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Postscript References Appendices. The Australian Government Office for Women was involved in the research on a consultative basis as part of the research Reference Group. Financial assistance for the research was provided by the Australian Government Office for Women and several other private, public and tertiary agencies. Dr Hannah Piterman is a consultant, and advisor to senior management and board levels in business, government and academia in the areas of organisational dynamics, leadership, and performance.

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Try out PMC Labs and tell dating what you think. Learn More. In most modern populations, there are sex differentials in morbidity and mortality that favor women. This study addresses whether such female advantages existed to any appreciable degree in medieval Europe. The analyses presented here examine whether men and women with osteological stress markers faced the same risks of death women medieval London. The benefit of using this cemetery is that most, if not all, individuals interred in East Smithfield died from the same cause within a very short period of time.

This allows for the analysis of the differences between men and women in the risks of mortality associated with osteological stress markers without the potential confounding effects of different causes of death. A sample of adults males, females from the East Smithfield cemetery was analyzed. The indicate that australian excess mortality associated with several osteological stress markers was higher for men than for women.

This suggests that in this medieval population, physiological stress increased the risk of death for men during the Black Death to a greater extent than was true for women. Alternatively, the might indicate that the Black Tuscaloosa discriminated less strongly between women with and without pre-existing health conditions than was true for men. These are examined in light of analyses of East Smithfield and what is known about diet and sexually-mediated access to resources in medieval England. In the majority of modern populations, women tend to experience lower age-specific mortality rates at most if not all ages and live longer than men Heligman, ; Coale, ; Hill and Upchurch, For example, in the life expectancy at birth for U.

Mortality differentials favoring females occur because they men to be more resistant to many diseases and generally more highly buffered against environmental stressors than males are Stinson, Females are often at lower risks than males of morbidity and mortality from many causes in modern populations, i. Many studies have found that males are more susceptible than females to a wide range of diseases caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungi e.

Hoff et al.


Males often suffer more severe symptoms or are at elevated risks of mortality from a variety of parasitic and infectious diseases, such as staph infection, trypanosomiasis, leptospirosis, and respiratory infections Hoff et al. However, males are not always at a disadvantage with respect to infectious and parasitic diseases. Many studies in human populations and experimental studies with animal models have found diseases that disproportionately affect females, such as malaria, leishmaniasis, listeriosis, and toxoplasmosis Alexander, ; Roberts et al.

There are also important differences between men and women in terms of the morbidity and mortality associated with degenerative diseases. In modern populations, men suffer more severe symptoms or are at higher risks of mortality from such chronic diseases as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory tuberculosis, malignant neoplasms, renal disease, and cirrhosis of the liver e.

Lopez, ; Liu et al.

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However, some diseases disproportionately affect women. For example, there is a higher prevalence of diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD and autoimmune disorders men women Fairweather et al. Even though males might fare relatively well with respect to some causes of morbidity and mortality, overall it appears that women in modern populations are generally less frail than men, particularly given the near-universal pattern of longer life expectancy or lower age-specific mortality rates at most ages for women Heligman, Differences in frailty among individuals within a population i.

The sex differentials in morbidity and mortality observed in modern populations have various causes. Some of the sex differences in favor of females might be genetically determined. For example, diseases which are caused by recessive X-linked genes, such as X-linked immunodeficiency syndromes, disproportionately affect males Waldron, Some of the observed sex differences in infectious and parasitic disease patterns are attributed to sex hormones, which play an important role in the immune systems, dating estrogens generally enhance immunocompetence, whereas androgens reduce it Grossman, ; Ansar Ahmed et al.

Sex hormones may also influence the risks of some degenerative diseases. For example, sex hormones may affect atherogenesis plaque formation within arteries and thereby influence risks of cardiovascular disease Choi and McLaughlin, The sex differentials associated with some degenerative diseases are also the result women behavioral differences, such as higher rates of cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption among men which are linked to excess male mortality from such causes as coronary heart disease, certain cancers, and cirrhosis of the liver Hetzel, ; Lopez, The pervasiveness of Tuscaloosa and mortality differentials with respect to sex in modern populations raises the question of whether such differentials existed in the past.

Researchers have examined mortality differentials in the australian using documentary data, but such studies are generally limited to the past several hundred years.

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According to Bullough and Campbellmen were believed to live longer than women in the ancient and Medieval world, but beginning in the 14 th century, some documents indicate that women lived longer than men. Unfortunately, there are few empirical data to confirm this.

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Mortality data based on historical documents are available from northern Italy as early as the 14 th century and from other European countries e. England, Wales, and France beginning in the 16 th century, but relatively good data on ages at death for both sexes, which would allow for comparisons of both longevity and age-specific mortality rates between the sexes, do not generally appear until much later, during the 18 th century Russell, ; Hollingsworth and Hollingsworth, ; Herlihy, ; Wrigley and Schofield, ; Willigan and Lynch, ; Ell, ; Bonneuil, ; Gage, National data on mortality were not collected until the 18 th century, beginning in Scandinavia and followed decades later by other European countries Gage, There is some evidence from historical documents that a sex differential in favor of women existed in some populations by at least several hundred years ago.

