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Osteoarthritis, entheses, and long bone cross-sectional geometry in the Andes: Usage, history, and future directions

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Abstract

Akin to approaches encouraged by Verano (1997) in the Andes, and Ortner (2011, 2012) for general paleopathological studies, this article focuses on accurate descriptions and definitions of osteoarthritis, entheses, and long bone cross-sectional geometry. By evaluating these conditions as part of biological responses to abnormal skeletal changes and biomechanical stress, the pathogenesis of each condition is discussed. Further, this article emphasizes a "small data" approach to evaluating these conditions in ancient culturally and biologically related human populations, where the study samples must have good skeletal preservation, where estimates of age and sex need to be included as major factors, and where abnormalities need to be described and evaluated. This article also discusses global clinical and osteological research on ways scholars are currently trying to establish industry-wide methods to evaluate osteoarthritis, entheses, and long bone cross-sectional geometry. Recent studies have focused on rigorous evaluation of methodological techniques, recording protocols, and inter-and intra-observer error problems. Additionally, scholars have focused on physical intensity of movement using biomechanics, evaluated burials of known occupation, and used complex statistical methods to help interpret skeletal changes associated with these conditions. This article also narrows to focus on these conditions within "small data" areas throughout the Andes. Finally, this research concludes with describing future directions to understand skeletal changes, such as more multidisciplinary studies between osteologists and pathologists, working with living people to collect CT, x-rays, or computer-aided motion capture, and a stronger focus on how these conditions correlate with intense biomechanical changes in younger individuals.

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... Some researchers did not observe significant differences in prevalence among groups with different types of subsistence (Bridges 1992;Knüsel 1993;Bridges 1994), although others identified major changes in articular loadings. Many studies have proposed that workload declined with the introduction of agriculture, resulting in a reduction of DJD (Larsen 1982;Larsen 1984;Cohen & Armelagos 1984;Schrader 2019;Becker 2020), while others identified a consistent trend of DJD increasing with food production (Lallo 1973;Goodman et al. 1984;Bridges 1989;Cheverko & Bartelink 2017;Schrader 2019;Becker 2020). Specific changes have also been recorded, such as a high level of DJD in the agriculturalist female left arm (Bridges 1992). ...
... Some researchers did not observe significant differences in prevalence among groups with different types of subsistence (Bridges 1992;Knüsel 1993;Bridges 1994), although others identified major changes in articular loadings. Many studies have proposed that workload declined with the introduction of agriculture, resulting in a reduction of DJD (Larsen 1982;Larsen 1984;Cohen & Armelagos 1984;Schrader 2019;Becker 2020), while others identified a consistent trend of DJD increasing with food production (Lallo 1973;Goodman et al. 1984;Bridges 1989;Cheverko & Bartelink 2017;Schrader 2019;Becker 2020). Specific changes have also been recorded, such as a high level of DJD in the agriculturalist female left arm (Bridges 1992). ...
... Specific changes have also been recorded, such as a high level of DJD in the agriculturalist female left arm (Bridges 1992). Punctual activities have also been proposed in particular hunter-gatherer contexts, including spear-throwing, bow and arrow use, grinding, and scraping of animal hides (Angel 1966;Merbs 1983;Schrader 2019;Becker 2020). ...
Article
This study tests the hypothesis that the incorporation of cultigens about ca. 2000 years BP substantially changed hunter-gatherer subsistence and mobility in the Atuel River valley (Central-Western Argentina), where the frontier of pre-Hispanic domesticated resource dispersion was defined. Degenerative joint disease and entheseal change markers were analyzed on skeletal remains from Cañada Seca-1, a burial archaeological site with commingled skeletal remains dated about ca. 1500 years BP (MNI = 24). The results show lower mobility in comparison with hunter-gatherer remains from the neighboring Pampa region and quite different manual activities compared to low-level producers. These trends are explained as a result of a mixed subsistence strategy and mobility in an area where the incorporation of domesticated plants was neither a linear nor a fast process, and a stereotypical view proves to be insufficient to understand it. Although further information is required for future discussions, the present research highlights the potential of commingled skeletal remains for this kind of study.
... However, results of recent research suggest that this assumption need not be correct and that the association between entheseal changes and physical activity is more complex (e.g., Villotte & Knüsel, 2013), being affected by age, structure, sex, and body size (Acosta et al., 2017;Becker, 2019;Weiss, 2004). Djukic et al. (2015) showed that the microstructure of muscle sites reveals no direct relationship to development of entheseal changes. ...
