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Evolutionary roots of the risk of hip fracture in humans


Avni, Hadas Leah; Shvalb, Nir; Pokhojaev, Ariel; Francis, Samuel; Pelleg-Kallevag, Ruth; Roul, Victoria; Hublin, Jean-Jacques; Rühli, Frank; May, Hila (2023). Evolutionary roots of the risk of hip fracture in humans. Communications Biology, 6(1):283.

Abstract

The transition to bipedal locomotion was a fundamental milestone in human evolution. Consequently, the human skeleton underwent substantial morphological adaptations. These adaptations are responsible for many of today’s common physical impairments, including hip fractures. This study aims to reveal the morphological changes in the proximal femur, which increase the risk of intracapsular hip fractures in present-day populations. Our sample includes chimpanzees, early hominins, early Homo Neanderthals, as well as prehistoric and recent humans. Using Geometric Morphometric methods, we demonstrate differences in the proximal femur shape between hominids and populations that practiced different lifestyles. We show that the proximal femur morphology is a risk factor for intracapsular hip fracture independent of osteoporosis. Changes in the proximal femur, such as the shortening of the femoral neck and an increased anterolateral expansion of the greater trochanter, are associated with an increased risk for intracapsular hip fractures. We conclude that intracapsular hip fractures are a trade-off for efficient bipedal walking in humans, and their risk is exacerbated by reduced physical activity.

Abstract

The transition to bipedal locomotion was a fundamental milestone in human evolution. Consequently, the human skeleton underwent substantial morphological adaptations. These adaptations are responsible for many of today’s common physical impairments, including hip fractures. This study aims to reveal the morphological changes in the proximal femur, which increase the risk of intracapsular hip fractures in present-day populations. Our sample includes chimpanzees, early hominins, early Homo Neanderthals, as well as prehistoric and recent humans. Using Geometric Morphometric methods, we demonstrate differences in the proximal femur shape between hominids and populations that practiced different lifestyles. We show that the proximal femur morphology is a risk factor for intracapsular hip fracture independent of osteoporosis. Changes in the proximal femur, such as the shortening of the femoral neck and an increased anterolateral expansion of the greater trochanter, are associated with an increased risk for intracapsular hip fractures. We conclude that intracapsular hip fractures are a trade-off for efficient bipedal walking in humans, and their risk is exacerbated by reduced physical activity.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Medicine (miscellaneous)
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Life Sciences > General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Agricultural and Biological Sciences, General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, Medicine (miscellaneous)
Language:English
Date:17 March 2023
Deposited On:22 Nov 2023 15:16
Last Modified:29 Jun 2024 01:40
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2399-3642
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-023-04633-4
PubMed ID:36932194
  • Content: Published Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)