University of Oulu

Korpinen, Niina, Oura, Petteri and Junno, Juho-Antti. (2023). Sex- and site-specific, age-related changes in bone density – a Terry collection study. HOMO, 74(1), p. 17 - 32.

Sex- and site-specific, age-related changes in bone density : a Terry collection study

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Author: Korpinen, Niina1; Oura, Petteri2,3,4,5; Junno, Juho-Antti1,3,4,5,6
Organizations: 1Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Oulu, Finland
2Department of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Finland
3Medical Research Center Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
4Faculty of Medicine, Center for Life Course Health Research, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
5Faculty of Medicine, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
6Faculty of Medicine, Cancer and Translational Medicine Research Unit, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Schweizerbart, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-11-03


As modern populations are living longer, age-related health issues have become more common. One growing concern is the age-related bone density loss that increases the individual’s risk for fractures, which unfortunately seems to disproportionately afflict women. These fractures are not only detrimental to the individuals’ lives but also come with a great economic burden to the societies. Although age-related bone loss is a normal phenomenon, studies on archaeological individuals have demonstrated that the pattern how this occurs has experienced changes due to our changing lifestyles. Hence, to add to our understanding of secular trends in age-related bone loss, we studied age- and sex-related differences in vertebral and femoral bone densities of a recent past population of late 19th and early 20th century Americans. We used a sample of 114 individuals (55 males, 59 females) from the Robert J. Terry Anatomical Skeletal Collection. Peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT) was used to scan the dry bones. We took one scan from the 4th lumbar vertebra and three scans from the femur. The associations between the age, sex and bone density were analyzed. We were able to detect age-related bone loss in both vertebra and femur. It was observed that men tended to lose more bone density on the vertebra, whereas bone loss in women was more pronounced in the femur. We speculate that differences to modern and earlier archaeological populations are related to the major lifestyle differences between the periods.

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Series: HOMO
ISSN: 0018-442X
ISSN-E: 1618-1301
ISSN-L: 0018-442X
Volume: 74
Issue: 1
Pages: 17 - 32
DOI: 10.1127/homo/2023/1662
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 319 Forensic science and other medical sciences
615 History and archaeology
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Funding: This work was financially supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation and Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, which had no involvement in study design, execution, or reporting.
Dataset Reference: The data that support the findings of this study are available from the corresponding author upon reasonable request.
Copyright information: © 2023 The Authors. Open Access Article.