Computed tomography shows high fracture prevalence among physically active forager-horticulturalists with high fertility

HORUS Study Team

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Modern humans have more fragile skeletons than other hominins, which may result from physical inactivity. Here, we test whether reproductive effort also compromises bone strength, by measuring using computed tomography thoracic vertebral bone mineral density (BMD) and fracture prevalence among physically active Tsimane forager-horticulturalists. Earlier onset of reproduction and shorter interbirth intervals are associated with reduced BMD for women. Tsimane BMD is lower versus Americans, but only for women, contrary to simple predictions relying on inactivity to explain skeletal fragility. Minimal BMD differences exist between Tsimane and American men, suggesting that systemic factors other than fertility (e.g. diet) do not easily explain Tsimane women's lower BMD. Tsimane fracture prevalence is also higher versus Americans. Lower BMD increases Tsimane fracture risk, but only for women, suggesting a role of weak bone in women's fracture etiology. Our results highlight the role of sex-specific mechanisms underlying skeletal fragility that operate long before menopause.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournaleLife
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 16 2019

Fingerprint

Bone Density
Tomography
Fertility
Bone
Minerals
Bone and Bones
Bone Fractures
Hominidae
Menopause
Skeleton
Reproduction
Thorax
Nutrition
Diet

Keywords

  • bone mineral density
  • evolutionary biology
  • human
  • human biology
  • human evolution
  • life history theory
  • medicine
  • osteoporosis
  • skeletal gracility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)

Cite this

Computed tomography shows high fracture prevalence among physically active forager-horticulturalists with high fertility. / HORUS Study Team.

In: eLife, Vol. 8, 16.08.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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