Publications by authors named "Jane E Buikstra"

23 Publications

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Thundering hoofbeats and dazzling zebras: A model integrating current rare disease perspectives in paleopathology.

Int J Paleopathol 2021 May 10;33:196-208. Epub 2021 May 10.

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, PO Box 872402, Tempe, AZ, 85287-2402, USA. Electronic address:

Objective: The article reviews the study of rare diseases and their nomenclature, emerging government policies and initiatives, and the concerns voiced by the modern rare disease communities. An interpretive model is then presented for the bioarchaeological interpretations of individuals with paleopathological evidence of rare diseases.

Materials: In demonstration of the application of the proposed framework, we evaluate the skeletal remains of an adult female (EZ 3-7-1) excavated in the 1980s from the Middle Woodland (50BCE-CE400) context of the Elizabeth site (11PK512) in the lower Illinois Valley, USA.

Methods: We use macroscopic examination methods, as well as cementochronology, to put forth the osteobiographical profile.

Results: The skeletal manifestations observed suggests limitations of major life activities, which would have increased in severity throughout the life course of EZ 3-7-1.

Conclusions: The study of EZ 3-7-1 demonstrates how an osteobiography, centering on the lived experiences and limitations throughout a life course, can allow for a deeper appreciation for life in the past.

Significance: By considering the perspectives of the modern rare disease community in the bioarchaeological methodology, research can include the nuanced impacts of the disease on life experiences and varying societal perceptions and attitudes, as well as raising awareness and advancing contemporary perspectives on impairment and disability.

Limitations: Without ample contextual evidence, there are limitations in making conclusions regarding social identity and disability.

Suggestions For Further Research: This framework should be applied to other rare diseases in a variety of contexts to further test its functionality.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2021.04.010DOI Listing
May 2021

Cancers as rare diseases: Terminological, theoretical, and methodological biases.

Int J Paleopathol 2021 Mar 29;32:111-122. Epub 2021 Jan 29.

Arizona State University, United States. Electronic address:

Objective: Was cancer a rare disease in the past? Our objective is to consider the various terminological, theoretical, and methodological biases that may affect perceptions of the rarity of cancer in the past.

Materials And Methods: We discuss relevant malignant neoplastic biomedical and paleopathological literature and evaluate skeletal data. We selected 108 archaeological sites (n = 151 cancer cases) with published malignant neoplasms and that were amenable to calculating cancer crude prevalence. Furthermore, datasets from four medieval/postmedieval Portuguese and 12 postmedieval UK sites were used to compare age-adjusted rates for metastatic bone disease and tuberculosis.

Results: In the literature review, mean cancer crude prevalence (1.2 %; 95 % CI = 0.96-1.4) exceeded the threshold for a rare disease (RD). Age-standardized rates of MBD and TB were not markedly different in the sites surveyed.

Conclusions: Methodological, theoretical and historical factors contribute to assumptions that cancers were rare diseases. The assumption that cancers are extremely rare in the paleopathological literature was not fully supported. Cancer is a heterogeneous concept, and it is important to view it as such. If a disease is considered rare, we may fail to recognize it or dismiss it as unimportant in the past.

Significance: We present a re-evaluation of the idea that cancer is a rare disease. We present a more nuanced way of comparing rates of pathological conditions in archaeological contexts.

Limitations: Variation in the amount of useable information in published literature on malignant neoplasms.

Suggestions For Further Research: More large-scale studies of cancer in the past alongside comparative studies of cancer prevalence with other assumed rare diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.12.005DOI Listing
March 2021

Root Dentin Translucency and Forensic International Dental Database: Methodology for estimation age-at-death in adults using single-rooted teeth.

Forensic Sci Int 2020 Dec 4;317:110572. Epub 2020 Nov 4.

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe Campus, AZ, USA.