... This can be confirmed by other experimental studies (e.g., Zumwalt, 2006) which show that lifestyle reconstruction analyses based on entheses should be carried out with caution and should use more than one skeletal marker, with the additional marker(s) to be placed on a different part of the post-cranial skeleton. Moreover, other factors such as sex and age should be also taken into account in interpretations (Becker, 2019;Weiss, 2003); this will enhance the validity of results. ...
Article
Objectives: Reconstruction of the activity of past human populations can be carried out using various skeletal markers; however, the relationship between these methods is not fully understood. Therefore, the main aim of this paper is to analyse the relationship between entheseal changes, cross-sectional properties, and variability in the shape of the upper limb. Materials and methods: The analysed material consisted of CT images of 71 right scapulae, humeri, and ulnae belonging to the same individuals from a mediaeval population located in Poland. For each series of bones for the same individual, skeletal markers such as: cross-sectional properties, entheses and shape variation were assessed. Next, correlations between these three skeletal indicators were calculated. Results: In general, the models showed that only sex influences entheses. Multivariate regression revealed significant correlation only between ulnar auricular surface shape and two types of mean score for entheses. Discussion: The findings are inconsistent and stand in contradiction to other research; therefore, we suggest that an assessment of individual activity should be carried out, using as many post-cranial elements as possible and a variety of methods. This approach will ensure more accurate reconstruction of the activity levels and patterns of archaeological groups.
... Therefore, as with other aspects of long bone morphology, one would expect that intense and sustained physical activity might cause growth and/or remodeling of attachment sites (i.e., training effects due to increases in muscle activation and/ or muscle size). This expectation has served as the basis for studies attempting to reconstruct the physical activity levels of an organism from fossilized bones based on their muscle attachment site morphology (Becker, 2020;Foster et al., 2014;Hawkey & Merbs, 1995;Schlecht, 2012). However, experimental studies of the effects of physical activity on muscle attachment site morphology have generated mixed results. ...
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Skeletal muscles attach to bone at their origins and insertions, and the interface where tendon meets bone is termed the attachment site or enthesis. Mechanical stresses at the muscle/tendon‐bone interface are proportional to the surface area of the bony attachment sites, such that a larger attachment site will distribute loads over a wider area. Muscles that are frequently active and/or are of larger size should cause attachment sites to hypertrophy (training effect); however, experimental studies of animals subjected to exercise have provided mixed results. To enhance our ability to detect training effects (a type of phenotypic plasticity), we studied a mouse model in which 4 replicate lines of High Runner (HR) mice have been selectively bred for 57 generations. Selection is based on the average number of wheel revolutions on days 5 & 6 of a 6‐day period of wheel access as young adults (6–8 weeks old). Four additional lines are bred without regard to running and serve as non‐selected controls (C). On average, mice from HR lines voluntarily run ~3 times more than C mice on a daily basis. For this study, we housed 50 females (half HR, half C) with wheels (Active group) and 50 (half HR, half C) without wheels (Sedentary group) for 12 weeks starting at weaning (~3 weeks old). We tested for evolved differences in muscle attachment site surface area between HR and C mice, plastic changes resulting from chronic exercise, and their interaction. We used a precise, highly repeatable method for quantifying the three‐dimensional (3D) surface area of four muscle attachment sites: the humerus deltoid tuberosity (the insertion point for the spinodeltoideus, superficial pectoralis, and acromiodeltoideus), the femoral third trochanter (the insertion point for the quadratus femoris), the femoral lesser trochanter (the insertion point for the iliacus muscle), and the femoral greater trochanter (insertion point for the middle gluteal muscles). In univariate analyses, with body mass as a covariate, mice in the Active group had significantly larger humerus deltoid tuberosities than Sedentary mice, with no significant difference between HR and C mice and no interaction between exercise treatment and linetype. These differences between Active and Sedentary mice were also apparent in the multivariate analyses. Surface areas of the femoral third trochanter, femoral lesser trochanter, and femoral greater trochanter were unaffected by either chronic wheel access or selective breeding. Our results, which used robust measurement protocols and relatively large sample sizes, demonstrate that muscle attachment site morphology can be (but is not always) affected by chronic exercise experienced during ontogeny. However, contrary to previous results for other aspects of long bone morphology, we did not find evidence for evolutionary coadaptation of muscle attachments with voluntary exercise behavior in the HR mice. We studied a mouse model with 4 selectively bred High Runner (HR) lines and 4 non‐selected Control (C) lines. 50 females (half HR, half C) were housed with wheels (Active group) and 50 without (Sedentary group) for 12 weeks starting at weaning. We tested for evolved differences in muscle attachment site surface area, plastic changes from chronic exercise, and their interaction. We found that muscle attachment site morphology can be affected by chronic exercise experienced during ontogeny.
