Episode 164: Bones

Harry Eastlack

The skeleton of Harry Eastlack, whose disease-ravaged bones are on display at Philadelphia's Mütter Museum. Image courtesy of Evi Numen, 2011, for the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Most of us have 206 bones in our bodies. When they're working properly, these building blocks of our skeletal system protect our delicate organs and provide stability to our ligaments. But sometimes things go wrong. Enter the geochemists featured in our first segment, who are testing a new technique first used in studies of animal bones and fossils. This innovative method has now been found to work in humans and could be used to detect early signs of osteoporosis, when treatment is most effective. Next, a chat with Mütter Museum curator Anna Dhody about a famous skeleton in their collection. It belongs to Harry Eastlack, who suffered from a rare and devastating bone disorder similar to a problem affecting modern military troops.

Show Clock

00:00 Opening Credits
00:27 Introduction 
01:09 Written In Your Bones?
09:43 Harry Eastlack
16:00 Closing Credits


Special thanks to Diane Hope and Jennifer Dionisio for researching this show. 

For more information on the researchers in our first segment, visit their websites: Ariel Anbar, Gwenyth Gordon, and Raphael Fonseca.

Our theme music is composed by Andrew Chalfen. Music from the Free Music Archive includes "Tilly's Punctured Romancer," by Ergo Phizmiz, and "Dangerzone," by Christoph Schindling. Music from Music Alley includes "Gather My Bones," by Turnip Greens, and "Shake your Bones," by Don Juan Y Los Blancos.

Image courtesy of Evi Numen, 2011, for the Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

Posted In: History | Medicine | Technology

comments powered by Disqus

By posting your comment, you agree to abide by CHF’s Comment Policies.

The Museum at CHF

The Museum at CHF

Explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world at our museum in Philadelphia.


Distillations Magazine
Support CHF and receive our award-winning quarterly magazine.

Join the Conversation

Distillations Blog logo
Our blog brings the stories of science and culture directly to you.