Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Volume: 101 Supplement 2, Published: 2006
  • Advances in Paleopathology: from phylogenetic analyses to ancient medical literature - an editorial forward

    Coura, José Rodrigues
  • Introduction

    Powel, Mary Lucas; Cook, Della Collins
  • Challenges of phylogenetic analyses of aDNA sequences

    Dittmar, Katharina; Souza, Sheila Mendonça de; Araújo, Adauto

    Abstract in English:

    One of the crucial steps of authentication of aDNA sequences is phylogenetic consistency. Amplified sequences should fit into the phylogenetic framework of their supposed origin. An inherent property of aDNA sequences however, is their short sequence length. Additionally, genes for aDNA studies are often chosen by their preservation potential rather than by phylogenetically informative content. This poses potential challenges regarding their analyses, and might result in an inaccurate reflection of the supposed phylogenetic history of the sequence or organism under study. In this paper some fundamental problems of phylogenetic analysis and interpretation of aDNA datasets are discussed. Suggestions for character sampling and treatment of missing data are made. The publication is the result of a talk from the 1st PAMINSA Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, July 2005.
  • Paleogenetic and taphonomic analysis of human bones from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho Sambaquis, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Marinho, Anderson Nonato do Rosario; Miranda, Newton Cardoso; Braz, Valéria; Ribeiro-dos-Santos, Ândrea Kely; Souza, Sheila Maria Ferraz Mendonça de

    Abstract in English:

    The present paper discusses mtDNA and taphonomy of human remains from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho sambaquis of Saquarema, state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. New human bone dating by 14C-AMS for Moa archeological site (3810+50 BP - GX-31826-AMS) is included. Preservation of microscopic lamellae and DNA is not related to the macroscopic integrity of the bones. Results here suggest that the preservation of amplifiable DNA fragments may have relation to the preservation of the lamellar arrangement as indicated by optical microscopic examination (polarized light). In 13 human bone fragments from Moa, Beirada, and Zé Espinho it was possible to sequence mtDNA from the 3 individuals of Moa, and from 1 of 4 individuals of Beirada, whose bones also show extensive areas with preserved lamellar structures. The 6 human bone fragments of Zé Espinho and 3 of the 4 fragments of Beirada showed extensive destruction of cortical microstructure represented by cavities, intrusive minerals, and agglomerated microscopic bodies of fungi and bacteria; it was not possible to extract mtDNA from these samples. The results support the hypothesis that the preservation of the microscopic osteon organization is a good predictor for DNA preservation. It was also confirmed the C haplogroup antiquity in Brazil.
  • Tuberculosis in the New World: a study of ribs from the Schild Mississippian population, West-Central Illinois

    Raff, Jennifer; Cook, Della Collins; Kaestle, Frederika

    Abstract in English:

    Vertebral lesions have been the main evidence for infection by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex (MTC) in paleopathology. Skeletal involvement is expected in a small percentage of infected individuals. Recently, several authors report a correlation between rib lesions and tuberculosis (TB) complex infection. This study tests the hypothesis that rib lesions can serve as a useful marker for MTC infection within the Mississippian Schild skeletal collection from West-Central Illinois. Ribs from 221 adults and juveniles were examined, and affected individuals were tested for TB complex infection. DNA from rib samples of affected individuals was amplified with primers targeting the IS6110 insertion element, which is common to all members of the TB complex. Although it cannot allow discrimination between different species of TB, IS6110 is present in many copies within their genomes, and its presence is thus an indication of MTC infection. The results support the use of rib lesions as a marker for TB infection. Additionally, we demonstrate that MTC DNA can be recovered from ribs that lack lesions in individuals who have lesions of other bones. We recommend that an examination of ribs be incorporated into investigations for TB.
  • Quantitative paleoparasitology applied to archaeological sediments

    Fugassa, Martín H; Araújo, Adauto; Guichón, Ricardo A

    Abstract in English:

    Three techniques to extract parasite remains from archaeological sediments were tested. The aim was to improve the sensibility of recommended paleoparasitological techniques applied in archaeological remains. Sediment collected from the pelvic girdle of a human body found in Cabo Vírgenes, Santa Cruz, Argentina, associated to a Spanish settlement founded in 1584 known as Nombre de Jesús, was used to search for parasites. Sediment close to the skull was used as control. The techniques recommended by Jones, Reinhard, and Dittmar and Teejen were used and compared with the modified technique presented here, developed to improve the sensibility to detect parasite remains. Positive results were obtained only with the modified technique, resulting in the finding of Trichuris trichiura eggs in the sediment.
  • Pathoecology and paleodiet in Postclassic: Historic Maya from northern coastal Belize