... Several authors have also addressed the influence of postural evolution, climate, body mass and diet on these geometric properties (Agostini, Holt, & Relethford, 2018;González-Reimers et al., 2014;Osipov, Pickard, Garcia-Donas, Márquez-Grant, & Kranioti, 2020;Pearson, 2015;Pomeroy, Cole, Macintosh, Wells, & Stock, 2018;Ruff et al., 2015). In recent years, some studies have combined EC with cross-sectional geometry (CSG) to analyse their correlation with physical activity (Becker, 2020;Kubicka & Myszka, 2020;Laffranchi, Charisi, Jiménez-Brobeil, & Milella, 2020;Michopoulou, Nikita, & Valakos, 2015;Nikita, Xanthopoulou, Bertsatos, Chovalopoulou, & Hafez, 2019;Sparacello et al., 2020). ...
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The present study aims to investigate the relationship between physical activity changes and the daily life patterns of La Gomera Island (Spain) during the aboriginal period (ca. 3rd‐15th centuries AD). The commingled skeletal material used in this study comprised a minimum of 88 individuals from burial caves used by these agropastoral communities. The methodological corpus combines the study of entheseal changes in upper and lower limbs and cross‐sectional geometry analysis. The results revealed a prevalence of muscle chains linked to bilateral movements and a high mobility, probably more intense in the eastern areas of the island. At the same time, we observed diachronic changes in mobility possibly due to processes of adaptation to an isolated environment. Finally, entheseal changes and cross‐sectional geometry also indicated some sex differences as women seem to have had lower mobility than men.
... Moreover, autopsy reports indicate that almost all people over 65 years of age present evidence of degenerative changes in the articular cartilage (Waldron, 2019), although these diagnoses cannot be made in dry bone. Despite these other factors involved in the development of this disorder, physical activity and mechanical stress associated to movement seem to be essential conditions; if a joint does not move, it does not develop this disease (Becker, 2020;Waldron, 2009). ...
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... Therefore, as with other aspects of long bone morphology, one would expect that intense and sustained physical activity might cause growth and/or remodeling of attachment sites (i.e., training effects due to increases in muscle activation and/ or muscle size). This expectation has served as the basis for studies attempting to reconstruct the physical activity levels of an organism from fossilized bones based on their muscle attachment site morphology (Becker, 2020;Foster et al., 2014;Hawkey & Merbs, 1995;Schlecht, 2012). However, experimental studies of the effects of physical activity on muscle attachment site morphology have generated mixed results. ...
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Conference Paper
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Skeletal measures of activity can be used to reconstruct workload levels, repetitive motions, and mobility in past human societies, but working with multiple data points recorded from an individual’s skeleton can come with some scalar problems. For example, if activity measurement is reduced to an overall present or absent count per individual, the reduction in sample size may result in loss of very specific pathology data, as well as be insufficient to address research questions. However, if activity indicators are calculated on a per data point basis, one individual with multiple positive scores may skew statistical results when looking for patterns of activity, or could be a violation of the independence of data required for many statistical tests. In this paper, these issues were solved by using generalized estimating equations (GEE). GEE was used to model the multiple recorded data points on each joint surface for osteoarthritis and each muscle attachment point for musculoskeletal markers while keeping these data linked with each individual specimen. These data were then tested for significant chronological and spatial differences using the chi-square statistic. Overall, the results correlate well with archaeological artifactual data, helping understand the work and activity that laborers performed in prehistory. Additionally, GEE is flexible enough to accommodate variables that are not normally distributed, small sample sizes, and most importantly, randomly missing or unobservable variables (Ballinger 2004; Ghislatta and Spini 2004; Liang and Scott 1986; Rochon 1998), all of which are very important when studying skeletal samples that vary in actual bones recovered from archaeological sites.
Thesis
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This dissertation focused on understanding labor during the development of Tiwanaku AD 500-1100, one of the earliest Andean states. Prior archaeological research Kolata 1991, 1993a, b; Stanish 1994, 2003 argued that Tiwanaku labor was centralized under a corvée mit'a system. Labor was controlled and distributed by elites living within the city of Tiwanaku under a hierarchical political organization Kolata 2003a. Other research e.g. Albarracín-Jordán 2003; Erickson 2006 argued that local and decentralized control of labor, with workforce cooperation and collaboration under a heterarchical political system, was an important factor to the state's emergence, formation, and expansion. The author interpreted bioarchaeological research on Tiwanaku skeletal remains in order to answer questions about the Tiwanaku workforce, possible agriculture or craft-based activities performed, workload levels, gendered division of labor, as well as the political structure of the state.
