Ben-Ishay); Head of Department of Medicine "A," Asaf Harofe Government Hospital, Sarafend, Israel (Dr. Alkan); Junior Physician, same department (Dr. Eshchar); Head of Medical Services for the Bedouin of the Ministry of Health, Beersheva, Israel (Dr. Ben Assa).

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(2):195-204. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870020035010

Etiology  OSTEOMALACIA, considered the analogous condition of rickets in adults, is a clinical syndrome in which new bone matrix, though being formed, shows a defective calcification.20 The disease is now well defined by its clinical, roentgenological, and biochemical symptoms and signs. As for its pathogenesis, two main theories prevail at present. According to one investigator it is caused by a combination of factors, eg, lack of sunlight and lack of dietary calcium and vitamin D due to their inadequate absorption from the bowel and/or excessive loss in prolonged lactation and numerous pregnancies. According to the second concept, osteomalacia is the specific result of vitamin D deficiency attributable to the combination of a lack of sunlight and a low vitamin D intake, a defective absorption or utilization, or an excessive loss of the vitamin. Calcum deficiency may occur simultaneously and increase the severity of the ensuing syndrome. It is not