Acta Neurochirurgica

, 150:1107 | Cite as

Fronto-ethmoidal encephalozele in a historical skull with artificial deformation and no signs of chronic elevated intracranial pressure

  • Jochen Weber
  • Christoph Nauck
  • Ulrich Creutz
  • Ferras Al-Zain
  • Carsten M. Pusch
Brief Report of a Special Case


The intentional deformation of human skulls in the living being was one of the most curious rituals performed in historical and ancient times. It is thought that these practices cause chronic elevated intracranial pressure and subsequent symptoms of cognitive impairment. In this report, we examine such an artificially deformed skull dating from the sixteenth century that in addition shows a fronto-ethmoidal encephalocele. However, although the mild encephalocele was already manifest at birth and deformation practices were performed over years, the encephalocele did not progress into a more severe status. We conclude that the intentional deformation of skulls does not lead to chronic elevated intracranial pressure and mental retardation.


Fronto-ethmoidal encephalocele Skull Intracranial pressure Paleopathology 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jochen Weber
    • 1
  • Christoph Nauck
    • 2
  • Ulrich Creutz
    • 3
  • Ferras Al-Zain
    • 1
  • Carsten M. Pusch
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of NeurosurgeryTrauma Center BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Institute of RadiologyTrauma Center BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Berlin Museum of Medical HistoryCharité-Universitätsmedizin BerlinBerlinGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Anthropology and Human GeneticsUniversity of TübingenTübingenGermany

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