Identification and Interpretation of Joint Disease in Paleopathology and Forensic Anthropology

The goals of this guide to the identification and interpretation of joint disease are: (1) to identify the diagnostic criteria that are relevant to investigations of joint disease in dry and macerated bone specimens; (2) to differentiate between various disease forms; and (3) to highlight contentious issues, such as the antiquity of rheumatoid arthritis and the implications of the prevalence and severity of joint disease for reconstructing the behaviors of past peoples. The text advocates the use of unambiguous terminology and hence discusses descriptive terms and illustrates how the use of colloquial or otherwise inappropriate terms can lead to errors of interpretation. Joint disease causes proliferative and/or erosive bony lesions that preferentially, but not exclusively, affect the synovial joints of the body and this manual emphasizes those diseases. The major sections of the book review the pathogenesis, disease process, anatomical distribution, and diagnosis of osteoarthritis; multi-focal erosive arthropathies (i.e., rheumatoid arthritis and the seronegative arthropathies); the less common diseases of synovial joints, including gout, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, and septic arthritis; and conditions affecting the non-synovial joints of the spine such as spinal osteophytosis, degenerative disc disease, Schmorl’s nodes, and the seronegative spondyloarthropathies. The text is greatly enhanced by exceptional illustrations and a glossary of terms completes the book.

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