From Big Medical Encyclopedia

PALEOPATHOLOGY (Greek palaios ancient + pathos suffering, a disease + logos the doctrine) — the section of paleontology studying diseases of fossil organisms (the person, animals, plants). As a rule, as the certificate on diseases of fossil vertebrata (including and the person) serve the bones capable to keep the form and structure for many millions of years. However found in fossil bones patol, changes not completely reflect all forms of pathology of last times. This results from the fact that not all diseases and injuries leave marks on bones (e.g., effects of sharply proceeding diseases of the bones leading to their destruction, and also the diseases which are followed by the expressed osteoporosis and decalcification remain not always).

The separate finds testimonial of diseases of fossil animals and the person, appeared at the end of 12 century, but only at the beginning of 20 century thanks to achievements of archeology, paleontology and a paleoanthropology there was this branch of science, and the term «paleopathology» was strongly included into practice. Modi (R.L.Moodie, 1923) and Peyls (L. Pales, 1930) observed the displays of nek-ry diseases (deforming spondyloses, traumatic osteomyelites, an osteoma) on bones of the reptiles of the Mesozoic Era living 110 — 85 million years ago. These diseases also occurred at many mammals who arose during later (Cainozoic) era. At cave bears and cave hyenas, i.e. at contemporaries of the primitive person (the pithecanthropus and the Neanderthal man) the deforming arthroses, spondyloses, osteomyelites, ossifying miozita, arthritises, incorrectly accrete changes etc. are described. In 1891 — 1893 the Dutch doctor Dubois (M. of E. F. Dubois) during excavation on the lake of Java found bone remains of the pithecanthropus (Pithecanthropus errectus Dubois), at to-rogo considerable bone growths in the field of an attachment of iliolumbar and crested muscles were observed that, according to H. Vallois and D. G. Rokhlin, was a consequence of an ossifying traumatic miositis. The deforming arthroses were found also on bone remains of the person of Neanderthal type (the Middle Paleolithic, culture to a mustya and a levallua).

Appearance of the person of a modern look (Homo sapiens) is dated most of anthropologists an upper paleolith. On fossil bones of Homo sapiens of the majority of the historical periods many diseases inherent and to modern people were diagnosed.

Fig. 1. Humeral bones of the elderly woman with heavy bilateral ankylosing arthrosis (on materials of burial grounds of catacomb culture; Kherson region; Expedition Decorated with the Order of the Red Banner, 1979): deformation and the expressed bone growths of a head of a humeral bone are noticeable.
Fig. 2. Lumbar department of a backbone of the man of average years with a severe form of a spondylosis (on materials of a Scythian barrow of the Kherson region; Berdyansk I am an expedition, 1977): sharp reduction of intervertebral intervals, regional growths of bodies of vertebrae and ossification of front longitudinal sheaves is noticeable.
Fig. 3. The right femur of the Scythian priest with the expressed bone growths of places of an attachment of adductors of a hip as a result of an ossifitsi-rovanny miositis (a) and the left femur of other man without symptoms of pathology (o) (on materials of Scythian burials of the Dnipropetrovsk region; archeological excavations, 1975).

The deforming arthroses and spondyloses belong to the most frequent diseases of the person of all historical eras hron. Deformation of the joint ends with the considerable regional bone growths characteristic of this form of pathology, was found on nek-ry skeletons of people verkhnepaleolitichesky (40 — 13 thousand years BC), mesolytic (13 — 7 thousand years BC) and neolytic (7 — 5 thousand years BC) time. Cases of severe forms of the deforming arthroses and siondilez among the population of many European countries, Egypt are frequent, and also natives of America have eras of copper and bronze (5 — 1 millennia BC). During the studying of skeletons of the Scythians found in the territory of Northern Black Sea Coast (they are carried to 4 century BC — 3 century AD), often found signs of the deforming spondylosis and hron, arthroses (fig. 1, 2). On a femur of one of these skeletons there was an ossification of places of fixing of adductors of a hip, apparently, because of an ossifying miositis (fig. 3).

Fig. 4. Tubercular defeat of a rachis of the elderly man of an era of iron (according to D. G. Rokhlin): and — bodies of two lower chest and two upper lumbar vertebrae are completely merged in the uniform bone block; — the roentgenogram of this bone block; in front departments of the XII chest and the I lumbar vertebrae there is a partial destruction which is reported with the fistular course.

According to Raffer (M. of A. Ruffer) and D. G. Rokhlin, tubercular pathology of a backbone developed during an era of copper and bronze. Since an era of iron, tubercular defeats of the bone and joint device (rice, 4) meet in the territory of the Old and New World rather often. Symptoms of tubercular pathology of a backbone in finds of the Neolithic era are not revealed.

