Publications by authors named "Susan Pfeiffer"

25 Publications

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Small body size phenotypes among Middle and Later Stone Age Southern Africans.

J Hum Evol 2021 Mar 8;152:102943. Epub 2021 Feb 8.

Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire, CB2 3QG, UK; Department of Anthropology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, N6A 5C2, UK; Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Kahlaische Str. 10, Jena, 07745, Germany.

Modern humans originated between 300 and 200 ka in structured populations throughout Africa, characterized by regional interaction and diversity. Acknowledgment of this complex Pleistocene population structure raises new questions about the emergence of phenotypic diversity. Holocene Southern African Later Stone Age (LSA) skeletons and descendant Khoe-San peoples have small adult body sizes that may reflect long-term adaptation to the Cape environment. Pleistocene Southern African adult body sizes are not well characterized, but some postcranial elements are available. The most numerous Pleistocene postcranial skeletal remains come from Klasies River Mouth on the Southern Cape coast of South Africa. We compare the morphology of these skeletal elements with globally sampled Holocene groups encompassing diverse adult body sizes and shapes (n = 287) to investigate whether there is evidence for phenotypic patterning. The adult Klasies River Mouth bones include most of a lumbar vertebra, and portions of a left clavicle, left proximal radius, right proximal ulna, and left first metatarsal. Linear dimensions, shape characteristics, and cross-sectional geometric properties of the Klasies River Mouth elements were compared using univariate and multivariate methods. Between-group principal component analyses group Klasies River Mouth elements, except the proximal ulna, with LSA Southern Africans. The similarity is driven by size. Klasies River Mouth metatarsal cross-sectional geometric properties indicate similar torsional and compressive strength to those from LSA Southern Africans. Phenotypic expressions of small-bodied adult morphology in Marine Isotope Stages 5 and 1 suggest this phenotype may represent local convergent adaptation to life in the Cape.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhevol.2020.102943DOI Listing
March 2021

Disease as a Factor in the African Archaeological Record.

Authors:
Susan Pfeiffer

Afr Archaeol Rev 2020 Aug 25:1-4. Epub 2020 Aug 25.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 19 Ursula Franklin Street, Toronto, M5S 2S2 Canada.

It is clear from their natural histories that various kinds of diseases would have affected African communities in the distant past. Climatic factors may have reduced the impact of plague-like epidemics across much of the continent. Because of the link between environment and disease vectors, the presence of a disease may have been a stimulus for some group movements in the African past. Evidence of the direct effects of diseases on human populations is generally elusive. Paleopathologists can identify some endemic diseases, but evidence from Africa is sparse. Paleogenomics research can also identify some (not all) endemic and epidemic disease vectors. Recent African aDNA discoveries of inherited resistance to endemic diseases suggest that future paleogenomic research may help us learn much more about the impact of diseases on the African past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10437-020-09405-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7445818PMC
August 2020

A Late Holocene community burial area: Evidence of diverse mortuary practices in the Western Cape, South Africa.

PLoS One 2020 16;15(4):e0230391. Epub 2020 Apr 16.

Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa.

Over several decades, human skeletal remains from at least twelve individuals (males, females, children and infants) were recovered from a small area (ca. 10 x 10 m) on the eastern shore of Table Bay, Cape Town, near the mouth of the Diep River where it empties into the sea. Two groups, each comprising four individuals, appear to have been buried in single graves. Unusually for this region, several skeletons were interred with large numbers of ostrich eggshell (OES) beads. In some cases, careful excavation enabled recovery of segments of beadwork. One collective burial held items including an ostrich egg-shell flask, a tortoise carapace bowl, a fragmentary bone point or linkshaft and various lithic artefacts. This group appears to have died together and been buried expediently. A mid-adult woman from this group sustained perimortem blunt-force trauma to her skull, very likely the cause of her death. This case adds to the developing picture of interpersonal violence associated with a period of subsistence intensification among late Holocene foragers. Radiocarbon dates obtained for nine skeletons may overlap but given the uncertainties associated with marine carbon input, we cannot constrain the date range more tightly than 1900-1340 calBP (at 2 sigma). The locale appears to have been used by a community as a burial ground, perhaps regularly for several generations, or on a single catastrophic occasion, or some combination thereof. The evidence documents regional and temporal variation in burial practices among late Holocene foragers of the south-western Cape.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0230391PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7161951PMC
July 2020

The bioarchaeology of mid-Holocene pastoralist cemeteries west of Lake Turkana, Kenya.

Archaeol Anthropol Sci 2019 1;11(11):6221-6241. Epub 2019 Nov 1.

1Department of Anthropology, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY 11794-4364 USA.