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Osteoarthritis is the most common joint disorder and a major cause of disability with a major socio-economic impact. In these circumstances is very important to understand its pathogenesis. Although previous research focused primarily on changes in the articular cartilage, more recent studies have highlighted the importance of the subchondral bone, synovium, menisci, ligaments, periarticular muscles and nerves. Now osteoarthritis is viewed as a multifactorial disease affecting the whole joint. TNF-α - tumor necrosis factor alpha, IL-1 - interleukin -1, IL-6 - interleukin-6, COMP- cartilage oligomeric matrix protein, BSP - bone sialoprotein, MRI - magnetic resonance imaging, NTx - cross-linked N-telopeptide of type I collagen, CTx - C-telopeptide-cross-linked collagen type I, TGF-β - transforming growth factor beta, MMPs- matrix metaloproteinases, VEGF-vascular endothelial growth factor, bFGF - basic fibroblast growth factor.
Chapter
While Chapter 1 addressed the anthropological significance of examining day-to-day events, Chapter 2 will focus on the theoretical perspectives that support the Bioarchaeology of the Everyday. The two primary social theories that will be discussed here are practice theory and embodiment theory. Practice theory, a theoretical perspective stemming from several authors, addresses the relationship between social structure and the individual. Common between these theorists is the centrality and importance of daily experience. Embodiment, the argument that biosocial events in an individual’s life impact their skeletal system, is central to the notion that everyday experiences can be assessed through the examination of bone. If a person is engaging in physically strenuous forms of activity, as a product of both social and biological influences, their skeletal frame will adapt to this stress. Additionally, as discussed in Chapter 4, atomic traces of foods consumed, present in skeletal remains, reflect a biosocial process. When human skeletons are viewed as artifacts of social lives and meaningful action, their potential contribution to the archaeological and anthropological story becomes apparent. I have also included sections on the anthropology and archaeology of food and labor to provide a framework for these theoretical points as well as introduce the reader to these broad topics. Each of these approaches provides a distinct contribution to examining ancient day-to-day life via human skeletal remains.
Chapter
Biomechanics theory provides new ways to reconstruct behavior in past populations. Application of biomechanical beam models to long bone diaphyses has proven to be a particularly productive way to analyze skeletal structural variation, in part due to recent methodological advancements that have made data collection easier, and also because functional interpretations of properties are relatively straightforward. This approach has yielded new information on long‐term evolutionary trends in mobility and manipulative behavior, the effects of subsistence strategy and terrain on skeletal robusticity, and sexual dimorphism in behavior. Patterns of skeletal modeling and remodeling during growth and aging can also be elucidated by taking a more mechanical approach.
Article
Fibrous entheses have been widely used to study activity-related stress to infer behavioural patterns in past populations. Unlike their fibrocartilaginous counterparts, the effect of disease processes has been less widely discussed in the osteoarchaeological literature. This study uses a literature review to ascertain whether specific pathological changes should be taken into account when recording fibrous entheses. Due to the anatomical structure of fibrous entheses it was hypothesised that diseases which affect the structure of bone or the periosteum might be a factor in causing entheseal changes. A search of over one hundred terms was performed in PubMed with no year range stipulated, but no papers were found which related to entheseal changes caused by any of the expected pathological processes. The paucity of literature might be due to lack of symptoms in living individuals, it is therefore suggested that a systematic study of skeletal remains is performed using recently developed recording methods to determine if pathological conditions need to be taken into account when recording entheseal changes to study activity-related stress. The search did highlight a link between calcific tendinitis and cortical erosion at fibrous entheses, and it is recommended that this is taken into account when interpreting entheseal changes in past populations.
