Research

 
Image credit: Moseley, 1965. child from pre-contact coastal Peru

Image credit: Moseley, 1965. child from pre-contact coastal Peru

Anemia and the Skeleton

Archaeologists often diagnose anemia in skeletal remains from characteristic cranial lesions, but clinicians don't talk much about how anemia affects the skull. Are these cranial lesions really indicators of anemia? What type of anemia? How prevalent are these lesions in living populations? What do they mean for the health of living individuals?

I am analyzing evidence for these lesions in a range of modern populations. Currently I am working with computed tomography and associated medical data from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, the Tsimane Health and Life History Project and a new database of digital autopsies through University of New Mexico's Center for Advanced Research Computing.

 

 
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Old friends and friendly fire: fetal tolerance and hookworm infection

The human immune system has adapted to tolerate chronic low infections of certain endemic parasites, as well as adapting to tolerate the non-self tissue of a fetus in order to achieve successful pregnancy.. Can hookworm benefit from pregnancy-related immune modulation? Are pregnant women more susceptible to new infections? Do they experience more anemia from existing infections? Are immune responses to hookworm altered during pregnancy? Data from the Tsimane Health and Life History Project can speak to these questions.