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Evolutionary origin of major musculoskeletal disorders of modern humans

English title Evolutionary origin of major musculoskeletal disorders of modern humans
Applicant Häusler Martin
Number 156299
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Evolutionäre Medizin IEM Medizinische Fakultät Universität Zürich
Institution of higher education University of Zurich - ZH
Main discipline Diseases of Bones and Joints
Start/End 01.10.2014 - 30.09.2017
Approved amount 405'144.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Diseases of Bones and Joints
Anthropology, Primatology

Keywords (8)

human evolution; evolutionary medicine; palaeopathology; subacromial impingement syndrome; functional morphology; geometric morphometrics; low back pain; lumbar lordosis

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Erkrankungen des Bewegungsapparates sind bei heutigen Menschen sehr weit verbreitet, aber erstaunlich selten bei Menschenaffen, unseren nächsten Verwandten im Tierreich. Vor allem unsere Rückenbeschwerden, aber auch das subacromiale Impingementsyndrom, die häufigste Erkrankung im Schultergürtel, werden oft in einen kausalen Zusammenhang mit unserem zweibeinig aufrechten Gang gebracht. Zudem haben sich unsere Umwelt und unsere Lebensweise in den letzten zehntausend Jahren dramatisch verändert. Das Projekt untersucht diese Beziehungen mit Hilfe eines evolutionären Ansatzes und einer Analyse von Fossilien.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziele des Forschungsprojektes

Die Entstehung des zweibeinig aufrechten Ganges war mit einer Reihe von Veränderungen unseres Bewegungsapparates verbunden. Der erste Teil des Projektes befasst sich mit Merkmalen unserer Wirbelsäule, die sich im Laufe der Evolution verändert haben, wie z.B. ihrer doppel-S-förmigen Krümmung und der relative grossen Beweglichkeit, sowie der unterschiedlichen Häufigkeit mechanisch bedingter Erkrankungen der Wirbelsäule bei den Fossilien im Vergleich zu heute. Im zweiten Teil des Projektes sollen die Veränderungen von bekannten anatomischen Risikofaktoren für Schulterbeschwerden im Verlaufe der Stammesgeschichte untersucht werden. Bisherige Studien basierten dabei hauptsächlich auf zweidimensionalen Röntgenbildern und MRI-Schnittbildern. Die komplexe Anatomie des Schultergürtels wurde aber noch nie dreidimensional untersucht.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Die evolutionäre Medizin und bildet eine Brücke zwischen der klinischen Medizin, Anatomie, Evolutionsbiologie und Paläoanthropologie. Unsere Resultate werden helfen zu verstehen, wieso unser Körper trotz Millionen Jahren natürlicher Selektion anfällig für Krankheiten ist. Dies kann neue Erkenntnisse über Ursachen bringen und einen anderen Zugang zu Gesundheit und Krankheit ermöglichen.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 08.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
3D growth changes in ribs during late ontogeny in hominids and its importance for the thorax of KNM-WT 15000: a preliminary approach
García-Martínez D Spoor F Nalla S Torres-Tamayo N Cunha E Haeusler M Bastir M. (2017), 3D growth changes in ribs during late ontogeny in hominids and its importance for the thorax of KNM-WT 15000: a preliminary approach, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 6, 72.
Functional approach to the lumbar spine: a three-dimensional analysis of articular facet orientation
Bonneau N Frater N Fornai C Haeusler M. (2017), Functional approach to the lumbar spine: a three-dimensional analysis of articular facet orientation, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 6, 26.
Glenoid morphology in light of anatomical and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: a dissection- and 3D-CT-based study in male and female body donors
Mathews S Burkhard M Serrano N Link K Häusler M Frater N Franke I Bischofberger H Buck FM G (2017), Glenoid morphology in light of anatomical and reverse total shoulder arthroplasty: a dissection- and 3D-CT-based study in male and female body donors, in BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 18(9), 1-11.
How the pelvis and vertebral column became a functional unit in human evolution during the transition from occasional to permanent bipedalism?
Tardieu C Hasegawa K Haeusler M (2017), How the pelvis and vertebral column became a functional unit in human evolution during the transition from occasional to permanent bipedalism?, in Anat Rec, 300, 912–31.
The vertebral column of La Chapelle-aux Saints: the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis for Neanderthal spinal curvature
Haeusler M Fornai C Frater N Bonneau N. (2017), The vertebral column of La Chapelle-aux Saints: the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis for Neanderthal spinal curvature, in American Journal of Physical Anthropology, 162(Suppl. 64), 206.
Neanderthal vertebral curvature and spinal motion – the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis in the La Chapelle-aux Saints skeleton
Haeusler M Fornai C Frater N Been E Bonneau N. (2016), Neanderthal vertebral curvature and spinal motion – the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis in the La Chapelle-aux Saints skeleton, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 5, 115.
The oldest case of polyarticular arthritis in the hominin fossil record: the MH2 skeleton (Australopithecus sediba) — a trade-off of bipedalism?
Mathews S Frater N Bonneau N Haeusler M. (2016), The oldest case of polyarticular arthritis in the hominin fossil record: the MH2 skeleton (Australopithecus sediba) — a trade-off of bipedalism?, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 5, 158.
Are musculoskeletal disorders evolutionary trade-offs of bipedalism?
Haeusler M Frater N Mathews S Landis S Boeni T Zipfel B Ruehli F (2015), Are musculoskeletal disorders evolutionary trade-offs of bipedalism?, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 4, 107.
Are rotator cuff lesions of the human shoulder joint related to the evolution of bipedalism?
Mathews S Haeusler M. (2015), Are rotator cuff lesions of the human shoulder joint related to the evolution of bipedalism?, in Proceedings of the European Society for the study of Human Evolution, 4, 154.
Evolution of the hominin scapula and rotator cuff musculature
Mathews S Haeusler M. (2015), Evolution of the hominin scapula and rotator cuff musculature, in AJPA, Suppl 60, 218.
Spinal cord evolution in early Homo
Meyer Marc R., Haeusler Martin (2015), Spinal cord evolution in early Homo, in Journal of Human Evolution, 88, 43-53.
Did a longer “functional” lumbar spine in early hominids facilitate the evolution of the lumbar lordosis?
Frater N, Bonneau N, Mathews S, Tardieu C, Haeusler M (2014), Did a longer “functional” lumbar spine in early hominids facilitate the evolution of the lumbar lordosis?, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 3, 72.
Spinal stenosis in Homo erectus
Meyer M Haeusler M. (2014), Spinal stenosis in Homo erectus, in Proc Europ Soc Hum Evol, 3, 119.
Spinal stenosis in Homo erectus
Meyer M., Haeusler M. (2014), Spinal stenosis in Homo erectus, in Proc. Europ. Soc. Hum. Evol. , 3, 119.
Musculoskeletal System
Haeusler M Bender N Aldakak L Galassi FM Eppenberger P Henneberg M Rühli F., Musculoskeletal System, in Brüne M Schiefenhövel W (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 7.
The acquisition of human verticality with an emphasis on sagittal balance
Tardieu C Haeusler M., The acquisition of human verticality with an emphasis on sagittal balance, in Roussouly P Pinheiro-Franco JL Labelle H Gehrchen M (ed.).