Early herders in eastern Africa built elaborate megalithic cemeteries ~ 5000 BP overlooking what is now Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya. At least six 'pillar sites' were constructed during a time of rapid change: cattle, sheep, and goats were introduced to the basin as the lake was shrinking at the end of the African Humid Period. Cultural changes at this time include new lithic and ceramic technologies and the earliest monumentality in eastern Africa. Isolated human remains previously excavated from pillar sites east of Lake Turkana seemed to indicate that pillar site platforms were ossuaries for secondary burials. Recent bioarchaeological excavations at four pillar sites west of the lake have now yielded ≥49 individuals, most from primary and some from secondary interments, challenging earlier interpretations. Here we describe the mortuary cavities, and burial contexts, and included items such as adornments from Lothagam North, Lothagam West, Manemanya, and Kalokol pillar sites. In doing so, we reassess previous hypotheses regarding pillar site construction, use, and inter-site variability. We also present the first osteological analyses of skeletons buried at these sites. Although the human remains are fragmentary, they are nevertheless informative about the sex, age, and body size of the deceased and give evidence for health and disease processes. Periosteal moulds of long bone midshafts ( = 34 elements) suggest patterns of terrestrial mobility. Pillar site deposits provide important new insights into early herder lifeways in eastern Africa and the impact of the transition to pastoralism on past human populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12520-019-00914-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6941650PMC
November 2019

Ontogenetic changes to bone microstructure in an archaeologically derived sample of human ribs.

J Anat 2020 03 15;236(3):448-462. Epub 2019 Nov 15.

Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, ON, Canada.

There is considerable variation in the gross morphology and tissue properties among the bones of human infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Using 18 known-age individuals (n  = 8, n  = 9, n  = 1; birth to 21 years old), from a well-documented cemetery collection, Spitalfields Christ Church, London, UK, this study explores growth-related changes in cortical and trabecular bone microstructure. Micro-CT scans of mid-shaft middle thoracic ribs are used for quantitative analysis. Results are then compared to previously quantified conventional histomorphometry of the same sample. Total area (Tt.Ar), cortical area (Ct.Ar), cortical thickness (Ct.Th), and the major (Maj.Dm) and minor (Min.Dm) diameters of the rib demonstrate positive correlations with age. Pore density (Po.Dn) increases, but age-related changes to cortical porosity (Ct.Po) appear to be non-linear. Trabecular thickness (Tb.th) and trabecular separation (Tb.Sp) increase with age, whereas trabecular bone pattern factor (Tb.Pf), structural model index (SMI), and connectivity density (Conn.D) decrease with age. Sex-based differences were not identified for any of the variables included in this study. Some samples display clear evidence of diagenetic alteration without corresponding changes in radiopacity, which compromises the reliability of bone mineral density (BMD) data in the study of past populations. Cortical porosity data are not correlated with two-dimensional measures of osteon population density (OPD). This suggests that unfilled resorption spaces contribute more significantly to cortical porosity than do the Haversian canals of secondary osteons. Continued research using complementary imaging techniques and a wide array of histological variables will increase our understanding of age- and sex-specific ontogenetic patterns within and among human populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/joa.13116DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7018627PMC
March 2020

Diet and adult age-at-death among mobile foragers: A synthesis of bioarcheological methods.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2019 09 2;170(1):131-147. Epub 2019 Jul 2.

Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objectives: The research explores whether the combined study of cortical bone histology, bone morphology, and dietary stable isotopes can expand insights into past human health and adaptations, particularly dietary sufficiency and life span.

Materials And Methods: Midthoracic rib cortices from 54 South African Late Holocene adult skeletons (28 M, 24 F, two sex undetermined) are assessed by transmitted-light microscopy for cross-sectional area measurements, osteon area (On.Ar), osteon population density, and presence/absence of secondary osteon variants. Values for δ C , δ N , C dates, Southwestern and Southern Cape geographic regions, body size measures, estimated ages-at-death from both morphological and histological methods are integrated into analyses, which include Spearman correlations, χ tests and Kruskal-Wallis ANOVAs.

Results: There is reduced On.Ar variability with higher δ N (r = -.41, p = .005); rib %cortical area and δ N are negatively correlated in the Southern Cape group (r = -.60, p = .03). Osteon variants are more common in older adults; histological ages at death are significantly older than those determined from gross morphology.

Discussion: We found bone tissue relationships with measures of diet composition, but indicators of dietary adequacy remain elusive. Relationships of tissue quality and isotopes suggest that some Southern Cape adults lived long lives. Osteon variants are associated with age-at-death; some association with diet remains possible. Gross morphological methods appear to underestimate adult ages-at-death, at least among small-bodied adults.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23883DOI Listing
September 2019

Southern Africans address human remains management.

