The 81st Annual Meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists (2012)

Calcification of osteons in a sample of twentieth century Americans


Basic Sciences (Anatomy), New York Chiropractic College

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Undecalcified thin sections were prepared from bone plugs from the anterior midshaft right femur from 105 human specimens of both African (46 males, 27 females) and European (13 males, 19 females) ancestries, aged 18 to 68 years. Specimens are from the Hamann-Todd Collection, and died between 1910 and 1940. Sections were cut at 50 microns, and x-rayed before mounting for histological study. Numbers of poorly calcified secondary osteons per sq. mm. (PCSOSM) were quantified. Among males there is a low but significant positive correlation with age. There is not a correlation with age among females. Females demonstrate a significantly higher density of PCSOSM than males. There is no significant difference in total secondary osteon density between males and females. Therefore the proportion of secondary osteons that are poorly calcified is greater among females than males. There are no significant differences due to population of geographic origin. High PCSOSM can be indicative of rapid remodeling, as young osteons are less calcified than older ones. However, high PCSOSM can also be indicative of nutritional stress. This is particularly true among females who may be pregnant or lactating. This may account for the significantly higher PCSOSM among Hamann-Todd females.

This research is supported in part by a grant from the NYCC Research Department.

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