    White, Christine; Maxwell, Jay; Dolphin, Alexis; Williams, Jocelyn; Longstaffe, Fred

    Abstract in English:

    This paper examines the synergism among diet, disease, and ecology at two related coastal Maya sites in Belize (Marco Gonzalez and San Pedro) for the Postclassic and Historic periods (1350-1650 AD), which immediately follow the Classic period collapse. Stable carbon- and nitrogen-isotope ratios in collagen and stable carbon-isotope ratios in structural carbonate were analysed for bones from 65 humans and a wide variety of faunal species. There are no apparent differences in whole diets or degree of carnivory between individuals with lesions indicative of anemia and those without, but those with lesions appear to have consumed significantly more C4 foods and protein from lower trophic levels. Non-specific infection (periostitis) and vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) are also present in high frequencies and appear to co-occur with lesions indicative of anemia, particularly in childhood. Individuals with scurvy also appear to have consumed significantly more C4 foods than normal individuals. Spondyloarthropathy is common in adults. These findings are discussed in light of: (1) the debate on how anemia versus scurvy are manifest and diagnosed, (2) Spanish ethnohistoric descriptions of the poor state of Maya health at the time of contact, and (3) the Osteological Paradox. We suggest that although this coastal environment exacerbated morbidity because of possible parasitic infection, the inhabitants were probably able to survive physiological stresses better than either their inland contemporaries or their modern counterparts.
  • Paleoparasitological remains revealed by seven historic contexts from "Place d'Armes", Namur, Belgium

    Rocha, Gino Chaves da; Harter- Lailheugue, Stephanie; Le Bailly, Matthieu; Araújo, Adauto; Ferreira, Luiz Fernando; Serra-Freire, Nicolau Maués da; Bouchet, Françoise

    Abstract in English:

    Human occupation for several centuries was recorded in the archaeological layers of "Place d'Armes", Namur, Belgium. Preventive archaeological excavations were carried out between 1996/1997 and seven historical strata were observed, from Gallo-Roman period up to Modern Times. Soil samples from cesspools, latrines, and structures-like were studied and revealed intestinal parasite eggs in the different archaeological contexts. Ascaris lumbricoides, A. suum, Trichuris trichiura, T. suis. Taenia sp., Fasciola hepatica, Diphyllobothrium sp., Capillaria sp. and Oxyuris equi eggs were found. Paleoparasitology confirmed the use of structures as latrines or cesspit as firstly supposed by the archaeologists. Medieval latrines were not only used for rejection of human excrements. The finding of Ascaris sp. and Trichuris sp. eggs may point to human's or wild swine's feces. Gallo-Roman people used to eat wild boar. Therefore, both A. suum and T. suis, or A. lumbricoides and T. trichuris, may be present, considering a swine carcass recovered into a cesspit. Careful sediment analysis may reveal its origin, although parasites of domestic animals can be found together with those of human's. Taenia sp. eggs identified in latrine samples indicate ingestion of uncooked beef with cysticercoid larvae. F. hepatica eggs suggest the ingestion of raw contaminated vegetables and Diphyllobothrium sp. eggs indicate contaminated fresh-water fish consumption. Ascaris sp. and Trichuris sp. eggs indicate fecal-oral infection by human and/or animal excrements.
  • Parasitism in Kansas in the 1800s: a glimpse to the past through the analysis of grave sediments from Meadowlark cemetery

    Le Bailly, Matthieu; Gonçalves, Marcelo LC; Lefèvre, Christine; Roper, Donna C; Pye, Jeremy W; Araujo, Adauto; Bouchet, Françoise

    Abstract in English:

    During the excavations of the XIX century Meadowlark cemetery (Manhattan, Kansas, US), samples of sediments were taken from around five skeletons, and analyzed to detect intestinal parasites. No helminth eggs were found, but immunological ELISA tests for Entamoeba histolytica were positive in three samples. The immunological techniques have been successfully used in paleoparasitology to detect protozoan infections. Amoebiasis could have been a severe disease in the past, especially where poor sanitary conditions prevailed, and there is evidence that this cemetery may have been used in a situation where poor sanitary conditions may have prevailed. The presence of this protozoan in US during the late XIX century gives information on the health of the population and provides additional data on the parasite's evolution since its appearance in the New World.
  • Pintomyia (Pifanomyia) paleotownsendi, a new sand fly from the Miocene amber of Dominican Republic (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae)

    Andrade Filho, José Dilermando; Falcão, Alda Lima; Galati, Eunice A Bianchi; Brazil, Reginaldo Peçanha

    Abstract in English:

    Phlebotominae includes some vector species, mainly that of leishmaniases, with a very old host-parasite relationship. Some species fossils of this subfamily have been recently described and this paper presents the description of a new sand fly Pintomyia (Pifanomyia) paleotownsendi sp. nov in amber. The gonostyle present four spines, being one apical, one external superior implanted close to the apical third, one external inferior in the middle of the structure and one internal implanted in the basal third. This disposition of the spines may separate the new species from others in the sub genus.
  • Patterns of tuberculosis in the Americas: how can modern biomedicine inform the ancient past?

