Paget’s disease in an Anglo-Saxon

Paget’s disease in an Anglo-Saxon

Wells, Calvin and Woodhouse, Nicholas

Medical History, Vol.19:4 (1975)


Osteitisdeformans(Paget’sdisease)was described as a clinical entity less than a century ago, but examination of skeletal remains has since revealed that the disease has existed from neolithic times. As early as 1889 Hutchinson described an affected portion of a parietal bone removed from an ancient Egyptian tomb and,although the specimen cannot now betraced,his description of it leaves little doubt as to the diagnosis: “The bone is much thickened and composed throughout of fine porous tisue. Its surface is rough and marked by fine arborescent grooves and minute apertures.On its inner surface the channels for blood vessels are deepened.” Later reports of the disease in ancient man have sometimes been based on inadequate evidence. In this report we describe a case of extensive Paget’s disease,in an unusually well-preserved Late Saxon skeleton, which must rate as one of the most convincing examples yet recorded.

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