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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Facial morphology as determined by anthropometry: keeping it simple.

Anthropometry remains an efficient, noninvasive method for describing craniofacial morphology in spite of the appearance of more sophisticated technologies. The major advantage afforded by anthropometry is its technical simplicity, a fact which makes it a readily available tool for evaluating patients, planning facial surgery, or delineating basic features of craniofacial syndromes. Anthropometry lacks the detail of more powerful technologies, but it is better suited for populational studies because of the availability of comparative, normal databases. The standard z-scores produced by such comparisons lend themselves to multivariate analysis. This type of comparative analysis is not yet possible for computerized tomography, three-dimensional imaging, or photogrammetry. To illustrate the utility of this technique an example is cited from an ongoing study of hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia ( HED) in which anthropometry reveals details of facial morphology overlooked in previous studies. These include the presence of reduced facial height and a striking reduction in the size of the facial features in spite of the fact that facial widths are comparatively normal. Gene carriers show a similar though nonidentical pattern of defects. Like all morphometric approaches, anthropometry has its limitations. Well-designed protocols minimize these limitations by incorporating multiple facial dimensions in the analysis and by emphasizing careful collection of data with standard instruments and methodology.[1]


  1. Facial morphology as determined by anthropometry: keeping it simple. Ward, R.E. J. Craniofac. Genet. Dev. Biol. (1989) [Pubmed]
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