Authors:
Susan Pfeiffer

Evol Anthropol 2019 Jul 20;28(4):164-165. Epub 2019 May 20.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/evan.21782DOI Listing
July 2019

Trends in height, weight, BMI, skinfolds, and measures of overweight and obesity from 1979 through 1999 among American Indian Youth: The Akwesasne Mohawk.

Int J Obes (Lond) 2020 03 3;44(3):656-663. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University at Albany, Albany, NY, 12222, USA.

Background/objectives: Information on recent changes in overweight, obesity, and adiposity among American Indians is scarce. To assess changes in size and adiposity among American Indian youth, data from two samples of Akwesasne Mohawk youth, were compared.

Subjects/methods: Both project 1, conducted in 1979 (n = 75) and Project 2, conducted between 1996 and 1999 (n = 206), sampled youth 10-14 years of age from the Akwesasne Mohawk Reservation (aka St. Regis) that borders New York state, and Ontario and Quebec provinces. Heights, weights, and skinfold thicknesses were converted to z-scores using CDC reference values. BMI status was calculated in terms of WHO age-specific cutoffs and CDC cutoffs.

Results: z-Scores for heights differed little between projects. The between-project difference in weight z-score is twice the between-project z-score difference for height. Differences among males are larger and more often significant. Triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness are significantly greater in Project 2. The rate of overweight and obesity combined, increased 3.3-fold. In multiple regression analyses with sex, height, and age in the model, project is a significant predictor of weight and skinfolds.

Conclusions: Weight and adiposity have increased substantially from 1979 to 1996-99. Overweight and obesity became significantly more common. Given the increase in adiposity, these youth may be facing significant health risks as adults in terms of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and type II diabetes unless weight and adiposity is reduced.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-019-0349-5DOI Listing
March 2020

Use of backscattered scanning electron microscopy to quantify the bone tissues of midthoracic human ribs.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2019 02;168(2):262-278

Division of Anatomy and Histology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

Objectives: Novel information on apartheid health conditions may be obtained through the study of recent skeletal collections. Using a backscattered scanning electron microscopy (BSE-SEM) approach, this study aims to produce bone quality and tissue mineralization data for an understudied South African population from the Western Cape province.

Methods: Using BSE-SEM imaging, cortical porosity (Ct.Po), osteocyte lacunar density (Ot.Lc.Dn), and the degree of tissue mineralization were quantified in midthoracic ribs from the Kirsten Skeletal Collection. Individuals ( female = 75, male = 68, and mean age = 46.3 years) were predominantly from the South Africa Colored (SAC) population group ( SAC = 103, 72%). Full cross-sectional images of each rib were manually stitched together in Adobe Photoshop. Photomontages were imported into MATALB (Mathworks, Natick, MA) for image processing and analysis. Age-related changes in histomorphometric parameters and sex differences were examined using correlation analysis, as well as linear and nonlinear regressions.

Results: Young adult men have significantly less mineralized bone and fewer osteocyte lacunae, compared to women. Only men demonstrate a significant negative relationship between Ot.Lc.Dn and age. Average tissue mineralization decreases with age in women, while Ct.Po increases. Pore area (Po.Ar) does not vary with age, but pore density (Po.Dn) is highest in the perimenopause, when accelerated rates of bone turnover are first anticipated. Ct.Po is highest in the years following the predicted age of menopause, but levels off in the final decades of life.

Conclusions: Men and women display disparate patterns of bone aging. Systemic disenfranchisement of non-white population groups affected bone health in South Africa, and may continue to do so today. Indicators of poor bone quality are evident in the full study sample, indicating that osteoporosis and fracture risk are not just of concern to the aged white female population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.23716DOI Listing
February 2019

The people behind the samples: Biographical features of Past Hunter-Gatherers from KwaZulu-Natal who yielded aDNA.

Int J Paleopathol 2019 03 3;24:158-164. Epub 2018 Nov 3.

Centre for Anthropological Research, University of Johannesburg, P.O. Box 524, Auckland Park, 2006, South Africa.

Purpose: Skeletons sampled for ancient human DNA analysis are sometimes complete enough to provide information about the lives of the people they represent. We focus on three Later Stone Age skeletons, ca. 2000 B.P., from coastal KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, whose ancient genomes have been sequenced (Schlebusch et al., 2017).

Methods: Bioarchaeological approaches are integrated with aDNA information.

Results: All skeletons are male. Dental development shows that the boy, with prominent cribra orbitalia, died at age 6-7 years. Two men show cranial and spinal trauma, extensive tooth wear, plus mild cribra orbitalia in one.

