CLINICAL ANTHROPOLOGY IN MEDICINE

Pavel Bláha

Abstract


Clinical anthropology represents one of the most important and prestigious fields of applied anthropology. Its significance consists in applications of anthropometric and anthroposcopic methods to medical research and clinical practice. It observes the growth, developmental, morphological and functional traits of individuals and the whole populations in dependence upon diseases and influences of various factors of external environment on human health. In the latter respect the scope of clinical anthropology is permeated with environmental anthropology and in a broader sense also with human ecology. Applications are based on elaboration of growth, developmental and morphological norms of characteristics of the human body and on definition of boundaries of their natural variability in dependence upon age, sex, ethnicity and regional origin.

The use of anthropological methods and anthropometric norms impinges upon most medical disciplines. These methods do not include only classical anthropometry, whose application still continues to be very important, but concern all metrical methods such as roentgenometry or some newly introduced 3D contact and non-contact morphometric approaches. The latter observe the same methodical and methodological rules. Methods of visual assessment employ various pattern templates, documentary records (imprints, photographs, etc.), constructional analyses and sophisticated approaches of data processing to objectivise results. They rely on standard norms that display an individual’s position in respect to other members of a group and show how somatic characteristics reflect various developmental, medical, nutritional and social influences.


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References


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