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Title: "A neglected disease" : perspectives on living with arthritis, past and present
Author: Rutterford, Joanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 7660 824X
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis considers and evaluates the efficacy of methods and approaches used to explore the presence and impact of disease in the past and the present. It demonstrates the breadth of information available when multiple disciplines and perspectives are considered concurrently, and highlights the areas where the effects of disease on past societies remain invisible. In this thesis, arthritis is considered from three different perspectives, the first of which is the clinical understanding of the disease. Modern data and theories relating to the causes and distributions of joints diseases are explored, followed by the historical understanding of disease and changing theories and terminology. Both modern and historic treatments are also considered, as well as the social and economic impact of the disease. In addition how arthritis relates to the concept of disability, both modern and historic, is considered. The second perspective explores archaeological evidence for the presence of arthritis in the past, in the form of a case study analysing two samples from Anglo Saxon and Medieval assemblages found in Norfolk, UK. Finally, the cultural representation of joint diseases are discussed, considering their presence in works of art and references in literature. Joints diseases form a category of some of the most disabling conditions, of which osteoarthritis is the most prevalent in both modern and historic populations. The cultural record is however liable to underestimate its presence, and instead place more emphasis on conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, which may be more visible. The costs, both direct and indirect, are high for these conditions today, and are likely to have been so for past societies, although evidence for this remains elusive. It is necessary therefore to consider joint disease from a multidisciplinary perspective, in order to gain a broad understanding of its impact.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available