Conclusions: Dental wear and trauma of the adults are consistent with hunter-gatherer lives. Even partial aDNA evidence contributes to sex determination. Parasitic infection such as schistosomiasis is the best-fit cause for the child's anemia in this case.

Contribution To Knowledge: The convergence of genomic and bioarchaeological approaches expands our knowledge of the past lives of a boy and two men whose lives as hunter-gatherers included episodes of trauma and disease.

Limitations: The skeletons are incomplete, in variable condition, and from poorly characterized local cultural contexts.

Suggestions For Further Research: Thorough osteobiographic analysis should accompany paleogenomic investigations. Such disciplinary collaboration enriches our understanding of the human past.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2018.10.008DOI Listing
March 2019

The Influence of Body Size and Bone Mass on Cortical Bone Histomorphometry in Human Ribs.

Anat Rec (Hoboken) 2018 10 23;301(10):1788-1796. Epub 2018 Oct 23.

Division of Anatomy and Histology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, South Africa.

This study examines the influence of human adult body size and bone mass on cortical bone histomorphometry, and explores microstructural variation in mid-thoracic ribs. The sample consists of 213 individuals ( female = 82, male = 131, mean age-at-death = 47.96 ± 15.71 years) from the Kirsten Skeletal Collection, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Maximum femur length and femur maximum head diameter are used as proxies for height and weight; total cross-sectional area, endosteal area, and cortical area are used to derive measures of bone mass. Histomorphometric variables include osteon population density (OPD) and osteon area (On.Ar). Partial correlations, controlling for age, test for significant relationships among variables. A hierarchical regression model is used to determine unique variable contributions to On.Ar and OPD. Body size measurements do not correlate with either bone mass or histomorphometric variables, suggesting that size-standardization may not be necessary in studies of rib bone microstructure. Age is the most significant factor affecting OPD, while OPD is the best predictor of On.Ar. These findings suggest that age-related secondary osteon crowding affects osteon geometry. Understanding the biological mechanisms that direct bone remodeling and determine microstructural variation is essential for interpreting histological data. Anat Rec, 301:1788-1796, 2018. © 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ar.23933DOI Listing
October 2018

A monumental cemetery built by eastern Africa's first herders near Lake Turkana, Kenya.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2018 09 20;115(36):8942-8947. Epub 2018 Aug 20.

Illinois State Geological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, IL 61820.

Monumental architecture is a prime indicator of social complexity, because it requires many people to build a conspicuous structure commemorating shared beliefs. Examining monumentality in different environmental and economic settings can reveal diverse reasons for people to form larger social units and express unity through architectural display. In multiple areas of Africa, monumentality developed as mobile herders created large cemeteries and practiced other forms of commemoration. The motives for such behavior in sparsely populated, unpredictable landscapes may differ from well-studied cases of monumentality in predictable environments with sedentary populations. Here we report excavations and ground-penetrating radar surveys at the earliest and most massive monumental site in eastern Africa. Lothagam North Pillar Site was a communal cemetery near Lake Turkana (northwest Kenya) constructed 5,000 years ago by eastern Africa's earliest pastoralists. Inside a platform ringed by boulders, a 119.5-m mortuary cavity accommodated an estimated minimum of 580 individuals. People of diverse ages and both sexes were buried, and ornaments accompanied most individuals. There is no evidence for social stratification. The uncertainties of living on a "moving frontier" of early herding-exacerbated by dramatic environmental shifts-may have spurred people to strengthen social networks that could provide information and assistance. Lothagam North Pillar Site would have served as both an arena for interaction and a tangible reminder of shared identity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1721975115DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130363PMC
September 2018

A juvenile with compromised osteogenesis provides insights into past hunter-gatherer lives.

Int J Paleopathol 2018 03 21;20:1-9. Epub 2017 Nov 21.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto M5S 2S2, Canada; Research Associate, Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch, 7701, South Africa. Electronic address:

The Late Archaic in northeastern North America (4500-2800 B.P.) pre-dates reliance on pottery and domesticated plants. It is thought to reflect a highly mobile, seasonal migratory foraging/hunting regimen. A juvenile skeleton with pervasive bone wasting and fragile jaws from the Hind Site (AdHk-1), ca. 3000 B.P., southwestern Ontario, provides evidence of the social context of her family group, including aspects of mobility and food management. The well-preserved bones and teeth are considered in bioarchaeological context. Radiographic, osteometric and cross-sectional geometric approaches to assessing musculoskeletal function are presented, plus differential diagnosis of the bone wasting condition. All bones of the probable female (aged approx. 16yr) show stunting and wasting. Wedged lower vertebral bodies, porous trabeculae, undeveloped bicondylar angles (femur) and abnormally low cortical long bone mass are consistent with chronically reduced ambulation. Few teeth remain in the dramatically resorbed alveoli; slight tooth wear and substantial calculus suggest a modified (soft) diet. Osteogenesis imperfecta type IV is the most probable etiology. The extended survival of this juvenile who may never have walked reflects collective care. The case provides evidence of a past lifeway that appears to have been organized around logistic mobility, including occupational stability and food storage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2017.11.002DOI Listing
March 2018

Sex-specific patterns in cortical and trabecular bone microstructure in the Kirsten Skeletal Collection, South Africa.

