Academic department under which the project should be listed

Geography & Anthropology

Faculty Sponsor Name

Alice F. Gooding

My project is a meta analysis and examination of the literature on my topic, not a study that would need to be approved by IRB.

Project Type

Poster

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Osteomyelitis is a general term for a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the bone. In most cases, the cause is infectious agents entering the bloodstream from other infected areas, especially traumatic or surgical wounds (hematogenous osteomyelitis). The main causative agents are Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep). Other causes of osteomyelitis include indirect infection from soft tissue infections or sepsis (Ortner 2003, 181). Although osteomyelitis can occur at any age, hematogenous osteomyelitis is especially prevalent among juveniles. The location of occurrence is related to the timing of development of the growth plates, as well as the vascular supply associated with stages of growth in the long bones (Ortner 2003, 181-182). The epiphysis (end of bone) is relatively protected by the epiphyseal growth plate, which means it usually only enters into the diaphysis and metaphysis (the middle section) of bones. As such, the most common site of infections are the long bones, especially the femoral and tibial metaphysis (Ortner 2003, 182). Before the availability of antibiotics, osteomyelitis was a common clinical condition, so much so that hematogenous osteomyelitis in juveniles made up the greatest percentage of total cases (Ortner 2003, 181). It would follow that this disease would be highly prevalent in the archaeological record, but the literature does not reflect this. While this may be due to the limited archaeological remains available, it is important to explore how pathological conditions, like osteomyelitis, affect the human skeleton both in the archaeological record and clinically in juveniles today.

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Hematogenous Osteomyelitis in Juveniles: An Examination of Pathophysiology and Variation in Occurrence in the Archaeological Record and Contemporarily

Osteomyelitis is a general term for a group of diseases that cause inflammation of the bone. In most cases, the cause is infectious agents entering the bloodstream from other infected areas, especially traumatic or surgical wounds (hematogenous osteomyelitis). The main causative agents are Staphylococcus aureus (staph) and Streptococcus (strep). Other causes of osteomyelitis include indirect infection from soft tissue infections or sepsis (Ortner 2003, 181). Although osteomyelitis can occur at any age, hematogenous osteomyelitis is especially prevalent among juveniles. The location of occurrence is related to the timing of development of the growth plates, as well as the vascular supply associated with stages of growth in the long bones (Ortner 2003, 181-182). The epiphysis (end of bone) is relatively protected by the epiphyseal growth plate, which means it usually only enters into the diaphysis and metaphysis (the middle section) of bones. As such, the most common site of infections are the long bones, especially the femoral and tibial metaphysis (Ortner 2003, 182). Before the availability of antibiotics, osteomyelitis was a common clinical condition, so much so that hematogenous osteomyelitis in juveniles made up the greatest percentage of total cases (Ortner 2003, 181). It would follow that this disease would be highly prevalent in the archaeological record, but the literature does not reflect this. While this may be due to the limited archaeological remains available, it is important to explore how pathological conditions, like osteomyelitis, affect the human skeleton both in the archaeological record and clinically in juveniles today.