Anthropological Science
Online ISSN : 1348-8570
Print ISSN : 0918-7960
ISSN-L : 0918-7960
Vertebral Osteoporosis in Late Edo Japanese
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1994 Volume 102 Issue 4 Pages 345-361


Osteoporosis was discovered in three individuals out of nine skeletons excavated in Mukai, Tokyo. The materials were dated to the late stage of the Edo period. The severely deformed thoracic and lumbar vertebrae were from mature and elderly individuals. In the first case, the 8th thoracic to the 5th lumbar vertebral bodies showed the so-called “fish vertebrae.” The traces of Schmorl's nodes were also visible in the upper two lumbar vertebrae. This individual probably had a kyphotic deformity resulting from wedging of the 10th to 12th thoracic vertebral bodies. In the second case, both the 12th thoracic and the 3rd lumbar vertebral bodies were wedge-shaped, the latter exhibiting a slight formation of “fish vertebra.” In the final case, the centrally indented body of the 4th lumbar vertebra contained a Schmorl's node. It is highly possible that the vertebral deformations are due to heavy labor in agriculture, as well as to chronic malnutrition among those who lived in Mukai in the late Edo period.

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