Article
Objectives: The purpose of this study was to put forth a precise landmark-based technique for reconstructing the three-dimensional shape of human entheseal surfaces, to investigate whether the shape of human entheses is related to their size. The effects of age-at-death and bone length on entheseal shapes were also assessed. Materials and methods: The sample comprised high-definition three-dimensional models of three right hand entheseal surfaces, which correspond to 45 male adult individuals of known age. For each enthesis, a particular landmark configuration was introduced, whose precision was tested both within and between observers. The effect of three-dimensional size, age-at-death, and bone length on shape was investigated through shape regression. Results: The method presented high intra-observer and inter-observer repeatability. All entheses showed significant allometry, with the area of opponens pollicis demonstrating the most substantial relationship. This was particularly due to variation related to its proximal elongated ridge. The effect of age-at-death and bone length on entheses was limited. Discussion: The introduced methodology can set a reliable basis for further research on the factors affecting entheseal shape. Using both size and shape, variables can provide further information on entheseal variation and its biomechanical implications. The low entheseal variation by age verifies that specimens under 50 years of age are not substantially affected by age-related changes. The lack of correlation between entheseal shape and bone length or age implies that other factors may regulate entheseal surfaces. Future research should focus on multivariate shape patterns among entheses and their association with occupation.
Article
Objectives: Ethnohistoric accounts and archaeological research from Central California document a shift from the use of lower-cost, high-ranked resources (e.g., large game) toward the greater use of higher-cost, low-ranked resources (e.g., acorns and small seeds) during the Late Holocene (4500-200 BP). The subsistence transition from higher consumption of large game toward an increased reliance on acorns was likely associated with increases in levels of logistical mobility and physical activity. This study predicts that mobility and overall workload patterns changed during this transition to accommodate new food procurement strategies and incorporate new dietary resources during the Late Holocene in Central California. Materials and methods: Osteoarthritis prevalence was scored in the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee of adult individuals (n = 256) from seven archaeological sites in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region. Comparisons were made between osteoarthritis prevalence, sex, age-at-death, and time period using ANCOVAs. Results: The results of this study indicate significant increases in osteoarthritis prevalence in the hip of adult males and females during the Late Period (1200-200 BP), even after correcting for the cumulative effects of age. No differences were observed between the sexes or between time periods for the shoulder, elbow, and knee joints. Discussion: The temporal increase in hip osteoarthritis supports the hypothesis that there was an increasing need for greater logistical mobility over time to procure key resources away from the village sites. Additionally, the lack of sex differences in osteoarthritis prevalence may suggest that females and males likely performed similar levels of activity during these periods.
Article
Entheseal changes (ECs) have been widely used in anthropology to study activity-patterns, but there is an increasing awareness that ageing is associated with these changes. The aim of this study was to test each feature of the new Coimbra method for its variability, side asymmetry and its relationship with age. In addition to this an overall relationship with age was tested for a larger sample. Males sixteen and over from the Coimbra identified skeletal collection were recorded using the new method (n=260). To reduce the impact of occupation, side variability in asymmetry and age were only tested in the labourers (n=51). All occupation groups were included to test the overall relationship with age using a random forest test. The results show that scores lack variability for many of the features and entheses. Where there is side asymmetry this is typically in favour of higher scores in the right side, excepting the biceps brachii insertion. Most of the features scored show a relationship with ageing, but this is not uniform for all features or entheses. Some features are associated with an increase in age (bone formation and erosions), while others generally occur in younger individuals (fine porosity and textural change). Logistic regression showed that ageing explains at most 44% of variability. This, alongside, the side asymmetry may indicate that biomechanics has an explanatory role.
Article
Osteoarthritis has a multifactorial aetiology. Despite this, and the incomplete understanding of the exact pathogenesis of osteoarthritis, many bioarchaeologists continue to attempt to link the prevalence of osteoarthritis with past behaviour and activity. This study aims to investigate the true impact of osteoarthritis on the people of prehistoric Ban Non Wat, northeast Thailand (1750 BCE to 500 CE). Through the analysis of the prevalence of osteoarthritis in each major joint and some individual case studies, the impact of this disease is detailed with reference to their social and physical environment. Two hundred and twenty nine adult individuals (45 Neolithic, 141 Bronze Age and 43 Iron Age) from Ban Non Wat with one or more major joint observeable were assessed for the presence and extent of osteophyte development, subchondral porosity and eburnation. The results showed no significant differences in prevalence across time or sex across the 2250 years represented by these skeletons. Although not significant, osteoarthritis was consistently high in elbows and knees across the Neolithic and Bronze Age phases, with the Iron Age not providing robust data. Four individuals with the most severe polyarticular osteoarthritis are detailed, indicating the varied nature of the disease and its potentially disabling effects on quality of life. This study reviews the most up to date clinical science to highlight that the study of osteoarthritis in past populations can be used to investigate disability and quality of life.