    Wilbur, Alicia Kay; Buikstra, Jane Ellen

    Abstract in English:

    Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that continues to take its toll on human lives. Paleopathological research indicates that it has been a significant cause of death among humans for at least five thousand years. Because of the devastating consequences to human health, social systems, and endangered primate species, TB has been the subject of many and varied research efforts throughout the world, efforts that are amassing an enormous amount of data concerning the causative agent Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Despite sequencing of the M. tuberculosis genome and numerous molecular epidemiological studies, many questions remain regarding the origin, evolution, and future co-evolutionary trajectory of M. tuberculosis and humans. Indeed, the origin of pre-Columbian New World TB has been and remains hotly debated, and resolution of this controversy will likely only come with integration of data and theory from multiple disciplines. In this paper, we discuss the pre-Columbian TB controversy, and then use research from biological and biomedical sciences to help inform paleopathological and archaeological studies of this ubiquitous disease that plagued our ancient forbears.
  • The antiquity of tuberculosis in Hungary: the skeletal evidence

    Marcsik, Antónia; Molnár, Erika; Szathmáry, László

    Abstract in English:

    The analysis of the skeletons of past human populations provides some of the best biological data regarding the history of significant diseases such as tuberculosis. The purpose of this study is to present the pathological alterations of the bones in this disease deriving from the ancient time of the territory of the Hungarian Great Plain on the basis of the earlier references and new cases. The bone changes in tuberculosis were mainly manifested in the vertebrae and less frequently in the hip, however, further alterations were observed on the surface of the endocranium and the ribs.
  • Paleopathology of the commoners at Tell Amarna, Egypt, Akhenaten's capital city

    Rose, Jerome C

    Abstract in English:

    The Egyptian Pharaoh Akhenaten initiated worship of a single god and established a new capital city (Tell Amarna) that was built and occupied only once from 1350-1330 BCE. This single short occupation offers a unique opportunity to study a short time period. The royal tombs have long been known and studied, but the location of graves for the common inhabitants has been an archaeological puzzle for more than 50 years. Recently four cemeteries have been located and the analysis of commingled bones from the South Tombs cemetery is presented here. The remains yield the following demographic profile: 53 adults with 19 females and 18 males; 14 juveniles between the ages of 5 and 17; and 3 infants. Arthritis and degenerative joint disease of the spine and joints indicates that DJD was not excessive. Only 2 to 8% of the adult population exhibits arthritis. There are 3 healed fractures of the arm (2 to 8% of the adult sample). There is 1 healed compressed fracture of the skull suggesting violence. The adult infection rate is between 2 and 8% with 3 healed and 1 active case of periostitis and no severe infections. Anemia is implicated by 23% of adult frontals exhibiting cribra orbitalia. Life for the common residents of Amarna appears to not have been as good as initially postulated.
  • Gauging differential health among the sexes at Windover (8Br246) using the Western Hemisphere Health Index

    Wentz, Rachel K; Tucker, Bryan; Krigbaum, John; Doran, Glen H

    Abstract in English:

    Assessment of intrapopulation human health provides information concerning social structure, division of labor, and lifestyle. Differential health among the sexes can provide clues to social roles, resource acquisition and status within prehistoric populations. Windover (8Br246) is an Archaic mortuary pond located in eastern central Florida. Its occupation spans over 500 years and dates to 7000 years BP. Over 168 well-preserved individuals were excavated, providing a glimpse into life during Florida's Archaic. Through the application of the Western Hemisphere Health Index, we find that males within the group experienced better overall health than females. Males outscore females in quality of life, percent of maximum scores, stature, anemia, dental disease, and infection. Females out-score males in enamel hypoplasia and degenerative joint disease. Causative factors for observed differential health are examined and include activity levels, sexual division of labor, access to resources, and the physiological demands of childbearing.
  • Paleopathology and osteobiography of the people of Peñuelas, Chile's semiarid north

