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Novak M.,University College Dublin | Novak M.,Institute for Anthropological Research
Archives of Oral Biology | Year: 2015

Objective With the aim to get a better picture of dental health, diet and nutrition in early medieval Ireland a population-based study focusing on several attributes of oral health in adult individuals was conducted. The study focused on possible differences between sexes and age groups in terms of frequency and distribution of studied pathologies in order to determine whether these differences result from different diets, cultural practices or are age-related. Design Permanent dentitions belonging to adult individuals from five Irish early medieval sites were examined for the evidence of caries, ante-mortem tooth loss, abscesses, calculus, alveolar bone resorption and tooth wear. All pathologies were analysed and presented by teeth and alveoli. Results A total of 3233 teeth and 3649 alveoli belonging to 167 individuals (85 males and 82 females) were included into the analysis. Males exhibited significantly higher prevalence of abscesses, heavy wear and alveolar bone resorption, while females exhibited significantly higher prevalence of calculus. All studied dento-alveolar pathologies showed a strong correlation with advanced age, except calculus in females. Additionally, dental wear associated with habitual activities was observed in two females. Conclusion The results of the present study confirm the data gained by written sources and stable isotopes analyses suggesting the diet of the early Irish was rich in carbohydrates with only occasional use of meat. Furthermore, significant differences between the sexes in terms of recorded pathologies strongly suggest different nutritional patterns with females consuming foods mostly based on carbohydrates in comparison to males. The observed sex-differences might also occur due to differences between male and female sex such as reproductive biology and pregnancy, a somewhat different age distributions, but also as a result of different cultural practices between the sexes. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Orlic O.,Institute for Anthropological Research
Journal of Marine and Island Cultures | Year: 2013

In this paper the author deals with the claiming of Korčulan identity for Marco Polo as an invented tradition. According to some, the combination of Korčulan archive data, Korčulan family names and some historical facts give the island's inhabitants the opportunity to question Marco Polo's "Venetian origin" and attempt to claim that he or his family originated on the island. The author analyzes the attitudes and opinions of local residents concerning the issue and discusses it in the framework of the concept of invented tradition. The contemporary use of Marco Polo name as a symbol for Korčula Island reveals its great potential for tourism. © 2013.

Missoni S.,Institute for Anthropological Research
Collegium Antropologicum | Year: 2012

Although Croatia is divided into continental and insular subpopulation which practice different dietary habits, a general shift in nutritional habits has been observed in the direction of globalization, including considerably higher intake of red meat, saturated fatty acids, milk, dairies etc. and accompanied by a decrease in physical activity. These relatively abrupt changes have had an especially significant impact on the insular populations, known for their traditional Mediterranean diet and have led to the increased prevalence of hypertension, metabolic syndrome, diabetes mellitus, coronary heart diseases etc. on Croatian islands. Since the expression of genes responsible for the occurrence of complex diseases can be enhanced in isolated populations due to the effect of evolutionary forces, genetic-epidemiological research in population isolates is of great importance, giving us insight into the interplay between intrinsic (genes) and extrinsic risk factors (diet) for disease development.

Human body is dinamic, energetic system under the influences of food intake, environment, interpersonal relationships, inheritance, culture and human activities. The environmental and psychosocioeconomic factors affect the individual’s health altering the performance of biological systems effecting disease risk and disease progression. The concerns in modern society are more and more devoted to stress and its influences on health. Life span is extended but the quality of life, well-being and productivity usually do not follow that extention. Body is a flow of energy and dynamic comunications with inside and outside environment. The way to improve health is to address its social determinants. Only in sinergy the questions about disease and health could be better understood. It is not enough to diagnose illness, important is to diagnose circumstances and environmental influences that consequently lead to disease. Emotional disruptions make base for physical disruptions. Social gradient and stress involving personal life and work is a significant factor in physical and mental illness. The best indicator of the successful social policy result is the sense of well-being of the inhabitants. Holistic approach to a patient and discussions about the influences in patient’s life can lead to a better health outcome. Anthropology studies people’s habits, means and conditions of life and can be the bridge between the medicine and the life circumstances that put people’s health at risk providing important insights into health and disease and assist in public health policies, preventive measures and health improvement of the populations. © 2014 Croatian Anthropological Society. All rights reserved.

Jankovic I.,Institute for Anthropological Research
Periodicum Biologorum | Year: 2015

Humans are primates, and as such, our overall anatomy is very similar to that of other members of this biological order. Yet, there are numerous differences in certain anatomical regions of living humans when compared to our closest living relatives, the African great apes. Many of these, such as our extremely large brains compared to body size (even if all primates have relatively large brains), details in dental anatomy, and so on, appear at different times in our evolutionary past and within the tribe hominini. However, the first, and taxonomically most significant synapomorphy of the hominin clade is a change in locomotory mode, from that of a quadruped (presumably the ancestral state in last common ancestor (LCA) of humans and apes) to biped. In this paper, a brief overview is given of the most important anatomical challenges that these novel locomotory patterns required to be enegretically efficient, as seen in the comparison between living African apes and humans. Further, an overview of the fossil record, as related to the issues raised, is given. Lastly, the importance of understanding evolutionary adaptations and changes for the medical profession is discussed. © 2015 Croatian Society of Natural Sciences. All rights reserved.

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