Alzheimer's disease is a prevalent disease that affects roughly 5.4 million individuals each year (Fisher et al., 2018). Understanding the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease within the bioarchaeological record can help anthropologists gain an understanding of a population's health while also understanding the potential social ramifications. Trace element analysis is a valuable tool that allows bioarchaeologists to gain insight into individuals' health and development within the context of the past. In bioarchaeological studies, hair analysis has been used to map the nutritional status and migration patterns of individuals of past peoples, with recent studies focusing on disease prevalence. Analysis of hair as a biosource of information for trace element analysis is highly useful for various reasons such as its ability to withstand taphonomic processes, the high concentration of elements within its structure, and the expanded time frame of an individual's life it represents. This study uses ICP-MS to conduct the trace element analysis of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn), iron (Fe), selenium (Se), and aluminum (Al) to create a profile of hair from 13 bioarchaeological individuals from Romano-Christian Kellis 2 cemetery) in the Dakhleh Oasis, Egypt and 13 modern individuals from the Florida State Willed Body Program at The University of Central Florida Medical School with confirmed or suspected Alzheimer's disease to conduct a comparative analysis between the two samples. High levels of the aforementioned elements have been noted as resulting in a high toxicity level within the brains of individuals with Alzheimer's disease (Dormandy, 1989). Results indicate that eight individuals from Kellis may have had neurological diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease, and mood disorders (e.g., depression, anxiety, and ADD/ADHD). Additionally, health profiles for each individual from Kellis were constructed and show the possibility of other pathological conditions such as cardiovascular disease, kidney/liver disease, anemia, and diabetes mellitus. This research provides a deeper understanding of health and illness in the Dakhleh Oasis during the Romano-Christian period, in conjunction with a holistic understanding of the social care practices as discussed through the theoretical framework of the Bioarchaelogy of Care theory.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Barron, Emily, "Identifying Biomarkers of Alzheimer's Disease from the Dakhleh Oasis Kellis 2 Cemetery using ICP-MS" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 646.