Article
This article evaluates rates of osteoarthritis of the lower limb in human remains from Deir el‐Medina in order to compare the health of the residents of Deir el‐Medina with previous studies on other ancient Egyptian and Nubian populations. This study focuses on osteological observations from the commingled New Kingdom human remains documented during the 2012–2014 field seasons of the Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale. This is the first publication of osteoarthritis for the human remains at Deir el‐Medina, a dataset which complements comparable populations at sites such as Amarna, Giza, and Tombos. It demonstrates that men in the village of Deir el‐Medina experienced significantly higher rates of osteoarthritis in the ankle and knee in comparison to women at Deir el‐Medina. Rates of osteoarthritis in the lower limb at Deir el‐Medina generally fall between workers' cemeteries and middle‐class or elite cemeteries. This study also includes data from Deir el‐Medina's detailed textual record and intact landscape in order to determine how occupation influenced these higher rates of osteoarthritis. The duration, intensity, and frequency of the workmen's hikes are reconstructed based on the surrounding landscape and 42 texts recording work days. This study compares rates of osteoarthritis with these datasets in order to document how the strain, duration, and frequency of the workmen's hikes may have impacted overall rates of osteoarthritis. Consequently, data from the texts and landscape surrounding Deir el‐Medina not only corroborate osteoarthritis patterns, but offer detailed daily life activity which can be used as a comparison for broader studies on osteoarthritis in ancient and modern populations. Copyright © 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis and is a leading cause of pain and disability worldwide. There is thought to be an important genetic component to the development of OA. In this review article, the methods used to study the genetics of OA are discussed, along with the main findings from these analyses, with a particular focus on the results of genome-wide association scans (GWAS). Functional validation of the results from genetic studies of OA is also described to put the genetic results into a biological context and show their relevance to the mechanisms involved in the development and progression of OA. The clinical relevance of the genetic findings to date is also discussed, as well as the research, which is still needed in this field to further improve the understanding of OA pathogenesis.
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Objective: This study aims to determine the impacts of both age and physical activity on entheseal changes at sites of muscle and ligament attachment, and proposes that the influence of age on entheseal changes may depend on specific social systems. Methods: Entheseal markers of 193 individuals excavated from archaeological sites in Japan were examined, and archaeological evidence from those sites was used to determine the subsistence activities that those individuals engaged in. Fifteenth-century samples were either fishermen or Agehamashiki salt manufacturers, while samples from between the late 17(th) century and the 19(th) century were peasants, townspeople, or samurai. Nineteen entheses were examined using the scoring method of Hawkey and Merbs (1995) to clarify the degree to which age influenced entheseal severity of a given sample as well as the differences in the degree to which age influenced entheseal changes among samples. Results: Results indicated that age influenced entheseal changes; however, the degree to which age influenced entheseal development was dependent on the characteristic physical activities associated with an individual's class and occupation. Furthermore, in certain groups, aging did not significantly impact entheseal changes. Discussion: The degree to which age influenced entheseal changes was dependent on characteristic physical activities associated with an individual's class and occupation. This indicated that physical activities and lifestyle, along with age, were major factors that contributed to entheseal changes. Based on these results, it was concluded that entheseal changes could serve as a useful tool in the reconstruction of physical activities of past populations. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
Detailed life history information using multiple lines of evidence including the identification of geographic origins, health, and body use indicators, can be used to elucidate the complex process of acculturation in the San Pedro de Atacama oases of northern Chile during the Middle Horizon. This paper presents the results of bioarchaeological and archaeological chemical analyses of the skeletal remains of an adult male (tomb 50, catalog number 1948) from the cemetery of Solcor 3 (ca. AD 500-900). Strontium isotope ratios in human tooth enamel reveal information about where a person lived during their childhood, when enamel was being formed. Individual 1948 showed strontium isotope ratios decidedly outside the range of the local San Pedro de Atacama strontium isotope signature. Given these data implying that individual 1948 was originally from elsewhere, an examination of his health status, social role, and mortuary context provides insight into the treatment of foreigners in San Pedro de Atacama. Our data support the argument that individual 1948's foreign birth did not hinder his later assimilation into Atacameño society. He was buried in a local cemetery with a typical mortuary assemblage for a male of this time and no strong evidence of possible foreign origin. Skeletal indicators of diet and activity patterns do not distinguish individual 1948 from the local population, suggesting that his lifestyle was similar to that of other Atacameños. Therefore, our analyses suggest that individual 1948's acculturation into Atacameño society during his adult life was nearly complete and he retained little to no indication of his probable foreign birth.
