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Rickets rise blamed on poor summer

Scientists have claimed that an increase in rickets among BritishAsians could be down to the dismal summer weather seen in the UK thisyear.

A deficiency of vitamin D is known to cause the bone disorder, which ison the rise among people of South Asian descent due to a lack ofsunshine, according to skin experts at the University of Manchester.

Lesley Rhodes, professor of dermatological sciences at the university,said: "The past two summers have seen below-average levels of sunlightin the UK and this has coincided with a resurgence of rickets,especially among those of South Asian descent.

"The pigment in darker skin reduces some effects of sunlight so thatlarger amounts are required to produce adequate vitamin D levels,putting this group of the population at greater risk."

Professor Rhodes said that very little was known about the "sunlightrequirements" of South Asian people, but added that studies wereongoing to determine how much sunlight is required for lighter-skinnedpeople to make adequate amounts of vitamin D in their skin.

Researchers in the university's Photobiology Unit are seeking healthyvolunteers whose families originate from India, Pakistan or Bangladesh,and are living in Greater Manchester, to take part in the study.

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