Am J Hum Biol 2018 05 7;30(3):e23108. Epub 2018 Feb 7.

Division of Anatomy and Histology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Cape Town, 8000, South Africa.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to provide bone histomorphometric reference data for South Africans of the Western Cape who likely dealt with health issues under the apartheid regime.

Methods: The 206 adult individuals ( female = 75, male = 131, mean = 47.9 ± 15.8 years) from the Kirsten Skeletal Collection, U. Stellenbosch, lived in the Cape Town metropole from the late 1960s to the mid-1990s. To study age-related changes in cortical and trabecular bone microstructure, photomontages of mid-thoracic rib cross-sections were quantitatively examined. Variables include relative cortical area (Rt.Ct.Ar), osteon population density (OPD), osteon area (On.Ar), bone volume fraction (BV/TV), trabecular number (Tb.N), trabecular thickness (Tb.Th), and trabecular spacing (Tb.Sp).

Results: All cortical variables demonstrated significant relationships with age in both sexes, with women showing stronger overall age associations. Peak bone mass was compromised in some men, possibly reflecting poor nutritional quality and/or substance abuse issues throughout adolescence and early adulthood. In women, greater predicted decrements in On.Ar and Rt.Ct.Ar suggest a structural disadvantage with age, consistent with postmenopausal bone loss. Age-related patterns in trabecular bone microarchitecture are variable and difficult to explain. Except for Tb.Th, there are no statistically significant relationships with age in women. Men demonstrate significant negative correlations between BV/TV, Tb.N, and age, and a significant positive correlation between Tb.Sp and age.

Conclusions: This research highlights sex-specific differences in patterns of age-related bone loss, and provides context for discussion of contemporary South African bone health. While the study sample demonstrates indicators of poor bone quality, osteoporosis research continues to be under-prioritized in South Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.23108DOI Listing
May 2018

The efficacy of cognitive interventions for improving cognitive performance and academic achievement in children after cancer treatment: A systematic review.

J Psychosoc Oncol 2018 Mar-Apr;36(2):238-258. Epub 2018 Jan 16.

a School of Psychology, Social Work & Social Policy , University of South Australia , Adelaide , SA , Australia.

Academic decline has been reported in children after cancer treatment, believed to be as a result of cognitive impairment. Cognitive interventions may improve both the present and future outcomes for children after cancer treatment by improving cognitive and/or academic performance. This review aimed to examine the efficacy of cognitive interventions in children who had received cancer treatment. A systematic search of the PsycInfo and PubMed databases was conducted in May 2015 to identify studies in which cognitive interventions were conducted with children who had undergone cancer treatment and were under the age of 21. Cognitive or academic outcomes needed to be reported pre- and post-intervention to meet the inclusion criteria. Eleven studies were included in this review. Computerized and home-based cognitive interventions were found to be most successful at improving cognitive skills. However, few cognitive interventions assessed academic achievement specifically. Future cognitive intervention research studies should include measures of academic achievement outcomes, because academic achievement and cognitive outcomes may differ. Future research regarding the effectiveness of early, home-based and computerized intervention is warranted.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/07347332.2017.1399954DOI Listing
August 2019

Cancer-related cognitive impairment in children.

Curr Opin Support Palliat Care 2017 03;11(1):70-75

aSchool of Psychology, Social Work & Social Policy, University of South Australia Adelaide, SA, Australia bFlinders Centre for Innovation in Cancer, Flinders University, Adelaide, SA, Australia cCancer Council South Australia, Eastwood, SA, Australia.

Purpose Of Review: To review recent research on cancer-related cognitive impairment (CRCI) in children, including correlational studies and interventions in which outcomes have included cognitive test performance, neuroimaging or academic performance.

Recent Findings: Impairments in processing speed, working memory, executive function and attention continue to be demonstrated in survivors of childhood cancers. Children receiving radiation treatment for their cancer demonstrate greater impairment than those who undergo surgery and/or chemotherapy without radiation. However, CRCI still occurs in the absence of radiation treatment, particularly in the domain of attention. Recent neuroimaging studies highlight atypical connectivity of white matter and its associations with cognitive performance. Given impairments in cognitive function and associated neuroanatomical factors, it is not surprising that survivors of childhood cancers experience academic difficulties. However, early intervention may provide one means of improving cognitive and academic outcomes.