Article
In the past decade there have been extensive discussions on the potential utility of entheseal changes (EC) as activity markers. Nevertheless, no study to date has compared different EC recording protocols with respect to their correlation to activity patterns. This article records changes on fibrocartilaginous entheses of the upper limbs of 90 male skeletons from the documented Athens Collection using the Hawkey and Merbs (Int J Osteoarchaeol 5 (1995) 324-338), Mariotti et al. (Collegium Antropol 28 (2004) 145-159), and Villotte et al. (Am J Phys Anthropol 142 (2010) 224-234) recording schemes in order to determine which one exhibits the highest correlation with activity. Activity is assessed by means of the recorded profession of each individual, as well as employing cross-sectional geometric properties. Generalized Linear Models are used to explore the impact of age, body mass, and activity on EC expression. Our results agree with previous studies that age is the primary factor determining EC, whereas body mass is the second most influential factor. In contrast, activity in the form of profession or cross-sectional geometry rarely showed a significant correlation to EC expression and no clear pattern could be discerned irrespective of the recording technique. However, bilateral differences in the impact of age and body mass in EC expression were traced and may relate to activity patterns. The differences found in the bilateral impact of age and body mass highlight the fact that the activity patterns of the individuals under examination must play an underlying role to EC expression, though current recording schemes for EC do not capture this, rendering further work in the direction of developing more elaborate recording standards imperative. Am J Phys Anthropol, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Article
This paper presents a revised version of the Coimbra method for recording fibrocartilaginous entheses. The method itself is the only biologically appropriate recording method for fibrocartilaginous entheses that scores features separately, thereby ensuring that the aetiology of individual features can be studied. The method divides the enthesis into two zones, scoring the relevant features in each zone. These features represent either bone formation or bone destruction and include erosive lesions, fine and macroporosity, and cavitations. The revised method includes a new feature, textural change, which is scored as absent or present when it involves 50% or more of the surface. All other features are now scored as zero (absent), one or two with the higher score representing greater expression of the feature. This change in scoring has led to the reduction of inter-observer error with approximately 80% agreement for overall feature scores for both the common extensor origin and subscapularis insertion. The simplification of the scores and the reduction in inter-observer error mean that the method is now recommended for widespread use.
Article
The integration of tendon into bone occurs at a specialized interface known as the enthesis. The fibrous tendon to bone enthesis is established through a structurally continuous gradient from uncalcified tendon to calcified bone. The enthesis exhibits gradients in tissue organization classified into four distinct zones with varying cellular compositions, mechanical properties, and functions in order to facilitate joint movement. Damage to tendinous insertions is common in the field of orthopaedic medicine and often involves surgical intervention that requires the attempted recreation of the natural organization of tendon into bone. The difficulty associated with recreating the distinct organization may account for the surgical challenges associated with reconstruction of damaged insertion sites. These procedures are often associated with high failure rates and consequently require revision procedures. Management of tendinous injuries and reconstruction of the insertion site is becoming a popular topic in the field of orthopaedic medicine.
Article
Analyses of entheseal changes (EC) in identified skeletal samples employ a common research strategy based on the comparison between occupations grouped on the basis of shared biomechanical and/or social characteristics. Results from this approach are often ambiguous, with some studies that point to differences in EC between occupational samples and others failing to provide evidence of behavioral effects on EC. Here we investigate patterns of EC among documented occupations by means of a multivariate analysis of robusticity scores in nine postcranial entheses from a large (N = 372) contemporary skeletal sample including specimens from one Italian and two Portuguese identified collections. Data on entheseal robusticity, analyzed by pooled sides as well by separated sides and levels of asymmetry, are converted in binary scores and then analyzed through nonlinear principal component analysis and hierarchical cluster analysis. Results of these analyses are then used for the classification of occupations. Differences between occupational classes are tested by MANOVA and pairwise Hotelling's test. Results evidence three classes which separate occupations related to farming, physically demanding but generalized occupation, and physically undemanding occupations, with the more consistent differences between the first and the last classes. Our results are consistent with differences in biomechanical behavior between the occupations included in each class, and point to the physical and social specificity of farming activities. On the other hand, our study exemplifies the usefulness of alternative analytical protocols for the investigation of EC, and the value of research designs devoid of a priori assumptions for the test of biocultural hypotheses.