Estimation of the age-at-death in adults is essential when the identification of deceased persons with unknown identity is required in both humanitarian and judicial contexts. However, the methodologies and the results obtained can be questioned. Various efforts have been developed to adjust procedures to specific populations, always seeking the precision and accuracy of the methodologies. It is known that the estimation of the age-at-death in adults coexists with wide margins of error, due to several reasons, including but not limited to statistical problems, the size of the sample or the physiological process of aging. This research focuses on a degenerative indicator of the dentin (Root Dentin Translucency) and its combination with Periodontal Height (PH) following the Lamendin's technique for estimation of the age-at-death in adults. The main objective of this research was to demonstrate the applicability of a Bayesian model based on a Forensic International Dental Database (FIDB) that include Root Translucency Height (RTH) and PH as a method to age-at-death in adults. The conclusion of this research was that the combined both indicators become a generalizable age-at-death in adults model for all human populations, where the Bayesian method would offer optimal results in any population. In this way, those populations that do not have had the possibility of validating a specific procedure, now have the opportunity to apply a valid method for estimating age-at-death in adults to global scope.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.forsciint.2020.110572DOI Listing
December 2020

Examining variation in skeletal tuberculosis in a late pre-contact population from the eastern mountains of Peru.

Int J Paleopathol 2020 09 20;30:22-34. Epub 2020 May 20.

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Phoenix metropolitan area, AZ, United States.

Objective And Materials: This research evaluates the presence and chronology of tuberculosis (TB) in the northeastern highlands of Peru (CE 800-1535) through the analysis of osseous lesions from Pre-Contact Kuelap, Chachapoyas.

Methods: We examined macroscopic lesion morphology and distribution from the skeletal series (MNI = 207).

Results: We determined that skeletal evidence was highly consistent with advanced multifocal and spinal tuberculosis in 13 individuals. Destructive lesions of the lower thoracic and/or lumbar vertebra bodies and sacroiliac joints are evident in most cases, but we also observed lesions within the manubriosternal, hip, and knee joints. Both adult males (n = 7) and females (n = 6) present skeletal lesions from young adult to older adults, but there is only one late adolescent. Only three individuals demonstrate similar lesion distributions.

Conclusions: Variation in lesion distribution in this population-based study shows the importance of identifying extra-vertebral tuberculosis and suggests that the disease may have manifested differently than at other coastal sites. These cases confirm the presence of tuberculosis both before and after Inca occupation across this central Andean highlands region.

Significance: This evidence for the likely endemic presence of TB in the New World prior to European Contact furthers our understanding of the distribution of this infectious disease across the region as well as elucidating lesion distribution.

Limitations: The diagnosis of tuberculosis is based on skeletal lesions and it should be confirmed by molecular analysis.

Future Research: Additional examination of vertebral bodies (including juvenile remains) for evidence of earlier manifestations of infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2020.04.002DOI Listing
September 2020

Advances in the molecular detection of tuberculosis in pre-contact Andean South America.

Int J Paleopathol 2020 06 20;29:128-140. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

Department of Archaeogenetics, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Kahlaische Str 10, 07745 Jena, Germany. Electronic address:

Andean paleopathological research has significantly enhanced knowledge about the geographical distribution and evolution of tuberculosis (TB) in pre-Columbian South America. In this paper, we review the history and progress of research on ancient tuberculosis (TB) in the Andean region, focusing on the strengths and limitations of current approaches for the molecular detection of ancient pathogens, with special attention to TB. As a case study, we describe a molecular screening approach for the detection of ancient Mycobacterium tuberculosis in individuals from Late Intermediate Period (1000-1400 CE) contexts at the site of Huari, Peru. We evaluate 34 commingled human vertebrae and combine morphological assessments of pathology with high throughput sequencing and a non-selective approach to ancient pathogen DNA screening. Our method enabled the simultaneous detection of ancient M. tuberculosis DNA and an evaluation of the environmental microbial composition of each sample. Our results show that despite the dominance of environmental DNA, molecular signatures of M. tuberculosis were identified in eight vertebrae, six of which had no observable skeletal pathology classically associated tuberculosis infection. This screening approach will assist in the identification of candidate samples for downstream genomic analyses. The method permits higher resolution disease identification in cases where pathology may be absent, or where the archaeological context may necessitate a broad differential diagnosis based on morphology alone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.12.006DOI Listing
June 2020

Evidence of Skeletal Fluorosis at the Ray Site, Illinois, USA: a pathological assessment and discussion of environmental factors.

Int J Paleopathol 2019 09 20;26:48-60. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

Center for Bioarchaeological Research, Arizona State University, United States.