    Rosado, Maria Araya; Vernacchio-Wilson, Jessica

    Abstract in English:

    The Museo de La Serena, IV Region, Chile has collections of skeletal remains representing the agricultural Diaguita people of 500 years ago excavated in the 1980s from the sites Peñuelas 21 and 24, Chile's semiarid north. Their excellent preservation has permitted an osteobiographical and radiographic analysis to better understand the patterns of the disease. This research continues the osteological analyses begun in 1989 by Rosado that seek to understand the impact the transition to and adoption of farming had on the health of prehistoric populations. Because of the significance of paleopathology in the understanding of cultural and biological adaptations, it has also become necessary to assess the preservation status and design a conservation protocol to protect and document the remains. The objectives of this communication are to: establish demographic patterns of the skeletal samples and identify and diagnose skeletal paleopathologies via photography and radiographs. Intentional cranial alteration, limb and cranial fractures, dental wear, and dental abscesses and caries are among the interesting paleopathologies so far documented. Intentional cranial alteration is very common and is manifested as tabular erect in both males and females. The high frequency of carious lesions indicates a diet that emphasized carbohydrates. Skeletal radiographs are available for several of the individuals in the sample and this has afforded a more detailed description of the paleopathologies originally documented via photography.
  • Health at the time of Native-European contact in Southern Patagonia: First steps, results, and prospects

    Guichón, Ricardo Aníbal; Suby, Jorge Alejandro; Casali, Romina; Fugassa, Martín Horacio

    Abstract in English:

    The objective of this paper is to present the first steps into the study of health in southern Patagonia during pre and post Native-European contact. Thus, our work has a double purpose. First, to discuss characteristics and relevance of human bone records of southern Patagonia, in order to study health in a population context. Second, to show some new lines of information, which include paleoparasitology, nutritional paleopathologies, and the study of lifestyles from human remains. In this context, we have started working on the first Spanish settlement "Nombre de Jesus", founded in 1584, and with historical documentation of "La Candelaria" Mission in Rio Grande (1896-1931).
  • Infectious disease among enslaved African Americans at Eaton's Estate, Warren County, North Carolina, ca. 1830-1850

    Lambert, Patricia M

    Abstract in English:

    The skeletal remains of 17 people buried in the Eaton Ferry Cemetery in northern North Carolina provide a means of examining health and infectious disease experience in the XIX century South. The cemetery appears to contain the remains of African Americans enslaved on the Eaton family estate from approximately 1830-1850, and thus offers a window into the biological impacts of North American slavery in the years preceding the Civil War. The sample includes the remains of six infants, one child, and one young and nine mature adults (five men, four women, and one unknown). Skeletal indices used to characterize health and disease in the Eaton Ferry sample include dental caries, antemortem tooth loss, enamel hypoplasia, porotic hyperostosis, periosteal lesions, lytic lesions, and stature. These indicators reveal a cumulative picture of compromised health, including high rates of dental disease, childhood growth disruption, and infectious disease. Specific diseases identified in the sample include tuberculosis and congenital syphilis. Findings support previous research on the health impacts of slavery, which has shown that infants and children were the most negatively impacted segment of the enslaved African American population.
  • The girl from the Church of the Sacrament: a case of congenital syphilis in XVIII century Lisbon

    Souza, Sheila Mendonça de; Codinha, Sonia; Cunha, Eugénia

    Abstract in English:

    Syphilis is a sexually or congenitally transmitted infectious disease with an impact on the health of human populations that has undergone important cycles in different countries and periods of history. Its presence was first diagnosed in Europe in the late XIV century. In Portugal, although there are various written records of the infection in the last centuries, there are rare references to it in archeological findings (mummified bodies are also rare in Portugal). The current study describes a probable case of congenital syphilis in an 18-month-old girl buried in the Church of the Sacrament in Lisbon. Her body, dating to the XVIII century, was found mummified together with dozens of others, still not studied. Symmetrical periostitis of the long bones, osteitis, metaphyseal lesions, left knee articular, and epiphyseal destruction, and a rarefied lesion with a radiological appearance compatible with Wimberger's sign all point to a diagnosis of congenital syphilis. The diagnosis of this severe form of the infection, possibly related to the cause of death in this upper-class girl, calls attention to the disease's presence in XVIII century Lisbon and is consistent with the intense mobilization at the time in relation to the risks posed by so-called heredosyphilis. It is the first case of congenital syphilis in a child reported in archeological findings in Portugal, and can be correlated with other cases in skeletons of adults buried in cemeteries in Lisbon (in the XVI to XVIII centuries) and Coimbra (XIX century). Finally, this finding highlights the need to study the entire series of mummified bodies in the Church of the Sacrament in order to compare the paleopathological findings and existing historical documents on syphilis, so as to expand the paleoepidemiological knowledge of this infection in XVIII century Lisbon.
  • Symbolic trephinations and population structure

