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Durham University

Department of Archaeology

Research Postgraduates

Publication details for Kori Lea Filipek

Filipek-Ogden, KL (2014). Ill-Fated? Exploring bioarchaeological links between childhood non-specific indicators of stress and leprosy immunity in Medieval England. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 153(S58): 117.
  • Publication type: Journal Article

Author(s) from Durham


The Developmental Origins of Health and Disease paradigm (DOHaD) postulates that many modern day health concerns can be attributed to underlying, innate immune susceptibilities initiated by prenatal and early childhood stresses. This research explores the DOHaD paradigm (formerly known as the Barker Hypothesis) with a view to the past, specifically by examining non-specific indicators of childhood stress and leprosy in archaeological human skeletal remains in order to identify a potential nexus to the large range in immunity seen in leprosy, both in the past and present. A bibliometric analysis was carried out on a total of 151 individuals with the lepromatous form of leprosy (both non-adults and adults) from published and unpublished skeletal data of the three largest medieval leprosy sites in England: St. Johns (Norwich), St. Mary Magdalen (Winchester), and St. James and St. Mary Magdalene (Chichester). Findings indicate that whilst cribra orbitalia, porotic hyperostosis, and
stature are inconsequential in leprosy form and manifestation, biological sex and dental enamel hypoplasia demonstrate a statistically significant relationship, suggesting that immune reactivity in the past may have been more influenced by maternal and early physiological stress rather than external environments during later periods of growth and development.