New insights into methodology and interpretation of osteoarthritis. The study of Frassetto identified skeletal collection.

Zampetti, Stefania (2010) New insights into methodology and interpretation of osteoarthritis. The study of Frassetto identified skeletal collection., [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Biodiversità ed evoluzione - biodiversity and evolution, 22 Ciclo.
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Osteoarthritis (OA) or degenerative joint disease (DJD) is a pathology which affects the synovial joints and characterised by a focal loss of articular cartilage and subsequent bony reaction of the subcondral and marginal bone. Its etiology is best explained by a multifactorial model including: age, sex, genetic and systemic factors, other predisposing diseases and functional stress. In this study the results of the investigation of a modern identified skeletal collection will be presented. In particular, we will focus on the relationship between the presence of OA at various joints. The joint modifications have been analysed using a new methodology that allows the scoring of different degrees of expression of the features considered. Materials and Methods The sample examined comes from the Sassari identified skeletal collection (part of “Frassetto collections”). The individuals were born between 1828 and 1916 and died between 1918 and 1932. Information about sex and age is known for all the individuals. The occupation is known for 173 males and 125 females. Data concerning the occupation of the individuals indicate a preindustrial and rural society. OA has been diagnosed when eburnation (EB) or loss of morphology (LM) were present, or when at least two of the following: marginal lipping (ML), esostosis (EX) or erosion (ER), were present. For each articular surface affected a “mean score” was calculated, reflecting the “severity” of the alterations. A further “score” was calculated for each joint. In the analysis sexes and age classes were always kept separate. For the statistical analyses non parametric test were used. Results The results show there is an increase of OA with age in all the joints analyzed and in particular around 50 years and 60 years. The shoulder, the hip and the knee are the joints mainly affected with ageing while the ankle is the less affected; the correlation values confirm this result. The lesion which show the major correlation with age is the ML. In our sample males are more frequently and more severely affected by OA than females, particularly at the superior limbs, while hip and knee are similarly affected in the two sexes. Lateralization shows some positive results in particular in the right shoulder of males and in various articular surfaces especially of the superior limb of both males and females; articular surfaces and joints are quite always lateralized to the right. Occupational analyses did not show remarkable results probably because of the homogeneity of the sample; males although performing different activities are quite all employed in stressful works. No highest prevalence of knee and hip OA was found in farm-workers respect to the other males. Discussion and Conclusion In this work we propose a methodology to score the different features, necessary to diagnose OA, that allows the investigation of the severity of joint degeneration. This method is easier than the one proposed by Buikstra and Ubelaker (1994), but in the same time allows a quite detailed recording of the features. Epidemiological results can be interpreted quite simply and they are in accordance with other studies; more difficult is the interpretation of the occupational results because many questions concerning the activities performed by the individuals of the collection during their lifespan cannot be solved. Because of this, caution is suggested in the interpretation of bioarcheological specimens. With this work we hope to contribute to the discussion on the puzzling problem of the etiology of OA. The possibility of studying identified skeletons will add important data to the description of osseous features of OA, enriching the medical documentation, based on different criteria. Even if we are aware that the clinical diagnosis is different from the palaeopathological one we think our work will be useful in clarifying some epidemiological as well as pathological aspects of OA.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Zampetti, Stefania
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze biologiche, biomediche e biotecnologiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
osteoarthritis, markers occupational stress, epidemiology, bioarchaeology
Data di discussione
22 Aprile 2010

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