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Soft skull bones tied to vitamin D deficiency

Softening of the skull bones in normal-appearing newborns is tied to a vitamin D deficiency in the womb.

Soft skull bones tied to vitamin D deficiency

Softening of the skull bones in normal-appearing newborns is tied to a vitamin D deficiency in the womb. Soft skull bones, also known as craniotabes, in normal newborns is usually regarded as no cause for alarm, but it may put the infants at a risk of developing type 1 diabetes, reduced bone mass during childhood, and lowered immunity. To investigate the role of vitamin D deficiency in the development of craniotabes in normal infants, Japanese researchers screened 1120 normal infants at 5–7 days of age. Craniotabes was considered present when the skull bones were reversibly bent by application of pressure by the examiner's fingers. It was found that 246 babies, i.e. 22 per cent, had craniotabes. The highest rate occurred among infants born between April and May, and the lowest in those born in November. Vitamin D production in the body is triggered by sunlight, and the findings of this study show that the rate of craniotabes is influenced by exposure to daylight approximately four months prior to delivery. These results suggest that craniotabes in normal babies is associated with vitamin D deficiency in utero, and the deficiency persists at one month in many babies, especially when breast-fed. Therefore, it is recommended that breast-fed infants with craniotabes be treated with vitamin D, or preferably, all pregnant women be administered vitamin D.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism,
February 2008
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