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In 17 th -century London, for example, mortality rates for women were apparently lower than those of men, despite reports from physicians that women suffered more than men from diseases and uniquely from complications associated with pregnancy and childbirth Graunt, According to Coalemortality rates have been lower for women in European populations since at least the mid th century. At that time, women lived on average 2 to 3 years longer than men, and the disparity has increased since then such that women now live as many as 7 to 8 years longer, on average, than men in several European populations Preston, Investigators have attempted to address questions about mortality differentials in the past by examining life expectancy or mortality rates using skeletal data, with varying.

It is difficult to estimate sex-specific life expectancy from birth using skeletal data given the problems associated with determining sex for sub-adult skeletal material Gage, from these studies have suggested that several different scenarios existed in past populations: longer life expectancies or higher average ages at death for females e. In addition Tuscaloosa estimating life expectancies from skeletal samples, biological anthropologists can examine osteological stress markers which form in response to episodes of disease, malnutrition, or other physiological stressors to determine how sex affected risks of morbidity and mortality in past populations.

Several studies which have australian at differences between men and women in the frequency of particular osteological stress markers have reported higher frequencies women men in past men. For example, OrtnerLarsenand Cassidy found higher frequencies of periostitis in men in prehistoric Native American samples. Analysis of an early Archaic dating from Florida found higher frequencies of linear enamel hypoplasia in males than in females Berbesque and Doran, According to Guatelli-Steinberg and Lukacswhen ificant differences in enamel hypoplasia exist in skeletal samples, there is generally a higher frequency in males than females.

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Such patterns of higher frequencies of stress markers in men, however, are not universal, and many studies have observed higher frequencies in women. Larsen summarizes several studies reporting higher frequencies or greater severity of periostitis among females in prehistoric Southwestern U. Cucina et al. Roman site, and according to Cohen and Bennett there is generally a higher frequency of both porotic hyperostosis and cribra orbitalia among women in prehistoric and historic skeletal samples.

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Studies of maxillary sinusitis have found that the frequency of the pathology is ificantly higher among women in various samples from Native American, English, and Nubian cemeteries Roberts et al. King et al. There are also several studies which have failed to find differences in the frequencies of stress markers between men and women.

Dating study of stress markers in a — B. Nubian site revealed no ificant differences between males and females Buzon and Judd, Storey did not find men differences in the frequency of childhood stress markers between men and australian of the same women status among the Late Classic Maya of Copan.

Buikstra and Cook and Powell found no sex differences in the frequency of tuberculosis in several Middle and Late Woodland and Mississippian sites. Grauer et al. This is not an exhaustive survey of all the studies that have examined sex differences in osteological stress markers. However, the variation even in this brief overview demonstrates that no consistent pattern which would indicate sex differences in underlying frailty has yet been resolved using skeletal data.

Rather than examine frequencies of osteological stress markers to investigate sex differentials in morbidity and mortality in the past, the study presented here uses a hazards model to determine if the excess mortality associated with stress markers differs between the sexes in a medieval skeletal sample from London. Such differences would be informative about whether exposure to stressors affected risks of dying equally for men and women.

The ultimate goal of this study is to examine differences in frailty between men and women in a medieval population, and the approach taken here is potentially more informative than comparing frequencies of stress markers because it does not assume that such markers indicate identical levels of frailty for all individuals in a sample.

Rather, this study allows for but does not require variation between the sexes with respect to the excess mortality associated with osteological stress markers. According to Cohen and Bennett : p. If females were less frail than males in past populations, they might have developed osteological stress markers but nonetheless been more resistant to a variety of causes of death than males.

In other words, the effects Tuscaloosa pre-existing health conditions on risk of dying might have been stronger and thus increased risks of mortality to a greater extent among men than among women.


If this was the case, the excess mortality associated with osteological stress markers should be higher among men than women in skeletal samples; i. This study examines sex differences in the risk of mortality associated with osteological stress markers using a sample from the East Smithfield cemetery in London. The East Smithfield cemetery was established in the 14 th century for the exclusive purpose of burying victims of the Black Death in London Hawkins, Given that all individuals in East Smithfield died during the Black Death, most if not all individuals in the East Smithfield cemetery died from the same cause.

With the East Smithfield sample it is therefore possible to control for cause of death to a greater extent than is possible with normal i. studies have examined the East Smithfield cemetery to determine the selectivity of the Black Death with respect to sex and pre-existing health conditions or frailty DeWitte and Wood, ; DeWitte, Such studies were done in part to evaluate the assumption that because Black Death mortality was very high i.

Selective mortality, or selectivity, refers to the fact that most normal causes of mortality generally target and thus select out of the population those individuals at the highest risks of death in the population rather than killing all individuals at the same rate Wood et al. Skeletal samples, which are obviously samples of dead individuals, are typically not representative of the original living population because of selective mortality.