Blood Serum Calcium in Leprosy

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The well known bone absorption in leprosy has naturally suggested the possibility of a disturbance of calcium metabolism. Underhill, Honeij and Bogert (1) investigated the calcium equilibrium in two lepers and reported an apparent retention of calcium greater in the more advanced case. The French observers, Boulay and Leger (2), after studying three lepers reported a marked retention of calcium in the less advanced and a notable loss of calcium in the far advanced case. The contradiction of the findings of the two sets of investigators is noteworthy. Boulay and Leger (2) suggested that the primary retention they found might be compensatory and prophylactic. In the early period “the organism seeks to create a reserve of the calcium in order to meet the hyperexcretion which is later gradually established in a continuously increasing degree up to the final period of the disease (represented by our third patient).”