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Jahrestagung Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Anthropologie 2017 Talk given at a conference The vertebral column of La Chapelle-aux-Saints - the evidence from spinal osteoarthritis for Neanderthal spinal curvature 22.11.2017 Zürich, Switzerland Fornai Cinzia; Bonneau Noémi; Nakita Frater;
Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health 2017 Talk given at a conference An evolutionary perspective on back problems. 18.08.2017 Groningen, Netherlands Fornai Cinzia; Nakita Frater; Häusler Martin; Bonneau Noémi;
American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference he vertebral column of La Chapelle-aux Saints: the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis for Neanderthal spinal curvature 25.04.2017 New Orleans, United States of America Fornai Cinzia; Nakita Frater; Häusler Martin; Bonneau Noémi;
Jahrestagung Schweizerische Gesellschaft für Anthropologie 2016 Talk given at a conference The number of vertebrae in hominin evolution and the problem of missing segments 22.11.2016 Basel, Switzerland Nakita Frater; Mathews Sandra; Häusler Martin;
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution Meeting 2016 Poster Neanderthal vertebral curvature and spinal motion – the evidence of spinal osteoarthritis in the La Chapelle-aux Saints skeleton 25.09.2016 Madrid, Spain Bonneau Noémi; Häusler Martin; Nakita Frater; Mathews Sandra; Fornai Cinzia;
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution Meeting 2016 Talk given at a conference The oldest case of polyarticular arthritis in the hominin fossil record: the MH2 skeleton (Australopithecus sediba) — a trade-off of bipedalism? 22.09.2016 Madrid, Spain Mathews Sandra; Nakita Frater; Häusler Martin; Bonneau Noémi;
Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health 2016 Talk given at a conference Osteoarthritis and Human Evolution 22.08.2016 Durham, United States of America Häusler Martin; Mathews Sandra;
Meeting of the International Society for Evolution, Medicine and Public Health 2016 Talk given at a conference Low back pain as a trade-off to efficient walking: A new perspective on connecting evolutionary medicine with public health 22.08.2016 Durham, United States of America Häusler Martin;
Paleoanthropology Society Meeting 2016 Talk given at a conference The number of lumbar vertebrae in hominin evolution and the problem of missing segments 15.04.2016 Atlanta, United States of America Nakita Frater; Häusler Martin; Mathews Sandra;
Paleoanthropology Society Meeting Talk given at a conference Pathologies of the skeleton MH2 (Australopithecus sediba). 14.04.2016 Atlanta, United States of America Häusler Martin; Mathews Sandra;
Jahrestagung Schweizerische Gesellscahft für Anthropologie 2015 Talk given at a conference An ancient case: Pathologies of MH2 (Australopithecus sediba) 22.11.2015 Lausanne, Switzerland Häusler Martin; Mathews Sandra;
European Society for the study of Human Evolution Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Are rotator cuff lesions of the human shoulder joint related to the evolution of bipedalism? 22.09.2015 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mathews Sandra; Häusler Martin;
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Are musculoskeletal disorders evolutionary trade-offs of bipedalism? 22.09.2015 London, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Mathews Sandra; Nakita Frater; Häusler Martin; Bonneau Noémi;
American Association of Physical Anthropologists Meeting 2015 Talk given at a conference Evolution of the hominin scapula and rotator cuff musculature 15.04.2015 St. Louis, United States of America Häusler Martin; Mathews Sandra;
Meeting of the International Society of Evolution, Medicine and Public Health 2015 Talk given at a conference Are musculoskeletal disorders evolutionary trade-offs of bipedalism? 18.03.2015 Tempe, United States of America Mathews Sandra; Nakita Frater; Bonneau Noémi; Häusler Martin;
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution Meeting 2014 Talk given at a conference Spinal stenosis in Homo erectus. 31.12.2014 Florenz, Italy Häusler Martin;
European Society for the Study of Human Evolution Meeting 2016 Talk given at a conference Did a longer “functional” lumbar spine in early hominids facilitate the evolution of the lumbar lordosis? 31.12.2014 Florenz, Italy Häusler Martin; Bonneau Noémi; Nakita Frater; Mathews Sandra;


