Question

Analyze an ancient skull and diagnose the possible illness.

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Tertiary syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that affects several body systems, including the skeletal system. Olle-Goig et al. (1988) and Pinhasi and Mays (2008:105) note that syphilis, a disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum, can cause the onset of minor periosteal growths on the skull. Only the pallidum species can cause severe skull deformations. Pinhasi and Mays (2008:105) also state that most periosteal bone formation accelerates when individuals enter “the tertiary state of the disease.” Rothschild (2005) cites the appearance of tibial remodeling (changes in the nasal bone structure) and gumma, or actual destruction of skeletal bone. Mann and Hunt (2005:222) state that severe destruction of the palate is also possible in cases of tertiary syphilis. T. Pallidum is also believed to deform the shape of the nasal bone, the frontal bone, and the parietal bone in significant fashion as to prevent effective function. After conducting a complete analysis of the skull in class, a diagnosis of tertiary syphilis is likely, but not absolute, due to the periosteal growth patterns observed....

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