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

Epidemiology of developmental dysplasia of the hip in Amerindians: Cases from the Late Prehistoric Buffalo Site, West Virginia


Department of Anthropology, The Ohio State University

Saturday All day, Plaza Level Add to calendar

Developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) refers to misalignment of the acetabulum and femoral head. DDH is a disease spectrum, ranging from dysplasia as the mildest form to subluxation to dislocation. There are few palaeopathological cases of DDH reported or attempts describing the full spectrum and prevalence of this condition from bioarchaeological contexts. The aim of this study is to describe a range of cases of DDH from an archaeological Amerindian population and discuss the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and risk factors. Clinical prevalence of DDH in modern Amerindians is 35-76 per 1000, the highest rate among modern populations. It is hypothesized that DDH prevalence in archaeological populations of Amerindians will be comparable to that of modern Amerindians.

The whole or hemi-pelves of 214 adults from the Late Prehistoric (1490 B.P. ± 70) Buffalo site, West Virginia were examined for DDH. Diagnosis was made from observation of shallow, irregular, or obliterated true acetabulum, associated with formation of a false acetabulum on the posterosuperior aspect of the ilium. The morphology of true and false acetabula were classified and other changes of the pelvis, lower limb, and spine were noted along with cranial deformation.

A total of 7 adults (6 females, 1 male) from the series were identified as having DDH; 1 dysplasia, 1 subluxation, and 5 dislocations. The overall lifetime prevalence of DDH for this population is 3.27%, which is near the lower end for modern Amerindians. Though etiology is uncertain, biocultural factors for high prevalence in the Buffalo population are discussed.

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