Article
We evaluate whether entheseal changes (EC) can be used to reconstruct activity among reindeer to study its domestication. Humans influence reindeer activity patterns through corralling, which renders them less mobile than free-ranging reindeer and through use as draught animals, which can result in overuse of certain muscles. There is also variation within free-ranging reindeer in baseline activity levels due to environmental factors. Other sources of variation at entheses include age, sex, pathology, size and genetic disposition. Here we examine if there are differences in the entheses between zoo versus free-ranging reindeer. We recorded the entheses of reindeer long bones using a modified EC scoring system. Weight effects were accounted for by performing analyses separately for specimens under and over 95kg, but unfortunately age information was lacking. We found that several flexor muscle insertion sites in the ulna were more developed among free-ranging reindeer. This difference is likely due to feeding behavior. The free-ranging animals were digging for lichen from under the snow whereas the zoo reindeer were fed by their keepers. This difference in entheses, however, was found to be significant only among the heavier reindeer. Among the zoo reindeer, the insertion for Subscapularis muscle was more developed, possibly due to increased time spent immobile with the shoulder-bracing muscle apparatus activated. This difference was significant among the heavier deer, and nearly statistically significant among the lighter weight reindeer. Domesticated Siberian draught reindeer fell between zoo and free-ranging reindeer in several tibial entheses. According to these results, some forelimb entheses may be useful to study differences in mobility and feeding patterns between groups of reindeer. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article
The present study examines a sample of 105 hunter–gatherer California Amerinds to determine whether fibrocartilaginous musculoskeletal stress markers (MSMs) are better for activity reconstructions than fibrous MSMs. Femoral and humeral head diameters were measured as proxies to body size. All data were analysed for statistical significance using non-parametric tests. Fibrous MSMs of the left deltoideus, left and right hip adductors, and left and right tibial soleus correlate positively with body size proxies. For fibrocartilaginous MSMs, the right humeral teres minor insertion negatively correlates with humeral head diameter. Both types of MSMs correlate positively with age. More upper limb fibrocartilaginous MSMs display asymmetry than do upper limb fibrous MSMs. Lower limb sex differences were found at the same MSM sites that correlated with body size. Upper limb sex differences at the right teres major, a fibrous site, and the right triceps brachii, a fibrocartilaginous site, seem to reflect activity patterns. Results suggest that fibrocartilaginous MSMs are more useful in reconstructing activity patterns because they display more asymmetry in upper limbs and are less affected by body size than are fibrous MSMs. Yet, correlations with age and a lack of variability at fibrocartilaginous MSM sites may hinder their utility in activity reconstructions. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Article
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a complex disease caused by the interaction of multiple genetic and environmental factors. This review focuses on the studies that have contributed to the discovery of genetic susceptibility factors in OA. The most relevant associations discovered until now are discussed in detail: GDF-5, 7q22 locus, MCF2L, DOT1L, NCOA3 and also some important findings from the arcOGEN study. Moreover, the different approaches that can be used to minimize the specific problems of the study of OA genetics are discussed. These include the study of microsatellites, phenotype standardization and other methods such as meta-analysis of GWAS and gene-based analysis. It is expected that these new approaches contribute to finding new susceptibility genetic factors for OA.
Article
A working group was established in 2009 during a workshop in Coimbra, Portugal to review the various methodologies used to record entheseal changes (EC) and develop a standardised system to facilitate comparisons across studies. This paper presents the first results of the Coimbra method, a new qualitative method for recording fibrocartilaginous entheses based on the types of changes observed. Materials and methods: The new method divides the enthesis into a margin (only the area opposite the acute angle of fibre attachment) and surface (which also includes the remaining margin). Five features are recorded: bone formation, erosion, fine porosity, macro-porosity and cavitation. A total of 67 male skeletons from the identified SIMON collection, Geneva, Switzerland, all of whom were manual workers and aged between 20 and 79years, were used for this study. Six skeletons were used by the authors as exemplars to determine standard criteria for recording each change. Thirty male skeletons were selected to test intra-observer and inter-observer error of the new method. An additional 31 skeletons were used for a preliminary test of the relationship between EC and age, using exploratory statistics and ordinal regression. Results: Intra-observer and inter-observer error had a similar percentage agreement of around 70%. The exploratory statistics indicated a general trend for increased scores of each feature with age, but ordinal regression demonstrated that this was not statistically significant (p<0.05) for all features. Discussion: The recording method is repeatable for some entheses. The effect of the ageing process is dependent on enthesis and EC feature. Unlike most methods, the Coimbra method records EC features in detail; this has the advantage of allowing studies of the relationship between different EC and age as well as sex and occupation. Further studies on larger identified skeletal collections are needed to test the effect of age, sex and occupation.