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      Belly fat or bloating? New insights into the physical appearance of St Anthony of Padua

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          Abstract

          Over the centuries, iconographic representations of St Anthony of Padua, one of the most revered saints in the Catholic world, have been inspired by literary sources, which described the Saint as either naturally corpulent or with a swollen abdomen due to dropsy (i.e. fluid accumulation in the body cavities). Even recent attempts to reconstruct the face of the Saint have yielded discordant results regarding his outward appearance. To address questions about the real appearance of St Anthony, we applied body mass estimation equations to the osteometric measurements taken in 1981, during the public recognition of the Saint’s skeletal remains. Both the biomechanical and the morphometric approach were employed to solve some intrinsic limitations in the equations for body mass estimation from skeletal remains. The estimated body mass was used to assess the physique of the Saint with the body mass index. The outcomes of this investigation reveal interesting information about the body type of the Saint throughout his lifetime.

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          Environmental contributions to the obesity epidemic.

          The current epidemic of obesity is caused largely by an environment that promotes excessive food intake and discourages physical activity. Although humans have evolved excellent physiological mechanisms to defend against body weight loss, they have only weak physiological mechanisms to defend against body weight gain when food is abundant. Control of portion size, consumption of a diet low in fat and energy density, and regular physical activity are behaviors that protect against obesity, but it is becoming difficult to adopt and maintain these behaviors in the current environment. Because obesity is difficult to treat, public health efforts need to be directed toward prevention.
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            Body mass and encephalization in Pleistocene Homo.

            Many dramatic changes in morphology within the genus Homo have occurred over the past 2 million years or more, including large increases in absolute brain size and decreases in postcanine dental size and skeletal robusticity. Body mass, as the 'size' variable against which other morphological features are usually judged, has been important for assessing these changes. Yet past body mass estimates for Pleistocene Homo have varied greatly, sometimes by as much as 50% for the same individuals. Here we show that two independent methods of body-mass estimation yield concordant results when applied to Pleistocene Homo specimens. On the basis of an analysis of 163 individuals, body mass in Pleistocene Homo averaged significantly (about 10%) larger than a representative sample of living humans. Relative to body mass, brain mass in late archaic H. sapiens (Neanderthals) was slightly smaller than in early 'anatomically modern' humans, but the major increase in encephalization within Homo occurred earlier during the Middle Pleistocene (600-150 thousand years before present (kyr BP)), preceded by a long period of stasis extending through the Early Pleistocene (1,800 kyr BP).
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              Who's afraid of the big bad Wolff?: "Wolff's law" and bone functional adaptation.

              "Wolff's law" is a concept that has sometimes been misrepresented, and frequently misunderstood, in the anthropological literature. Although it was originally formulated in a strict mathematical sense that has since been discredited, the more general concept of "bone functional adaptation" to mechanical loading (a designation that should probably replace "Wolff's law") is supported by much experimental and observational data. Objections raised to earlier studies of bone functional adaptation have largely been addressed by more recent and better-controlled studies. While the bone morphological response to mechanical strains is reduced in adults relative to juveniles, claims that adult morphology reflects only juvenile loadings are greatly exaggerated. Similarly, while there are important genetic influences on bone development and on the nature of bone's response to mechanical loading, variations in loadings themselves are equally if not more important in determining variations in morphology, especially in comparisons between closely related individuals or species. The correspondence between bone strain patterns and bone structure is variable, depending on skeletal location and the general mechanical environment (e.g., distal vs. proximal limb elements, cursorial vs. noncursorial animals), so that mechanical/behavioral inferences based on structure alone should be limited to corresponding skeletal regions and animals with similar basic mechanical designs. Within such comparisons, traditional geometric parameters (such as second moments of area and section moduli) still give the best available estimates of in vivo mechanical competence. Thus, when employed with appropriate caution, these features may be used to reconstruct mechanical loadings and behavioral differences within and between past populations. Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: MethodologyRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: InvestigationRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: SupervisionRole: Writing – original draft
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS One
                PLoS One
                plos
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1932-6203
                21 December 2021
                2021
                : 16
                : 12
                Affiliations
                [001] Department of Environmental and Prevention Sciences, University of Ferrara c.so Ercole I d’Este n.32, Ferrara, Italy
                The Cyprus Institute, CYPRUS
                Author notes

                Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

                Article
                PONE-D-21-22849
                10.1371/journal.pone.0260505
                8691610
                34932567
                24dcf644-9751-4cc9-9d58-e06bd16e4394
                © 2021 Mongillo et al

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 2, Pages: 12
                Product
                Funding
                The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.
                Categories
                Research Article
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Physiology
                Physiological Parameters
                Body Weight
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Clinical Medicine
                Signs and Symptoms
                Edema
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Physiology
                Physiological Parameters
                Body Weight
                Body Mass Index
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Physiology
                Physiological Parameters
                Body Weight
                Overweight
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Imaging Techniques
                Morphometry
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Cardiology
                Heart Failure
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Cognitive Science
                Cognition
                Memory
                Face Recognition
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Learning and Memory
                Memory
                Face Recognition
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Neuroscience
                Cognitive Science
                Cognitive Psychology
                Perception
                Face Recognition
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Psychology
                Cognitive Psychology
                Perception
                Face Recognition
                Social Sciences
                Psychology
                Cognitive Psychology
                Perception
                Face Recognition
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Anatomy
                Head
                Face
                Medicine and Health Sciences
                Anatomy
                Head
                Face
                Custom metadata
                All relevant data are within the manuscript and its Supporting information files.

                Uncategorized

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