Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Of moose and men: 50-year study into moose arthritis reveals link with early malnutrition

Date:
July 7, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
It's seen as a sign of getting old, but scientists have discovered that arthritis is not just a human problem as a study lasting 50 years reveals how moose suffer from an identical form of the condition. The research also casts new light on how malnutrition early in life can lead to the disorder in both moose and humans.

This is a moose from Isle Royale.
Credit: All photos should be attributed to George Desort.

It's seen as a sign of getting old, but scientists have discovered that arthritis is not just a human problem as a study lasting 50 years reveals how moose suffer from an identical form of the condition. The research, published in Ecology Letters, also casts new light on how malnutrition early in life can lead to the disorder in both moose and humans.

The study, which began in 1958, was carried out on Isle Royale, a wilderness island National Park in lake superior, with only one large predator, the wolf and one large prey species, the moose. The research has involved three generations of scientists who have studied the skeletal remains of over 4000 moose, mostly killed by wolves or harsh winters.

"As the study entered its second decade there was increasing evidence of Osteoarthritis (OA) in the moose population," said lead author Rolf Peterson from Michigan Technological University. "OA is a crippling disease and is identical to that found in humans. It is commonly believed to be caused by 'wear and tear,' but the complex causes have remained poorly understood."

In the Isle Royale population OA is especially deadly as it prevents a moose from being able to kick or avoid a lunging wolf, meaning OA is highly linked with moose survival rates.

Over the course of the study the team discovered a rise in OA as the moose population increased, and a decrease when the population fell, leading to the idea that OA is linked to moose malnutrition when food is scarcer. The team found moose that were malnourished when young would develop OA in older age.

"We have shown how malnutrition early in life increased the risk of OA later in life, but this also applies to humans as much as to a herd of moose in the wild," said Peterson.

"These findings cast new light on how early humans first developed OA," said co-author Dr Clark Spencer Larsen, an anthropology expert from Ohio University. "The study of human remains from archaeological contexts reveals OA increased where societies changed from foraging plants and animals to an increased dependency on farming."

Such changes were documented in a mid-continental population of Native Americans 1000 years ago. In this group arthritis increased by 65% as society turned from foraging and hunting to agriculture and the cultivation of maize.

"Initially the increase in OA was put down to increased joint stress due to the labour of agriculture. However research now shows that, like the moose in Isle Royale, nutritional deficiencies early in life may have been the main cause. Early malnutrition was certainly a part of existence for many pre-historic human societies, and remains a fact of life for millions of people across the world, so this study is also relevant for modern human society."

"This remarkable study offers us a unique insight into the complex causes of OA," concluded Peterson. "The link between early nutrition and arthritis, in both people and moose, reveal that OA is more complex than commonly assumed and involves connections between physiology, life histories, populations and communities, while highlighting the importance of the disorder for past and present humans."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Peterson, R.; Larsen, C.S.; Drummer, T.; Fenton, G.; Vucetich, J. The ecology of arthritis. Ecology Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01504.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "Of moose and men: 50-year study into moose arthritis reveals link with early malnutrition." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204703.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, July 7). Of moose and men: 50-year study into moose arthritis reveals link with early malnutrition. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204703.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "Of moose and men: 50-year study into moose arthritis reveals link with early malnutrition." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706204703.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Goliath Spider Will Give You Nightmares

Buzz60 (Oct. 20, 2014) An entomologist stumbled upon a South American Goliath Birdeater. With a name like that, you know it's a terrifying creepy crawler. Sean Dowling (@SeanDowlingTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins