Bound feet “Sing-Song” girls in training at a tea-house, China, 1930’s by Ellen Thorbecke
The faces of decomposition - example of postmortem skin slippage.
Skin slippage or “glove formation” -
"this occurs as a result of edipermis becoming dettached from the dermis due to autolysis."
"Photograph (1894) of the head of a man aged 39 years, who had contracted syphilis 12 years previously"
cremate[ kree-meyt ]
verb (used with object) [cre·mat·ed, cre·mat·ing.]
1. to reduce (a dead body) to ashes by fire, especially as a funeral rite.
The other day at work I got the opportunity to watch a “live” cremation. I was surprised by the lack of smell, or it may have just been the overwhelming heat (our oven was set at 1,400 degrees but goes to a max of 2,000). I have to admit, since my field of interest mainly lays in embalming, I never really thought that the bones wouldn’t burn - instead they come out in a pile like above. We were even able to find the COD (a brain tumour which altered the skull). It was really an amazing learning experience.
I wish that I was able to share photos with you all with everything that I am learning in this job, but for obvious reasons that is not possible.
Hopefully I’ll be able to provide more informative posts with everything that I’m learning at work.
Before and after facial prosthetics on soldiers injured in WWI.
Paget’s disease was originally described in a report that has become a classic in the medical literature (Paget 1877). Paget called the disease osteitis deformans in part because of the extensive and deforming changes that took place in the skeleton in severe cases. The disease is a chronic bone abnormality, which may affect a single, several, or many bones but never involves the entire skeleton. The cause remains unknown although a prevalent hypothesis is that the disease is initiated by a low virus in a genetically vulnerable patient (Mundy 1999: 183-186). It occurs commonly in populations of European descent but is rare in black Africans and even more so in Asians.
The disease process can be best characterized as a pathological increase in the rate of remodeling that may be as much as 20 times normal (Mundy 1999:181). The primary defect appears to be in the osteoclasts, which are larger than normal and contain virus-like inclusion bodies (Fraser 1997:348). It always begins as a local process but may spread through an entire bone, including epiphyses, clear up to and involving subchondral bone plate of the joint. In the skull the process extends readily across suture lines and may involve the face and mandible, resulting in severe deformity (Mirra et al. 1995a:164).
Source: Ortner, Donald J. 2003. Identification of Pathological Conditions in Human Skeletal Remains. Academic Press.
Elephantiasis, also known as Lymphatic filariasis is a tropical disease leading to an elephant-like skin swelling of the lower limb and genitals.
Infection occurs when filarial parasites (worms) are transmitted to humans through infected mosquito bites. Infection is usually acquired in childhood causing hidden damage to the lymphatic system.
The changes to the body can result in social and economic problems for the affected person (often these people are named “elephant men”).
The adult worms only live in the human lymphatic system. The parasite infects the lymph nodes and blocks the flow of lymph throughout the body; this results in chronic edema, most often noted in the lower torso. If untreated, the edema can grow even bigger than in the photo.
More than 120 million people are infected with lymphatic filariasis. About 1.4 billion people are at risk of the disease in 73 countries. The areas where it is most common are Africa and Asia and the disease results in economic losses of many billions of dollars a year.
There are some medications that do not kill the adult worms, but prevent the further spread of the disease until the worms die on their own. When you are in tropical countries, make sure to use bed nets to prevent mosquito bites as good as possible.
Photo by Tropenmuseum Amsterdam
More than 100 years after the centuries-old practice of foot binding was banned in China, these are some of the last living women who were subjected to the practice as children. Once a symbol of beauty and status, foot binding, also known as lotus feet, was carried out in China since the 10th century, falling out of favour in the early 20th century before it was outlawed in 1911. The pictures of women, now aged in their 80s and 90s after foot binding continued in rural areas until around 1939, were taken by Hong Kong-based photographer Jo Farrell, who has launched a Kickstarter fund to complete her project.
Photo credit: Joe Farrell
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