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Gender-based occupational differences during the height of the Industrial Revolution are particularly apparent when examining the risk of injury and disease. For Buffalo, NY, this was no exception, as it acted as an urban center that enticed numerous European immigrants seeking employment. This study investigates tibial periosteal reactions by sex and anatomical location from the Erie County Poorhouse Cemetery (1851-1913) to illuminate life in this historic era. The type and extent of reactions were scored, and these criteria were compared by side (e.g., left) and bone segment (e.g., proximal ⅓ of diaphysis) for each individual with tibia(e). Of the 181 individuals, 96 (53%) displayed periosteal reactions. Of the 67 males and 38 females, 40 (59.7%) and 23 (59.7%) respectively exhibited periosteal reactions. No statistical difference between males and females based on the periosteal reaction was observed. Of the 174 left tibiae, 81 (46.6%) displayed periosteal reactions. There were 66 males and 35 females with left tibiae, of which 33 (50%) and 20 (57.1%) respectively had periosteal reactions. Of 168 right tibiae,79 (47%) exhibited a reaction. There were 36 females and 63 males with right tibiae, 20 (56%) and 34 (54%) respectively displayed periosteal reactions. These results could indicate a relationship between occupational stress as well as overall health. However, when viewing the overall reactions independently from both sides, males and females appear to be at equal risk of developing tibial periosteal reaction despite the occupational gender roles by industries in Buffalo’s economy.

Publication Date

Spring 2021




Industrial Revolution; Periosteal reaction; Tibia; Erie County Poorhouse



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Faculty Mentor: Jennifer Byrnes, Ph.D.

Preliminary Analysis of Periosteal Reaction of the Tibia in the Erie County Poorhouse Cemetery (1851-1913)

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