Summary: Children with cancer are at risk of impairment in the domains of processing speed, attention, working memory and executive function. Those who receive radiation are likely to experience greater CRCI than those who do not receive this treatment. All survivors of childhood cancers should be carefully monitored to provide support and implement evidence-based interventions to ameliorate cognitive late effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SPC.0000000000000258DOI Listing
March 2017

An exploration of interpersonal violence among Holocene foragers of Southern Africa.

Authors:
Susan Pfeiffer

Int J Paleopathol 2016 Jun 24;13:27-38. Epub 2016 Jan 24.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto M5S 2S2, Canada; Department of Archaeology, University of Cape Town, Private Bag X3, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa. Electronic address:

A common assertion that humans are inherently aggressive toward one another is based in part on interpretation of anthropological evidence, including observational reports of Khoesan immediate-return hunter-gatherers of southern Africa. Bioarchaeological evidence from 446 dated South African Cape Holocene skeletons representing Khoesan ancestors provides an opportunity to review approaches to interpersonal conflict over thousands of years. A synthesis of paleodemographic and skeletal information suggests a complex picture. The pattern noted among descendant Khoesan groups of male killings via poison arrows is not discernable in ancestral demography. Published reports of healed cranial trauma are not geographically localized; most are adult men, and some can be parsimoniously explained as the outcomes of accidents. Skeletons with unhealed perimortem lesions are limited to the southwestern region, at dates around 2500 years ago; most are women and children. The perimortem skeletal trauma is contemporaneous with a period during which a transitory decline in adult stature occurs throughout the Cape but not in the region with the apparent violence. This suggests a novel, transient social pattern in that community. In sum, the disparate patterns of antemortem and perimortem trauma among these Holocene foragers support a narrative that emphasizes the situational nature, and the general rarity, of interpersonal violence.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2016.01.001DOI Listing
June 2016

Cortical bone histomorphology of known-age skeletons from the Kirsten collection, Stellenbosch university, South Africa.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2016 May 11;160(1):137-47. Epub 2016 Feb 11.

Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Cape Town, South Africa 8000.

Objectives: Normal human bone tissue changes predictably as adults get older, but substantial variability in pattern and pace remains unexplained. Information is needed regarding the characteristics of histological variables across diverse human populations.

Methods: Undecalcified thin sections from mid-thoracic ribs of 213 skeletons (138 M, 75 F, 17-82 years, mean age 48 years), are used to explore the efficacy of an established age-at-death estimation method and methodological approach (Cho et al.: J Forensic Sci 47 (2002) 12-18) and expand on it. The ribs are an age-balanced sample taken from skeletonized cadavers collected from 1967 to 1999 in South Africa, each with recorded sex, age, cause of death and government-defined population group (129 "Colored," 49 "Black," 35 "White").

Results: The Ethnicity Unknown equation performs better than those developed for European-Americans and African-Americans, in terms of accuracy and bias. A new equation based solely on the study sample does not improve accuracy. Osteon population densities (OPD) show predicted values, yet secondary osteon areas (On.Ar) are smaller than expected for non-Black subgroups. Relative cortical area (Ct.Ar/Tt.Ar) is low among non-Whites.

Conclusions: Results from this highly diverse sample show that population-specific equations do not increase estimate precision. While within the published range of error for the method (±24.44 years), results demonstrate a systematic under-aging of young adults and over-aging of older adults. The regression approach is inappropriate. The field needs fresh approaches to statistical treatment and to factors behind cortical bone remodeling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22951DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5067612PMC
May 2016

Discernment of mortality risk associated with childbirth in archaeologically derived forager skeletons.

Int J Paleopathol 2014 Dec 18;7:15-24. Epub 2014 Jun 18.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5S 2S2.

An obstetric dilemma may have been a persistent characteristic of human evolution, in which the bipedal female's pelvis is barely large enough to accommodate the birth of a large-brained neonate. Evidence in the archaeological record for mortality risk associated with childbirth is rare, especially among highly mobile, immediate return hunter-gatherer populations. This research explores the idea that if excess mortality is associated with first pregnancy, females will outnumber males among young adult skeletons. The sample is of 246 skeletons (119 males, 127 females) representing Later Stone Age (LSA) foragers of the South African Cape. Young adults are distinguished through incomplete maturation of the medial clavicle, iliac crest and vertebral bodies. With 26 women and 14 men in the young category, a higher mortality risk for women is suggested, particularly in the Southern Cape region. Body size does not distinguish mortality groups; there is evidence of a dietary protein difference between young and older women from the Southern Cape. Possible increased mortality associated with first parturition may have been linked to morphological or energetic challenges, or a combination of both. Exploration of the sex ratio among young adult skeletons provides a tool for exploring the antiquity of an important evolutionary factor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2014.05.005DOI Listing
December 2014

Fibrous dysplasia of the temporal bone: A case from the Glen Williams Ossuary, Ontario, Canada.

