Acute otitis media (AOM) is one of the most common pediatric conditions worldwide. Peak age of occurrence for AOM has been identified within the first postnatal year and it remains frequent until approximately six postnatal years. Morphological differences between adults and infants in the cartilaginous Eustachian tube (CET) and associated structures may be responsible for development of this disease yet few have investigated normal growth trajectories. We tested hypotheses on coincidence of skeletal growth changes and known ages of peak AOM occurrence. Growth was divided into five dental eruption stages ranging from edentulous neonates (Stage 1) to adults with erupted third maxillary molars (Stage 5). A total of 32 three-dimensional landmarks were used and Generalized Procrustes Analysis was performed. Next, we performed principal components analysis and calculated univariate measures. It was found that growth change in Stage 1 was the most rapid and comprised the largest amount of overall growth in upper respiratory tract proportions (where time is represented by the natural logarithmic transformation of centroid size). The analysis of univariate measures showed that Stage 1 humans did indeed possess the relatively shortest and most horizontally oriented CET’s with the greatest amount of growth change occurring at the transition to Stage 2 (eruption of deciduous dentition at five postnatal months, commencing peak AOM incidence) and ceasing by Stage 3 (approximately six postnatal years). Skeletal indicators appear related to peak ages of AOM incidence and may contribute to understanding of a nearly ubiquitous human disease
The bodies are typically found by accident. A decaying corpse drying out in the Texas sun, stumbled upon by a hunter or ranch hand. A call might be placed to the sheriff’s office or the remains might be loaded into the back of a pickup truck. Often, they will be delivered to a rural cemetery where paperwork may or may not be filled out before they are lowered into a hole in some unclaimed corner of the graveyard. Sometimes, a tin marker bearing words such as “unidentified male” or “unidentified female” will be left to signal the deceased’s final resting place, but often not. And so it has been for years in Brooks County, an expanse of sprawling ranches some 75 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border, where more than 550 dead migrants have been found since 2009, marking the highest total for any county in the state.
Clothing and personal effects recovered with the remains of unidentified suspected migrants dry on the floor of Texas State University’s Osteological Research and Processing Laboratory (ORPL) in San Marcos, Texas, January 14, 2016. These items will be cataloged and investigated as part of Operation Identification (OpID), an effort to identify and repatriate bodies recovered along migration routes near the US-Mexico border.
From left, Texas State University Students Shelby Garza, Audrey Schaefer, and Kari Helgeson remove an unidentified victim’s remains from a grave in Falfurrias, Texas, on January 5, 2017 as part of Operation Identification (OpID), an initiative to identify and repatriate the remains of suspected migrants recovered along the U.S.-Mexico border.
Graduate student Courtney Siegert secures her personal protective equipment as she walks past donors’ recently cleaned skeletons at Texas State University’s Osteological Research and Processing Laboratory (ORPL) in San Marcos, Texas, April 21, 2016.