The many facets of human spinal pathology: A review of research areas and recording methodologies on skeletal remains

Katie Larner, Tracey Wilkinson (Supervisor), Diana Swales (Supervisor)

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Abstract

Spinal arthropathies have been prevalent throughout history, so the recording and analysis of these pathologies is important across multiple disciplines from archaeology through to clinical anatomy. Analysis of manifestations of diseases and degeneration of the vertebral column in ancient human remains provides valuable insights not only into the lifestyles of past populations, but also the evolution, development and spread of spinal arthropathies seen in modern populations. To carry out research reliably on spinal pathologies in different populations requires robust and replicable methodologies. The aims of this project were therefore to identify in the literature the methods being used for identification and recording of spinal pathology on dry bone from archaeological contexts, and to explore the aims of such studies and their key findings. A review of biological anthropology and archaeology studies and professional reports identified three main methodologies. One method relates to the simple presence or absence of a condition, while two methods grade the severity of different pathological bone changes using numerical severity scales. It was also identified through the review that the overarching goal of many studies has been to compare lifestyles between populations that vary temporally and geographically. This goal seems to have been limited by several features, both in terms of the populations studied and the approaches used, which prevent direct comparisons. These need to be addressed in future analyses, while approaches such as standardisation of methods and the use of clinical knowledge in the field of biological anthropology will contribute to a better understanding of spinal arthropathies in both past and present populations.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventThe 19th Congress of The International Federation of Associations of Anatomists - Excel , London, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Aug 201911 Aug 2019
http://www.ifaa2019.com/

Conference

ConferenceThe 19th Congress of The International Federation of Associations of Anatomists
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityLondon
Period9/08/1911/08/19
Internet address

Keywords

  • Palaeopathology
  • Spinal Pathology
  • Spinal Arthropathies
  • Joint Diseases
  • Anatomy
  • Osteology
  • Thematic analysis

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    Larner, K., Wilkinson, T., & Swales, D. (2019). The many facets of human spinal pathology: A review of research areas and recording methodologies on skeletal remains. Poster session presented at The 19th Congress of The International Federation of Associations of Anatomists, London, United Kingdom.