Int J Paleopathol 2013 Dec 26;3(4):269-273. Epub 2013 Oct 26.

University of Toronto, Department of Anthropology, 19 Russell Street, Toronto, ON, Canada M5S 2S2; University of Cape Town, Department of Archaeology, Private Bag, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa. Electronic address:

This case is an example of fibrous dysplasia (FD) of bone in an adult male cranium. The Glen Williams Ossuary is a commingled sample composed of a minimum of 309 individuals from southern Ontario, Canada, dating to the 14th century, A.D., just prior to European contact. The site represents the outcome of a Feast of the Dead, a defining ceremony among Iroquoian speaking peoples of the region. The affected individual is represented by a partial adult cranium that possesses an enlarged left temporal bone. In the absence of changes affecting the texture and composition of the outer cortex, CT allows us to visualize the internal structure of the bone in multiple locations and orientations. This procedure revealed that pathological changes were restricted to the squamous portion. Three radiographic patterns associated with FD were noted in this individual: Pagetoid/ground glass appearance, sclerotic and cystic lesions. The unique pattern of radiographic findings and solitary nature of the lesion are strong evidence for the diagnosis of FD. Differential diagnoses include: Paget's disease, intraosseous meningeoma, giant cell tumor, osteochondroma and histiocytosis X.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpp.2013.09.006DOI Listing
December 2013

Allometry of head and body size in Holocene foragers of the South African Cape.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2012 Mar 27;147(3):462-71. Epub 2012 Jan 27.

Department of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Victoria, Canada V8W 3P5.

Opportunities to assess morphological allometry in small-bodied human populations are rare. The foragers of the Later Stone Age of the South African Cape are characteristically small-bodied. Previous studies have shown that during the period of ca. 3500 to 2000 years BP (uncalibrated (14) C dates), the regional population shows transient reduced stature, body mass, and cranial size, a pattern that has been tentatively tied to demographic pressure on resources. This study examines the relationships among cranial size (centroid size) and body size (femoral length, femoral head diameter, and bi-iliac breadth) during the second half of the Holocene (N = 62). Reduced major axis regression indicates negative allometry of cranial centroid size with body size. Residuals (from ordinary least squares regression of cranial centroid size on body size) are regressed on radiocarbon date to examine temporal changes in the relationship between cranial and body size. Cranial and pelvic sizes are most conserved through time, while more ancient skeletons possess shorter femora and smaller femoral heads. The relationship between cranial centroid size and femoral length shows larger and more variable residuals at more recent dates, indicating a greater or more variable disassociation between cranial size and stature relative to more ancient skeletons. A similar, but nonsignificant relationship exists between cranial size and bi-iliac breadth. These results provide insights into the use of aspects of body size and proportionality in the assessment of health in past populations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.22024DOI Listing
March 2012

Cortical bone mass and geometry: age, sex, and intraskeletal variation in nineteenth-century Euro-Canadians.

Am J Hum Biol 2011 Jul-Aug;23(4):534-45. Epub 2011 May 20.

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Objectives: This study seeks to understand the interaction of cortical bone strength and mass within individuals and across age-groups in male and female adults from a relatively active, long-lived nineteenth-century Euro-Canadian population.

Methods: Strength and relative cortical area are measured in paired femora (weight-bearing elements) and metacarpals (manipulative elements) from 139 adults (M = 82; F = 52). Sex and age patterns are tested using linear multiple regression and analysis of covariance. Intra-individual divergence between femora and metacarpals is quantified using the Pearson residual from regression of femur on metacarpal values. Association of residuals with age is tested with curve estimation, factorial analysis of variance and X(2) tests.

Results: Strength is maintained but cortical mass declines with age. In females, the slope of cortical mass against age is steeper in the metacarpal than in the femur. However, the degree of divergence between femur and metacarpal within individuals does not increase clearly with age.

Conclusions: Age change in bone strength is systemically controlled and homeostatic, but change in bone mass may vary with limb-specific mechanical environment, particularly in females. However, the distribution of within-individual divergence between femur and metacarpal values suggests that idiosyncratic factors, rather than age, have the strongest influence on intraskeletal divergence. Attempts to reconstruct skeletal ageing in past populations may benefit from an approach that models whole-bone integrity, rather than bone mass alone, and that represents age-related variation in both weight-bearing and nonweight-bearing sites.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.21185DOI Listing
October 2011

A possible new syndrome with growth-hormone secreting pituitary adenoma, colonic polyposis, lipomatosis, lentigines and renal carcinoma in association with familial testicular germ cell malignancy: A case report.

