Morphometric evaluation of foramen magnum for sex determination in a documented north Indian sample.
The occipital bone being described as perforated by the foramen magnum which is a unique and complex anatomical region within the basal central region of the occipital bone. The anterior border of the foramen magnum is formed by basilar process of the occipital bone, the lateral border by the left and right ex-occipitalis and posterior border is formed by the supra-occipital.
Due to the thickness of the cranial base and its relatively protected anatomical position, this area of the skull tends to withstand both physical insults and inhumation somewhat more successful than many other areas of the cranium (11).
Most of the previous studies of sex differences in the skull were centered on morphological traits in a descriptive manner (cranioscopy). (12-19).
Although, there are numerous methods of measurement used in biological anthropology, but 'anthropometry' is unique in its contribution and peculiarity (20). Anthropometry is a series of systematized measuring techniques that express quantitatively the dimensions of the human body and skeleton. Anthropometry is often viewed as a traditional and perhaps the best tool of anthropology. It is highly objective and reliable in the hands of trained anthropometrist. The metric approach is more objective and less dependent on observer experience. Its replicability is high and it is more amenable to statistical analysis. However, it depends on identifiable and unambiguous osteometric landmarks (21).
(1) Examined sex determination of the skull by discriminant function analysis using ((22) technique. (23) Claimed up to 100% accuracy in predicting sex from foramen magnum region. There has been no previous documented evaluation of the foramen magnum region within the area under study.
The primary goal of this research is to document and analyze the foramen magnum of this region and to investigate its reliability in sex prediction.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: This study was conducted on 68 human adult skulls (38 male and 30
females) of known sex and age (22 to 60 yrs), having no skull anomaly collected from museum of anatomy department of TMMC & RC Moradabad and also from nearby medical colleges of same geographical, cultural and climatic conditions. Sexing of the skull was done as per (24) (see- table-1).
Following measurements of foramen magnum were taken for the study:
1. Anteroposterior diameter of foramen magnum--maximum internal length of the foramen magnum along the midsagittal plane, from opisthion to basion (25).
2. Transverse diameter of foramen magnum--maximum internal width of the foramen magnum along the transverse plane.
Other researchers have used image analysis techniques in such as (5) analyzing the sagittal and transverse diameters and the area of the foramen magnum in computerized tomographic images.
Statistical analysis was done using t-test, and a value of p<0.05 was considered significant.
RESULTS: The dimensions of the foramen magnum were significantly higher in men's skulls (table-2.1) & (table 2.2)
DISCUSSION: The sex discriminant value of the foramen magnum has attracted attention of (26) (9) (27) (1) & (2). In the sample analyzed, a significant sexual dimorphism in the foramen magnum dimensions was observed. Metrically the indexes have been built from the dimensions of the foramen magnum and various authors have reported its usefulness in determining the sex. (6-8). Sexual dimorphism using Foramen Magnum have been established by direct metric measurements on the skull (28-30) and also by using computed tomographic images on skull as well as living individuals (31) & (32). (31) Found all dimensions were larger in males than females. (See table-2.3 & 2.4).
The comparison of the morphometric analysis obtained in this study with the results of other studies showed that the anteroposterior diameter of the foramen magnum (male) in the present study is (36.9 [+ or -] 0.2) Similar to anteroposterior diameter of foramen magnum of female skulls of present study (32.9 [+ or -] 0.3). Regarding the transverse diameter of the foramen magnum, in present study male skulls (31.5 [+ or -] 0.27) the same measure for the female skulls of the present study (29.5 [+ or -] 0.28). Our study well correlates with the study of (31) One very interesting fact can be observed that all values of female are lower than male values, which shows that these parameters are very important for sex determination and constitution of biological profile.
The width of the foramen magnum of Brazilian skulls showed significant results with the predominance of males over females. According to (33) this difference is related to the fact that the main neurovascular bundle such as the cervical spinal cord, vertebral arteries before and after, nerves and meninges pass through the skull base. Thus, the area of foramen magnum is larger in males due to larger structure of skeletal muscle in men.