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
176319 Birth and human evolution - implications from computer-assisted reconstructions 01.10.2017 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

Musculoskeletal disorders are extremely common in modern people. Their socioeconomic burden exceeds that of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Growing life expectancy and escalations in obesity will further increase their impact. An important factor in their aetiology is biomechanical stress, part of which might be directly at-tributable to our bipedal posture and locomotion and modern daily behaviour. In fact, musculoskeletal disorders are surprisingly uncommon among non-human primates. Thus, neck and low back problems, but also shoulder im-pingement syndrome are regularly attributed to trade-offs of bipedalism. This project will test these suppositions by using an evolutionary approach based on the analysis of the fossil record.Subproject A SPINE will shed light on the aetiology of our universal low back problems. Here, we focus on three aspects of the lower back. Early hominids differ from modern humans by a more cranial position of the transition from thoracic type to lumbar type articular facets. This is thought to have increased the sagittal mobility of the spine, which would have facilitated the critical adoption of the lumbar lordosis. Yet, a more mobile back could be correlated with low back problems. In work package (WP) A1, we will analyse the impact of facet joint orientation on sagittal mobility and musculoskeletal disorders of the spine by using functional lumbar radiographs of low back patients. In WP A2, we will study the change of the lumbar lordosis angle during the course of human evolution to understand why Neanderthals had a more ape-like lumbar curve than Australopithecus and Homo erectus. In WP A3 we will assess the prevalence of vertebral pathologies in hominid fossils and evaluate morpho-logical and biomechanical factors that might explain these pathologies. Subproject B SHOULDER analyses the evolutionary background of the impingement syndrome that ac-counts for the majority of shoulder complaints in modern people. In WP B1, we will analyse known anatomical risk factors for impingement syndrome in scapulae and associated humeri of modern humans, fossil hominids and great apes. We hypothesize that characteristics unique to the human lineage are crucial in the aetiology of shoulder impingement syndrome. While previous studies were all based on two-dimensional radiographs and MRI sections, our study will be the first that fully acknowledge the complex 3D anatomy of the shoulder girdle. In the related WP B2, we will use 3D geometric morphometrics to investigate the reorganization of scapular morphology during the evolution from a shoulder girdle adapted to overhead activities to one adapted for use of the arm in a lowered position. This allows us to study the associated reorganization of the rotator cuff muscles that is thought to be an important factor in the aetiology of shoulder impingement syndrome. In WP B3, we will examine the value of the manubrium and the sternoclavicular joint to infer shoulder position in human evolution. Our approach is based on state of the art technologies of comparative morphology. Except for WP A1 of Subproject Spine that analyses X-rays, we will acquire high resolution 3D surface scans of the lumbar vertebrae and pelvis as well as the bones of the shoulder girdle of a large number of modern humans, great apes, and all rel-evant early hominid fossils. The modern comparative sample will supplemented with CT/ MRI scans of clinical patients for which 3D surface models will be generated. 3D landmarks will then be placed analogous to known ra-diologic morphological risk factors for musculoskeletal disorders in addition to standard measurements. This spatial information will be used for statistical shape analysis using vector geometry and Procrustes-based geometric morphometrics.Our results will help to understand the ultimate causes of low back problems and subacromial impingement syndrome. This will provide an evolutionary explanation for the weak points of our bony frame that could have an important impact on our approach to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.
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