Monday, June 10, 2013

Paleo-pathology, the Medici children and rickets: They needed to play outside more!

Rickets in the news....   We think of vitamin deficiency as being a problem in the developing world, not a disease of the wealthy.  But according to a story I heard today on PRI's: The World, rickets affected the wealthy aristocratic family of the Renaissance - the Medici's whose children suffered from this disease and died young.

1586 portrait of the Grand Duchess of Tuscany and her son don Filippino de’ Medici (Photo:Galleria degli Uffizi, Firenze)

From the PRI website: "there’s a new insight into what life was like during the Italian Renaissance.  The insight comes from a team of Italian researchers that examined the skeletons of nine children of the Medici family who died in the 16th century."  Interestingly, "it turns out that serious malnutrition in the form of a Vitamin D deficiency was an unintended consequence of the Medicis privileged 16th century upbringing."  Weird, right?  Can you think of how a privileged lifestyle might PROMOTE rickets?  Read the article to see if you are right...

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