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Sex differences in the patterning of age-related bone loss in the human hallucal metatarsal in rural and urban populations

Tijdschriftbijdrage - Tijdschriftartikel

Objectives Age-degenerative features of the metatarsals are poorly known despite the importance of metatarsal bone properties for investigating mobility patterns. We assessed the role of habitual activity in shaping the patterning and magnitude of sexual dimorphism in age-related bone loss in the hallucal metatarsal. Materials and methods Cross-sections were extracted at midshaft from micro-computed tomography scan models of individuals from medieval rural (Abingdon Vineyard) and early industrial urban (Spitalfields) settings (n = 71). A suite of cross-sectional geometry dimensions and biomechanical properties were compared between populations. Results The rural group display generally stronger and larger metatarsals that show a greater capacity to resist torsion and that have comparatively greater bending strength along the medio-lateral plane. Men in both groups show greater values of cortical area than women, but only in the urban group do men show lower magnitudes of age-related decline compared to females. Women in rural and urban populations show different patterns of age-related decline in bone mass, particularly old women in the urban group show a marked decline in cortical area that is absent for women in the rural group. Discussion Lifetime exposure to hard, physical activity in an agricultural setting has contributed to the attainment of greater bone mass and stronger bones in young adults. Furthermore, over the life-course, less of this greater amount of bone is lost, such that sustained activity levels may have acted to buffer against age-related decline, and this is most pronounced for women, who are expected to experience greater bone loss later in life than men.
Tijdschrift: AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
ISSN: 1096-8644
Issue: 4
Volume: 171
Pagina's: 628 - 644
Jaar van publicatie:2020