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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 818724, 7 pages
Research Article

Modeling Clinical States and Metabolic Rhythms in Bioarcheology

1Health Sciences Center, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
2Department of Biosciences, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway
3Department of Public Health and Pediatric Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
4Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Institute of Meteoritics, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
5Cancer Research and Treatment, Center Fluorescence Microscopy Facility, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
6Department of Pathology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
7New Mexico Health Enhancement and Marathon Clinics Research Foundation, Albuquerque, NM, USA

Received 22 October 2014; Revised 26 November 2014; Accepted 11 December 2014

Academic Editor: Giuseppe Piccione

Copyright © 2015 Clifford Qualls et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bioarcheology is cross disciplinary research encompassing the study of human remains. However, life’s activities have, up till now, eluded bioarcheological investigation. We hypothesized that growth lines in hair might archive the biologic rhythms, growth rate, and metabolism during life. Computational modeling predicted the physical appearance, derived from hair growth rate, biologic rhythms, and mental state for human remains from the Roman period. The width of repeat growth intervals (RI’s) on the hair, shown by confocal microscopy, allowed computation of time series of periodicities of the RI’s to model growth rates of the hairs. Our results are based on four hairs from controls yielding 212 data points and the RI’s of six cropped hairs from Zweeloo woman’s scalp yielding 504 data points. Hair growth was, ten times faster than normal consistent with hypertrichosis. Cantú syndrome consists of hypertrichosis, dyschondrosteosis, short stature, and cardiomegaly. Sympathetic activation and enhanced metabolic state suggesting arousal was also present. Two-photon microscopy visualized preserved portions of autonomic nerve fibers surrounding the hair bulb. Scanning electron microscopy found evidence that a knife was used to cut the hair three to five days before death. Thus computational modeling enabled the elucidation of life’s activities 2000 years after death in this individual with Cantu syndrome. This may have implications for archeology and forensic sciences.