Fig. 5. A humeral bone with chronic osteomyelitis: and — the back view — an anterior aspect, in — the roentgenogram (on materials of a medieval burial ground of the Crimea, according to D. G. Rokhlin): large foul places and the stiffened periosteal stratifications are noticeable; on the roentgenogram the multiple centers of destruction with bone sequesters are visible.

Neepetsificheskiye hron, osteomyelites are found in bone remains of the neolytic person. This form of pathology meets in finds of eras of copper, bronze and iron more often. Most often the tibial bone was surprised. The typical case of defeat hron, osteomyelitis of a shaft of the humerus is described by D. G. Rokhlin (fig. 5).

Fig. 6. A calvaria with focal syphilitic destruction of an outside plate (on materials of early medieval burials in Hazaria fortress Sarkel, according to D. G. Rokhlin).

Since the Neolithic era, syphilitic damages of a skeleton are noted, however, if at the time of the Neolithic, during eras of copper and bronze it is only isolated cases, then at a turn of a new era, and especially in about the rednevekovy period, the large centers of this disease both in Europe, and in Asia are revealed. During the studying of bone materials from burials in Sarkel (10 — 12 centuries AD) on 26 skeletons from 294 studied syphilitic defeats of a calvaria in the form of the stiffened gummas or multiple focal destruction of an outside plate (fig. 6) are found. Syphilitic damages of a bone tissue gained a bigger distribution to the late Middle Ages. There is a basis to consider that it was promoted by closer contacts of the population of different territories connected with trade.

Dentoalveolar pathology is well studied, since an era of copper and bronze and finishing the late Middle Ages. It is shown that such diseases as caries, periodontosis, defect of dentitions, etc., have a clear tendency to growth, since an era of copper and bronze.

Fig. 7. A calvaria with miyelomatozy (on materials of a burial ground of 4 — 3 centuries to and. aa.; Saragash, according to D. G. Rokhlin).

Quite often in the bone remains relating to eras of the Neolithic, copper and bronze by the Middle Ages, reveal tumors of bones. In most cases it osteoma. Several cases of osteochondromas and enchondromas, and also hemangiomas of bodies of vertebrae are known. The changes connected with a myelomatosis of bones of a calvaria (fig. 7) are found in bone remains at excavation of a burial ground 4 — 3 centuries BC in Saragashe. Also separate cases of cancer metastasises in bones of a skull and vertebras were observed (bone remains of people, since an era of copper and bronze).

Fig. 8. The roentgenogram of the upper and lower ends of the right femur of the young man of 16 — 17 years (on materials of Scythian burial, 1953): dogleg and flattening of a body of a bone; the year circular lines and the expressed general osteoporosis characteristic of severe forms of rickets are noticeable.

In bone remains of adults (excavation of a medieval burial ground Sarkel) effects of a disease of Pedzhet and a multiple multilayer periostitis were found (Mari's syndrome — Bambergera). In the medieval period the pathology which is expressed in a partial osteochondrolysis (a focal aseptic necrosis) of small sites of the joint ends met. On bone materials of the periods of the Neolithic, an era of copper and bronze signs of the urovsky disease (Kashin's disease — Beck) which is expressed in early generalized damage of bones were found. The expressed symptoms of rickets (fig. 8) are found on bone remains from Scythian burial in the territory of Northern Black Sea Coast. At archeological excavations of the majority of burial grounds in the territory of USSR a large number of the injuries complicated patol was revealed. changes: incorrectly accrete changes, injuries of a skull which short healed, traumatic osteomyelites, traumatic arthritises.

The item as science about the diseases inherent to the person and animals living during last eras is of considerable interest to theoretical medicine. In particular, studying of a problem of life expectancy of the person is closely interconnected with studying of diseases of the person during various eras. It (expresses with that many patol, processes (especially acute epidemic infections and considerably uncured hron, diseases and injuries) considerably influence life expectancy of the person. On the other hand, the accounting of frequencies of manifestations of this or that form of pathology can be inexact due to the lack of knowledge of deadlines of life of the population of various temporary eras. On the basis of the existing facts most of researchers notes life expectancy, smaller in comparison with a recent period, of once living population, and especially eras of a paleolith, mesolite and the Neolithic that is explained by considerable traumatism and lack of radical measures of treatment.

On the basis paleopatol. researches it is proved that nek-ry forms of pathology (especially hron, the deforming arthroses and spondyloses) are one of the earliest forms of pathology not only for the person, but also vertebrata in general. Other diseases (caries of teeth, periodontosis, bone and joint tuberculosis, and it is possible also malignant tumors) tend to growth in time, up to the present. The solution of these questions taking into account identification biol, factors and the social and economic conditions inherent to this or that era, is important for further development of an etiology and a pathogeny of many diseases (see. Disease ).

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E. I. Danilova.