Publication details

The assessment of the semicircular canals and cochlea of the human bony labyrinth using imaging techniques



Year of publication 2016
Type Conference abstract
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

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Description The human bony labyrinth is an inner ear structure located inside the pyramid of the temporal bone that encloses the organs of sound perception and balance. As one of the most resistant skeletal elements in human body, the pyramid is frequently uncovered in a good state of preservation. Until recently, research of the human bony labyrinth had been restricted exclusively to irreversibly invasive techniques. Due to this invasiveness, literature on morphological variation has been scarce and many questions regarding population, age or sex-related differences are yet to be answered. The studied sample of pyramids originated from Dětkovice - Za zahradama Site (Czech Republic) dated to 1000’s and 1100’s A.D. All elements were examined using an X-ray Carestream Xtreme device and a cone-beam CT unit. In digital X-ray images, linear distance of the semicircular canals and cochlear diameter were measured in ImageJ program. CT images were first processed to generate 3D digital models, which were subsequently studied using a newly established PC-aided approach employing measuring functionalities available in GOM Inspect program. Altogether 39 variables were proposed in order to describe shape and size variation in the semicircular canals. Acquired measurements were confronted and tested against individual's demographic data determined based on corresponding skeletal elements and burial attributes. The results showed small to none sex-related and body side-specific differences. Still, statistically significant differences were shown between sub-adults and adults. They were particularly evident in size variables of the lumens of the lateral and posterior semicircular canal, where larger values for adults were provided. This indicates a widening of the canals during growth by the resorption in the vicinity of the canals. The acquired results contribute to our comprehension of the development of inner ear structures and demonstrate the potential of the employment of non-invasive approaches when examining human skeletal remains.
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