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January 5, 2005

Evidence for a 7000-Year-Old Case of Primary Hyperparathyroidism

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(1):36-42. doi:10.1001/jama.293.1.40-c

To the Editor: Several studies have described the importance of bone and soft tissue paleopathology in detecting and tracing various diseases from the dawn of human civilization.1,2 Skeletal manifestations of hyperparathyroidism have only rarely been identified in historic material. In the previously oldest example, from a Roman period cemetery from the Dakhleh Oasis in Egypt,3 the diagnosis was suggested by histomorphometric analysis of bone sections. We describe the findings in what we believe represents the oldest published example of hyperparathyroidism, dating to the Early Neolithic period, around 7000 years ago.