Issues in paleopathology and possible strategies for dealing with them
Ortner, Donald J.
Human paleopathology has the potential of enriching what we can reconstruct about the lives of our recent and ancient ancestors. The development of remarkably sensitive analytical methods in chemistry and physics provides information that is still in the early stages of being used in research about human paleopathology. Research on mummy and skeletal tissues, both gross and histological, has vastly improved from the early studies in paleopathology. There are, however, nagging issues that have been identified as scientists attempt to conduct new research and interpret the research being done. These include the need for a greater emphasis on rigor in diagnosis of skeletal and soft tissue abnormalities; the establishment of additional research centers that recover and curate large, carefully documented archaeological samples of human remains; better integration between the medical fields of orthopaedic pathology and skeletal radiology with paleopathology; and improved design in the research conducted.