    Szathmáry, László; Marcsik, Antónia

    Abstract in English:

    The sample examined consists of 19 skulls with symbolic trephinations and 86 skulls without trepanations dated from the X century. Skulls were all excavated in the Great Hungarian Plain in the Carpathian Basin, which was occupied by the Hungarian conquerors at the end of the IX century. The variations of 12 cranial dimensions of the trephined skulls were investigated and compared to the skulls without trepanations after performing a discriminant analysis. The classification results evince that the variability of non-trephined skulls shows a more homogeneous and a more characteristic picture of their own group than the trephined samples, which corresponds to the notion, formed by archaeological evidence and written historical sources, of a both ethnically and socially differing population of the Hungarian conquerors. According to historical research, a part of the population was of Finno-Ugric origin, while the military leading layer of society can be brought into connection with Turkic ethnic groups. All the same, individuals dug up with rich grave furniture and supposed to belong to this upper stratum of society are primarily characterized by the custom of symbolic trephination, and, as our results demonstrate, craniologically they seem to be more heterogeneous.
  • Broken noses for the gods: ritual battles in the Atacama Desert during the Tiwanaku period

    Lessa, Andrea; Souza, Sheila Maria Ferraz Mendonça de

    Abstract in English:

    The sample consists of 226 skulls from the Atacameño cemetery of Coyo Oriente (639-910 AD), associated with the Tiwanaku period. The authors analyzed signs of acute trauma typically associated with violence, and the results were 12% of men and 9.9% of women displaying any type of lesion related to violence. In males, concentration of these non-lethal lesions in the nasal region (10.4%) as opposed to a random distribution over the entire skull (1.6%), suggests that the blows were struck during rituals. The cultural context of this period, with a strong ideological influence from Tiwanaku, supports the ritual hypothesis, since both the ethnographic as well as archeological records point to the existence of non-lethal violent bleeding with ritual beating to the face. Such rituals persist to this day among certain Andean populations. Among women, the most plausible hypothesis for the lesions (3.9% in the skull, 4.9% in the nasal bones, and 0.9% in the face) is domestic conflicts, since they show a random distribution. Previous studies with other Atacameño samples had indicated the same results for women.
  • Caries prevalence in skeletal series: is it possible to compare?

    Wesolowski, Veronica

    Abstract in English:

    Because of the relationship with subsistence, dental caries is a central issue in paleopathological research. Usually, comparisons between caries prevalence exhibited in different skeletal series are made. Dietary variation is the most common explanation for cavities prevalence. The aim of this paper is to verify if it is possible to compare caries prevalence reported on papers for archaeological skeletal series. Another goal is to determine if other factors besides diet are implicated in dental cavity prevalence explanation. Twenty six papers about dental health with caries prevalences published from 1999 to 2004 were analyzed for completeness. This assessment includes carious lesion diagnosis and characteristics, age, sex and size characteristics of samples, and prevalence calculation method. The majority of the analyzed papers do not provide adequate information in the topics listed above. Only very few implicated factors other than diet as a contributor to caries lesions development.
  • Ancient medical texts, modern reading problems

    Rosa, Maria Carlota

    Abstract in English:

    The word tradition has a very specific meaning in linguistics: the passing down of a text, which may have been completed or corrected by different copyists at different times, when the concept of authorship was not the same as it is today. When reading an ancient text the word tradition must be in the reader's mind. To discuss one of the problems an ancient text poses to its modern readers, this work deals with one of the first printed medical texts in Portuguese, the Regimento proueytoso contra ha pestenença, and draws a parallel between it and two related texts, A moche profitable treatise against the pestilence, and the Recopilaçam das cousas que conuem guardar se no modo de preseruar à Cidade de Lixboa E os sãos, & curar os que esteuerem enfermos de Peste. The problems which arise out of the textual structure of those books show how difficult is to establish a tradition of another type, the medical tradition. The linguistic study of the innumerable medieval plague treatises may throw light on the continuities and on the disruptions of the so-called hippocratic-galenical medical tradition.
Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Ministério da Saúde Av. Brasil, 4365 - Pavilhão Mourisco, Manguinhos, 21040-900 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel.: (55 21) 2562-1222, Fax: (55 21) 2562 1220 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil
E-mail: memorias@fiocruz.br