J Med Case Rep 2007 Mar 28;1. Epub 2007 Mar 28.

Clinical Genetics Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.

Background: Germ-cell testicular cancer has not been definitively linked to any known hereditary cancer susceptibility disorder. Familial testicular cancer in the presence of other findings in affected and unaffected family members might indicate a previously-unidentified hereditary cancer syndrome.

Case Presentation: The patient was diagnosed with a left testicular seminoma at age 28, and treated with left orchiectomy followed by adjuvant cobalt radiation. His family history is significant for testicular seminoma in his son, bladder cancer in his sister, and lipomatosis in his father. His evaluation as part of an etiologic study of familial testicular cancer revealed multiple colon polyps (adenomatous, hyperplastic, and hamartomatous) first found in his 50 s, multiple lipomas, multiple hyperpigmented skin lesions, left kidney cancer diagnosed at age 64, and a growth-hormone producing pituitary adenoma with associated acromegaly diagnosed at age 64. The patient underwent genetic testing for Cowden syndrome (PTEN gene), Carney complex (PRKAR1A gene), and multiple endocrine neoplasia syndrome type 1 (MEN1 gene); no deleterious mutations were identified.

Discussion: The constellation of benign and malignant neoplasms in the context of this patient's familial testicular cancer raised the possibility that these might be manifestations of a known hereditary susceptibility cancer syndrome; however, genetic testing for the three syndromes that were most likely to explain these findings did not show any mutation. Alternatively, this family's phenotype might represent a novel neoplasm susceptibility disorder. This possibility cannot be evaluated definitively on the basis of a single case report; additional observations and studies are necessary to investigate this hypothesis further.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1752-1947-1-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1847830PMC
March 2007

Secondary osteon and Haversian canal dimensions as behavioral indicators.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2006 Dec;131(4):460-8

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada.

Variation in the size of structures within mature cortical bone is relevant to our understanding of apparent differences between human samples, and it is relevant to the development of histologically based age-estimation methods. It was proposed that variation may reflect effects of physical activity, through biomechanical and/or metabolic mechanisms. If these factors are local, femoral osteon area (On.Ar) should be more histologically variable than On.Ar in ribs. Ribs should show a higher variation in Haversian canal area (H.Ar) if they are sites of more remodeling activity and hence of arrested refilling of secondary osteons at time of death. This study compares On.Ar and H.Ar of secondary osteons from femora (15) and ribs (29) from 44 Holocene (Later Stone Age) foragers from South Africa (M = 19, F = 25) to values from paired femora and ribs from historic samples (Spitalfields and St. Thomas, 20 pairs from each). Fixed-effects analysis of variance demonstrates rib On.Ar to be significantly smaller than femur, but with no sex or age effects. The femur-to-rib On.Ar ratio is lower for the Holocene foragers than for the two modern samples because of relatively large rib On.Ar. Femora and ribs from the same skeleton normally show femoral On.Ar larger than rib On.Ar (37/44 pairs). Mean femoral values of On.Ar are more diverse than rib On.Ar values, but within-sample coefficients of variation are similar. Values for H.Ar are highly variable and do not reflect anatomical site, age, sex, or population effects. The patterning of osteon size does not appear to be linked to physical activity or to different rates of metabolic activity within the skeleton, at least not in a straightforward way.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.20454DOI Listing
December 2006

An ill child among mid-Holocene foragers of Southern Africa.

Am J Phys Anthropol 2004 Jan;123(1):23-9

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, Canada.

The skeletal remains of an infant from a southwest South African rock shelter at Byneskranskop show pervasive abnormalities that are consistent with the effects of hypertrophic (hyperplastic) rickets. Diagnostic features include beading of the costochondral junctions of the ribs, flaring and tilting of the metaphyses, and cupping of the distal ulna, as well as general skeletal hypertrophy. With an uncalibrated accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) radiocarbon date of 4820 +/- 90 BP (TO-9531), this is a very early instance of the condition, among foragers whose environment and diet make dietary shortages of active vitamin D or dietary calcium improbable. Carbon and nitrogen stable isotope ratios indicate a mixed diet, including marine as well as terrestrial protein. Solicitous care maintained the sick infant to an estimated age of 3.5-5 months; it was buried in a manner like that of other deceased group members. This case suggests that if infanticide was practiced, it was an option only during the immediate perinatal period, when this infant would have appeared normal. This is consistent with documentation of infanticide practices among historic foragers from southern Africa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ajpa.10297DOI Listing
January 2004