In another study, (34) found the dimensions of foramen magnum in Indian sample to be sexually dimorphic and reported up to 100% accuracy of correctly identifying sex using simple demarking points.
The accuracy in the classification is lower than those reported for majority of sexual dimorphism morphological indicators for the occipital bone, and hence, the indexes and tables of the expected range of foramen magnum dimensions in skulls of men and women should be used only as a first approximation to the diagnosis of sex, which is more accurate when we look at the qualitative features of the occipital bone, such as the roughness of the nuchal lines, the shape of the occipital condyles, and the characteristics of the external occipital protuberance.
Values are specific for a particular population, and become low when applied to populations with a large ethnic mix, this also happens in other indicators (35-37).
A review of literature reveals scanty information in sexual dimorphism based on foramen magnum in Indian populations. Therefore, present study has been undertaken with a view to augment data in this direction and to assess the level of sexual dimorphism present in the basal region of the occipital bone in a documented Indian sample.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Authors wish to acknowledge the previous researchers in this field who gave us an idea for evaluating base line values in northern India and its role in sexual dimorphism.
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S.K. Jain , Alok Kumar Choudhary , Pankaj Mishra 
PARTICULARS OF CONTRIBUTORS:
[1.] Professor, Department of Anatomy, TMMC & RC, TMU, Moradabad, U.P.
[2.] Assistant Professor, Department of Anatomy, SGRRIMHS, D. Dun.
[3.] Professor, Department of Statistics, SGRRIMHS, D. Dun.
NAME ADDRESS EMAIL ID OF THE CORRESPONDING AUTHOR:
Dr. S.K. Jain, Professor, Department of Anatomy, TMMC & RC, TMU, Moradabad, U.P. Emailemail@example.com
Date of Submission: 07/10/2013.
Date of Peer Review: 08/10/2013.
Date of Acceptance: 15/10/2013.
Date of Publishing: 17/10/2013
Table: 1 S.N Traits Male Female 1 General size Large Small 2 Architecture Rugged Smooth 3 Supraorbital Medium to large Small to medium ridge 4 Mastoid Medium to large Small to medium processes 5 Occipital Muscle lines and Muscle lines and area protuberance protuberance marked marked not marked 6 Frontal Small Large eminences 7 Parietal Small Large eminence 8 Orbits Squared, lower, With rounded, relatively smaller higher, relatively larger, with sharp margins 9 Forehead Steeper, less rounded Rounded, full, infantile 10 Cheek bones Heavier, more Lighter, more laterally arched compressed 11 Mandible Larger, higher Small with less symphysis, broader corpal and ramus ascending ramus dimensions 12 Palate Larger, broader, Small and tends to tends to U-shape parabola 13 Occipital Large Small condyle 14 Teeth Large, lower M1 more Small, more often often 5 cusped 4 cusp Table-2.1 S.N. Parameter Max SD M=38 1 Transverse diameter 31.5 [+ or -] 0.27 2 Antero posterior diameter 36.9 [+ or -] 0.2 Table-2.2 S.N. Parameter Max SD F=30 1 Transverse diameter 29.5 [+ or -] 0.28 2 Antero posterior diameter 32.9 [+ or -] 0.3 Table-2.3 S.N. Parameter Max SD M = 144 1 Transverse diameter 30.6 [+ or -] 2.5 2 Antero posterior diameter 36.5 [+ or -] 0.2 Table-2.4 S.N. Parameter Max SD F=71 1 Transverse diameter 29.5 [+ or -] 1.9 2 Antero posterior diameter 35.6 [+ or -] 2.5
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|Title Annotation:||ORIGINAL ARTICLE|
|Author:||Jain, S.K.; Choudhary, Alok Kumar; Mishra, Pankaj|
|Publication:||Journal of Evolution of Medical and Dental Sciences|
|Date:||Oct 21, 2013|
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