Objective: To carefully assess skeletal lesions in close environment context in order to evaluate whether skeletal fluorosis was present in individuals living in the prehistoric Midwest, USA.

Materials: Skeletal remains from minimally 117 individuals recovered from the Ray Site, located in western Illinois (USA) and dated to the Middle/early Late Woodland periods (50 BC-AD 400).

Methods: Macroscopic evaluation of all recovered skeletal elements.

Results: Eight individuals display a constellation of abnormal bony changes, including osteosclerosis, a high frequency of fractures, and dental abnormalities.

Conclusions: The osteosclerotic changes along with the naturally high fluoride content of west central Illinois soil and water suggests the presence of skeletal fluorosis.

Significance: This is the first report of skeletal fluorosis from archaeologically recovered human remains from North America.

Limitations: The ambiguous nature of the skeletal changes associated with fluorosis, especially in the less severe stages of the disease, renders determination of the etiology difficult.

Suggestions For Further Research: The continuation of paleopathological investigations of fluoride toxicity within archaeological communities recovered from this region with emphasis on the incorporation of biomedical and environmental data. Furthermore, complementary analyses of the chemical composition and the histological presentation of the skeletons could provide support for this diagnosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2019.05.003DOI Listing
September 2019

Note From the Editors-in-Chief.

Int J Paleopathol 2019 03 1;24:A1. Epub 2018 Dec 1.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2018.11.005DOI Listing
March 2019

Editor-in-Chief's Comment on the Paleo-oncology Special Issue.

Authors:
Jane E Buikstra

Int J Paleopathol 2018 06 23;21. Epub 2018 Mar 23.

Arizona State University, United States. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2018.03.003DOI Listing
June 2018

Introduction: Scientific rigor in paleopathology.

Int J Paleopathol 2017 12 13;19:80-87. Epub 2017 Oct 13.

Arizona State University, United States.

This introductory chapter to the Special Issue on "Scientific Rigor in Paleopathology" serves to orient and introduce the chapters that follow through a detailed consideration of paleopathology as a 21 century intellectual field. In this vein, we first make the significant point that paleopathology is a profoundly interdisciplinary endeavor, encompassing aspects of the biomedical science, the humanities, and the social sciences. Thus, we suggest that no one practitioner can personally command the range of skills necessary for a 21 century paleopathologist. To maintain rigor in differential diagnosis, we emphasize collaborations and consider key concepts that illustrate the basic knowledge from each of these fields that any paleopathologist should command. We then address the manner in which disease diagnosis should proceed as a scientific endeavor. To illustrate scientific rigor in differential diagnosis, we present two case studies drawn from 1970s contributions by Cook and by Buikstra. Finally, we introduce Chapters 2-6, which address differential diagnosis in contexts ranging from specific conditions (scurvy, trepanation) to broader field-wide considerations (paleoparasitology, historical paleopathology, imaging, animal paleopathology).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2017.08.005DOI Listing
December 2017

Overlapping genetic pathways in the skeletal dysplasias of a middle woodland individual: A case study.

Int J Paleopathol 2017 09 21;18:98-107. Epub 2017 Jun 21.

Department of Anthropology and Middle Eastern Cultures/Cobb Institute of Archaeology, Mississippi State University, P.O. Box AR, MS, 39762, USA. Electronic address:

Studies of interacting/overlapping genetic skeletal disorders are rare for populations today, but even more so for archaeological contexts. The skeletal remains of an adult female (EZ 3-7-1) were excavated in the 1980s from the Middle Woodland (50BC-AD400) context of the Elizabeth site (11PK512) in the lower Illinois Valley (LIV), USA. Reported here are the standard score (z-score) comparisons of the measured skeletal differences of EZ 3-7-1 with a reference sample and a re-analysis of the individual's pathological changes, with special consideration placed on refining the disease diagnosis. The impressive preservation and meticulous recovery of these skeletal remains have provided the opportunity to identify the first and earliest archaeological example of an individual (EZ 3-7-1) with a combined genetic skeletal dysplasia, Leri-Weill dyschondrosteosis and achondroplasia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2017.06.001DOI Listing
September 2017

Contesting the massacre at Nataruk.

