Tuberculosis in the Triassic

Very few infectious diseases leave their traces on your bones. This is a problem for palaeontologists because only bones tend to get fossilised, and soft tissues are vanishing rare in the geological record. Even when these are preserved they're extremely unlikely to reveal signs of any infection the animal might have suffered. Therefore very few... Continue Reading →

Neanderthal Inner Ear Infections?

Did Neanderthals die out because they suffered from chronic ear infections? That’s the possibility raised by a new study that has attempted to reconstruct the structure of the Neanderthal inner ear. Today middle ear infections are usually a minor hazard of childhood that clear up quickly following a course of antibiotics. Untreated though ear infections... Continue Reading →

Syphilis: New World or Old?

Earlier this month the discovery of a 700 year old skeleton showing signs of congenital syphilis was announced by the Medical University of Vienna. Although this might not sound immediately controversial the skeleton itself comes from St Pölten in Austria and that is unusual because syphilis was thought to have been imported to Europe from... Continue Reading →

When Is A Disease Not A Disease?

Today we're moving out of the arena of strict palaeopathology and instead we're going to look at something a little different. The topic is evolutionary medicine, which is in part the study of how diseases have evolved and how we have evolved in response. So we'll start with a question: when is a disease not... Continue Reading →

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