Matching Items (3)

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Diet as a double-edged sword: the pharmacological properties of food among the Waorani hunter-gatherers of Amazonian Ecuador

Description

Food system and health characteristics were evaluated across the last Waorani hunter-gatherer group in Amazonian Ecuador and a remote neighboring Kichwa indigenous subsistence agriculture community. Hunter-gatherer food systems like the

Food system and health characteristics were evaluated across the last Waorani hunter-gatherer group in Amazonian Ecuador and a remote neighboring Kichwa indigenous subsistence agriculture community. Hunter-gatherer food systems like the Waorani foragers may not only be nutritionally, but also pharmaceutically beneficial because of high dietary intake of varied plant phytochemical compounds. A modern diet that reduces these dietary plant defense phytochemicals below levels typical in human evolutionary history may leave humans vulnerable to diseases that were controlled through a foraging diet. Few studies consider the health impact of the recent drastic reduction of plant phytochemical content in the modern global food system, which has eliminated essential components of food because they are not considered "nutrients". The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory nature of the food system may not only regulate infectious pathogens and inflammatory disease, but also support beneficial microbes in human hosts, reducing vulnerability to chronic diseases. Waorani foragers seem immune to certain infections with very low rates of chronic disease. Does returning to certain characteristics of a foraging food system begin to restore the human body microbe balance and inflammatory response to evolutionary norms, and if so, what implication does this have for the treatment of disease? Several years of data on dietary and health differences across the foragers and the farmers was gathered. There were major differences in health outcomes across the board. In the Waorani forager group there were no signs of infection in serious wounds such as 3rd degree burns and spear wounds. The foragers had one-degree lower body temperature than the farmers. The Waorani had an absence of signs of chronic diseases including vision and blood pressure that did not change markedly with age while Kichwa farmers suffered from both chronic diseases and physiological indicators of aging. In the Waorani forager population, there was an absence of many common regional infectious diseases, from helminthes to staphylococcus. Study design helped control for confounders (exercise, environment, genetic factors, non-phytochemical dietary intake). This study provides evidence of the major role total phytochemical dietary intake plays in human health, often not considered by policymakers and nutritional and agricultural scientists.

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Date Created
  • 2012

The impacts of geography and climate change on Magdalenian social networks

Description

This dissertation uses a comparative approach to investigate long-term human- environment interrelationships in times of climate change. It uses Geographical Information Systems and ecological models to reconstruct the Magdalenian (~20,000-

This dissertation uses a comparative approach to investigate long-term human- environment interrelationships in times of climate change. It uses Geographical Information Systems and ecological models to reconstruct the Magdalenian (~20,000- 14,000 calibrated years ago) environments of the coastal mountainous zone of Cantabria (Northwest Spain) and the interior valleys of the Dordogne (Southwest France) to contextualize the social networks that could have formed during a time of high climate and resource variability. It simulates the formation of such networks in an agent-based model, which documents the processes underlying the formation of archaeological assemblages, and evaluates the potential impacts of climate-topography interactions on cultural transmission. This research then reconstructs the Magdalenian social networks visible through a multivariate statistical analysis of stylistic similarities among portable art objects. As these networks cannot be analyzed directly to infer social behavior, their characteristics are compared to the results of the agent-based model, which provide characteristics estimates of the Magdalenian latent social networks that most likely produced the empirical archaeological assemblage studied.

This research contributes several new results, most of which point to the advantages of using an inter-disciplinary approach to the study of the archaeological record. It demonstrates the benefits of using an agent-based model to parse social data from long- term palimpsests. It shows that geographical and environmental contexts affect the structure of social networks, which in turn affects the transmission of ideas and goods that flow through it. This shows the presence of human-environment interactions that not only affected our ancestors’ reaction to resource insecurities, but also led them to innovate and improve the productivity of their own environment. However, it also suggests that such alterations may have reduced the populations’ resilience to strong climatic changes, and that the region with diverse resources provided a more stable and resilient environment than the region transformed to satisfy the immediate needs of its population.

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Date Created
  • 2017

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The Impact of Anthropologically Motivated Human Social Networks on the Transmission Dynamics of Infectious Disease

Description

Understanding the consequences of changes in social networks is an important an-

thropological research goal. This dissertation looks at the role of data-driven social

networks on infectious disease transmission and evolution. The

Understanding the consequences of changes in social networks is an important an-

thropological research goal. This dissertation looks at the role of data-driven social

networks on infectious disease transmission and evolution. The dissertation has two

projects. The first project is an examination of the effects of the superspreading

phenomenon, wherein a relatively few individuals are responsible for a dispropor-

tionate number of secondary cases, on the patterns of an infectious disease. The

second project examines the timing of the initial introduction of tuberculosis (TB) to

the human population. The results suggest that TB has a long evolutionary history

with hunter-gatherers. Both of these projects demonstrate the consequences of social

networks for infectious disease transmission and evolution.

The introductory chapter provides a review of social network-based studies in an-

thropology and epidemiology. Particular emphasis is paid to the concept and models

of superspreading and why to consider it, as this is central to the discussion in chapter

2. The introductory chapter also reviews relevant epidemic mathematical modeling

studies.

In chapter 2, social networks are connected with superspreading events, followed

by an investigation of how social networks can provide greater understanding of in-

fectious disease transmission through mathematical models. Using the example of

SARS, the research shows how heterogeneity in transmission rate impacts super-

spreading which, in turn, can change epidemiological inference on model parameters

for an epidemic.

Chapter 3 uses a different mathematical model to investigate the evolution of TB

in hunter-gatherers. The underlying question is the timing of the introduction of TB

to the human population. Chapter 3 finds that TB’s long latent period is consistent

with the evolutionary pressure which would be exerted by transmission on a hunter-

igatherer social network. Evidence of a long coevolution with humans indicates an

early introduction of TB to the human population.

Both of the projects in this dissertation are demonstrations of the impact of var-

ious characteristics and types of social networks on infectious disease transmission

dynamics. The projects together force epidemiologists to think about networks and

their context in nontraditional ways.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019