Nature 2016 11;539(7630):E8-E10

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona 85287, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature19778DOI Listing
November 2016

Pre-Columbian tuberculosis in Tierra del Fuego? Discussion of the paleopathological and molecular evidence.

Int J Paleopathol 2015 Dec 17;11:92-101. Epub 2015 Nov 17.

Instituto de Bioantropología, Museo de la Naturaleza y el Hombre, Tenerife, Islas Canarias, Spain.

This work contributes to ongoing discussions about the nature of tuberculosis in the Western Hemisphere prior to the time of European contact. Our example, from the extreme south of South America was, at the time of our study, without firm temporal association or molecular characterization. In Tierra del Fuego, Constantinescu (1999) briefly described vertebral bone lesions compatible with TB in an undated skeleton from Myren 1 site (Chile). The remains of Myren are estimated to represent a man between 18 and 23 years old at the time of death. The objectives of this research are to extend this description, to present molecular results, to establish a radiocarbon date, and to report stable isotopic values for the remains. We provide further description of the remains, including tuberculosis-like skeletal pathology. Radiocarbon dating of 640±20 years BP attributes this individual to the precontact fourteenth-fifteenth centuries. Isotopic ratios for nitrogen and carbon from bone collagen suggest a mixed diet. Molecular results were positive for the rpoB quantitative PCR (qPCR) assays but negative for two independent IS6110 and IS1081 qPCR assays. Further testing using genomic methods to target any mycobacteria for specific identification are needed.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2015.09.003DOI Listing
December 2015

Screening ancient tuberculosis with qPCR: challenges and opportunities.

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 2015 Jan;370(1660):20130622

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA

The field of ancient DNA (aDNA) has rapidly accelerated in recent years as a result of new methods in next-generation sequencing, library preparation and targeted enrichment. Such research is restricted, however, by the highly variable DNA preservation within different tissues, especially when isolating ancient pathogens from human remains. Identifying positive candidate samples via quantitative PCR (qPCR) for downstream procedures can reduce reagent costs, increase capture efficiency and maximize the number of sequencing reads of the target. This study uses four qPCR assays designed to target regions within the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTBC) to examine 133 human skeletal samples from a wide geographical and temporal range, identified by the presence of skeletal lesions typical of chronic disseminated tuberculosis. Given the inherent challenges working with ancient mycobacteria, strict criteria must be used and primer/probe design continually re-evaluated as new data from bacteria become available. Seven samples tested positive for multiple MTBC loci, supporting them as strong candidates for downstream analyses. Using strict and conservative criteria, qPCR remains a fast and effective screening tool when compared with screening by more expensive sequencing and enrichment technologies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2013.0622DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4275897PMC
January 2015

Pre-Columbian mycobacterial genomes reveal seals as a source of New World human tuberculosis.

Nature 2014 Oct 20;514(7523):494-7. Epub 2014 Aug 20.

1] Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Tübingen, Ruemelinstraße 23, 72070 Tübingen, Germany [2] Senckenberg Centre for Human Evolution and Palaeoenvironment, University of Tübingen, Tübingen 72070, Germany [3] Max Planck Institute for Science and History, Khalaische Straße 10, 07745 Jena, Germany.

Modern strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis from the Americas are closely related to those from Europe, supporting the assumption that human tuberculosis was introduced post-contact. This notion, however, is incompatible with archaeological evidence of pre-contact tuberculosis in the New World. Comparative genomics of modern isolates suggests that M. tuberculosis attained its worldwide distribution following human dispersals out of Africa during the Pleistocene epoch, although this has yet to be confirmed with ancient calibration points. Here we present three 1,000-year-old mycobacterial genomes from Peruvian human skeletons, revealing that a member of the M. tuberculosis complex caused human disease before contact. The ancient strains are distinct from known human-adapted forms and are most closely related to those adapted to seals and sea lions. Two independent dating approaches suggest a most recent common ancestor for the M. tuberculosis complex less than 6,000 years ago, which supports a Holocene dispersal of the disease. Our results implicate sea mammals as having played a role in transmitting the disease to humans across the ocean.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature13591DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4550673PMC
October 2014

EIC Editorial: Introducing the Paleoparasitology Issue.

