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Age-dependent changes of the normal human spine during adulthood


Rühli, Frank J; Müntener, M; Henneberg, M (2005). Age-dependent changes of the normal human spine during adulthood. American Journal of Human Biology, 17(4):460-469.

Abstract

The impact of aging on the morphology of the osseous spine is still debated. Clinical studies usually record combined aging effects, as well as age-related degenerative changes. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of (degeneration-independent) aging on the morphology of the osseous human spine during adulthood. Various osseous dimensions of human spinal landmarks at all major vertebral levels have been assessed in macroscopically normal Swiss skeletons (N = 71), with historically known sex and age at death, as well as in larger Central European skeletal samples (N = 277) with anthropologically determined individual age and sex. All measurements were correlated with individual age (or age group) by linear regression and analyzed separately for each sex. Only few osseous spinal dimensions, and only in men, correlate significantly with individual age. Generally, the significant dimensions show an increase in size during adulthood. Similar tendencies, but with significant alterations of spinal measurements in women as well, can be found in the larger samples with anthropologically determined sex and age group. Increase of certain spinal dimensions found in this study may be a reflection of an increase in the robustness of individuals with age. Because of the absence of a significant secular alteration of stature within the well-recorded sample, we exclude secular change in body dimensions as a major bias.

Abstract

The impact of aging on the morphology of the osseous spine is still debated. Clinical studies usually record combined aging effects, as well as age-related degenerative changes. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of (degeneration-independent) aging on the morphology of the osseous human spine during adulthood. Various osseous dimensions of human spinal landmarks at all major vertebral levels have been assessed in macroscopically normal Swiss skeletons (N = 71), with historically known sex and age at death, as well as in larger Central European skeletal samples (N = 277) with anthropologically determined individual age and sex. All measurements were correlated with individual age (or age group) by linear regression and analyzed separately for each sex. Only few osseous spinal dimensions, and only in men, correlate significantly with individual age. Generally, the significant dimensions show an increase in size during adulthood. Similar tendencies, but with significant alterations of spinal measurements in women as well, can be found in the larger samples with anthropologically determined sex and age group. Increase of certain spinal dimensions found in this study may be a reflection of an increase in the robustness of individuals with age. Because of the absence of a significant secular alteration of stature within the well-recorded sample, we exclude secular change in body dimensions as a major bias.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:July 2005
Deposited On:23 Mar 2010 13:34
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:53
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1042-0533
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/ajhb.20403
PubMed ID:15981187

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