Authors:
Jane E Buikstra

Int J Paleopathol 2013 Sep;3(3):139

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.10.003DOI Listing
September 2013

Welcome to the International Journal of Paleopathology.

Authors:
Jane E Buikstra

Int J Paleopathol 2011 Mar 13;1(1):1-3. Epub 2011 Apr 13.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2011.03.001DOI Listing
March 2011

Tuberculosis and leprosy in perspective.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2009 ;140 Suppl 49:66-94

School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA.

Two of humankind's most socially and psychologically devastating diseases, tuberculosis and leprosy, have been the subject of intensive paleopathological research due to their antiquity, a presumed association with human settlement and subsistence patterns, and their propensity to leave characteristic lesions on skeletal and mummified remains. Despite a long history of medical research and the development of effective chemotherapy, these diseases remain global health threats even in the 21st century, and as such, their causative agents Mycobacterium tuberculosis and M. leprae, respectively, have recently been the subject of molecular genetics research. The new genome-level data for several mycobacterial species have informed extensive phylogenetic analyses that call into question previously accepted theories concerning the origins and antiquity of these diseases. Of special note is the fact that all new models are in broad agreement that human TB predated that in other animals, including cattle and other domesticates, and that this disease originated at least 35,000 years ago and probably closer to 2.6 million years ago. In this work, we review current phylogenetic and biogeographic models derived from molecular biology and explore their implications for the global development of TB and leprosy, past and present. In so doing, we also briefly review the skeletal evidence for TB and leprosy, explore the current status of these pathogens, critically consider current methods for identifying ancient mycobacterial DNA, and evaluate coevolutionary models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.21185DOI Listing
February 2010

Trauma-induced changes in diaphyseal cross-sectional geometry in two elites from Copan, Honduras.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2005 Dec;128(4):791-800

Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.

This research utilized biplanar radiographs to estimate cross-sectional biomechanical properties for the skeletal remains of two elite individuals from the Early Classic period (ca. AD 400-600) of Copan, Honduras: K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' (Hunal Burial 95-2), founder of the Early Classic Dynasty at Copan, and the primary female interment (Burial 37-8) from the Motmot tomb. Both individuals survived severe blunt-force insults to the right forearm. Gross skeletal examination and evaluation of the radiographs for K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' suggest that these traumas resulted from, at least in part, disuse atrophy of the affected forearm skeletal elements. Gross and radiologic evaluation of the Motmot remains countered the possibility that she suffered from a metabolic bone disease, and confirmed the presence of a well-healed parry fracture of the right ulna. The degree of asymmetry in cross-sectional biomechanical properties reported here for K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' is likely the secondary result of the described blunt-force trauma. The results obtained for the principal Motmot interment are not as dramatic, but suggest subtle changes to humeral cross-sectional geometry subsequent to trauma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20210DOI Listing
December 2005

On the origin of American tuberculosis.

Clin Infect Dis 2005 Aug 24;41(4):515-8. Epub 2005 Jun 24.

Veterans Affairs Maryland Health Care System, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

After more than a century of debate, it is now firmly established that tuberculosis existed in the New World before the arrival of Columbus. What is not yet known is how or when, exactly, the infection reached the Americas, how it spread from one continent to the other, and whether the pre-Columbian infection was caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis or Mycobacterium bovis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/432013DOI Listing
August 2005

Research trends in human osteology: a content analysis of papers published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2005 Sep;128(1):98-109

Department of Anthropology, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Carbondale, Illinois 62901, USA.

This paper explores recent research trends in human osteology, based on articles published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology (AJPA) during two 5-year intervals: 1980--1984 and 1996--2000. Topical "visibility" is measured in terms of article counts; "impact" is estimated through citation indices. Our results indicate that human osteologists continue to publish a range of methodological, analytical, and descriptive research papers that address a broad array of subjects. Analytical articles are cited more frequently than descriptive articles and thus have higher impact, reflecting the discipline's continued commitment to problem-oriented research. Differences in publication patterns exist between scholars during early and later stages of their careers. Articles published by students and Ph.D.s within 2 years of their doctoral degree are more frequently descriptive than analytical, when compared to people with longer career histories. Topics such as pathology, forensic anthropology, and biodistance modeling remain highly visible, while articles on the dentition have waned. An increase in functional research directed toward the postcranial skeleton is also reflected in our data. While continued visibility for morphological investigations is apparent, the impact of recently developed applications in bone chemistry and molecular anthropology is amply documented in our data, particularly during the more recent survey years.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20088DOI Listing
September 2005

Anemia and childhood mortality: latitudinal patterning along the coast of pre-Columbian Peru.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2005 Jun;127(2):152-69

Department of Anthropology, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405, USA.

Hrdlicka ([1914] Smithson. Inst. Misc. Collect. 61:1-69) reported that pre-Columbian skeletal material from the coastal lowland Andean region exhibited a high frequency of porotic hyperostosis, a pathological condition of bone that generally is thought to indicate childhood anemia. While subsequent studies tended to reinforce this conclusion, factors implicated in the condition have yet to be fully explored in the region as a whole. This study explores regional and intravalley variation as one step in establishing biocultural variables that increase the apparent risk of childhood anemia. The study sample includes 1,465 individuals: 512 from Peruvian collections housed at the Field Museum of Natural History, and 953 from systematically excavated contexts from Moquegua, Peru. Environmental stressors, such as parasites and disease, rather than specific dietary practices were found to be more likely associated with childhood anemia in these coastal Andean samples. The study supports cribra orbitalia as an earlier expression of porotic hyperostosis and suggests that porotic hyperostosis, as recorded here, cannot be easily dismissed as a result of cranial shape modification. No clear temporal patterns were observed. Finally, the study establishes that comparing data for children and adults can reveal the relative association between childhood anemia and mortality. Childhood mortality associated with anemia was elevated where the presence of tuberculosis or tuberculosis-like conditions was more common and the presence of water-borne pathogens was negligible. In contrast, those buried at lower altitudes, closer to the coast, and consuming mainly marine resources were less likely to die in childhood with anemia than in the other contexts studied.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.10431DOI Listing
June 2005

Field paleoradiography of skeletal material from the early classic period of Copan, Honduras.

Can Assoc Radiol J 2004 Oct;55(4):246-53

Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Objective: To perform a radiographic evaluation of the skeletal remains of 2 elite individuals from the Early Classic Period of Copan, namely, K'inich Yax K'uk' Mo' (Hunal Burial 95-2), founder of the Early Classic Dynasty, and the primary female interment from the Motmot tomb (Burial 37-8). Our aims were to document pathologies and subsequent changes in long-bone density resulting from physiologic or functional adaptations, such as disuse atrophy.

Methods: Standardized anteroposterior and mediolateral radiographs were obtained using a portable veterinary x-ray unit and Polaroid film. Orthogonal radiographs were used to estimate the cross-sectional biomechanical properties of the long bones.

Results: In the case of Yax K'uk' Mo', it appears that there was trauma-induced disuse atrophy of the right forearm resulting in an accelerated loss of cortical bone in the right humerus relative to the left humerus. The restructuring of this individual's left shoulder girdle probably resulted in radical structural and functional changes. Although this fracture could have contributed to degenerative changes and paralysis, there was no evidence of disuse atrophy in the left upper limb. The gracile Motmot skeleton showed no signs of osteoporosis, osteopenia or disuse atrophy.

Conclusions: The use of radiography in the assessment of the skeletal material described here vastly increased our ability to document the pathologic processes that affected these centuries-old individuals during their lifetimes. In addition, the use of radiographs allowed us to expand our understanding of how these processes may have affected biomechanics and, subsequently, long-bone geometric properties.
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October 2004

Pathoecology of Chiribaya parasitism.

Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 2003 ;98 Suppl 1:195-205

The excavations of Chiribaya culture sites in the Osmore drainage of southern Peru focused on the recovery of information about prehistoric disease, including parasitism. The archaeologists excavated human, dog, guinea pig, and llama mummies. These mummies were analyzed for internal and external parasites. The results of the analysis and reconstruction of prehistoric life from the excavations allows us to interpret the pathoecology of the Chiribaya culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/s0074-02762003000900029DOI Listing
August 2003