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Anthropology of Disease

by: Demaree Rios

Anthropology of Disease APY 203

Demaree Rios
GPA 3.9

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About this Document

These notes cover this week's lecture over the Anthropology of Disease as well as more information on the previous "Anthropology of Race" lecture. NEXT UPLOAD WILL BE A COMPREHENSIVE REVIEW FOR ...
Principles of Physical Anthropology
William Pestle
Physical, Anthropology, race, Human, evolution, disease, paleopathology
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This 6 page Bundle was uploaded by Demaree Rios on Friday April 22, 2016. The Bundle belongs to APY 203 at University of Miami taught by William Pestle in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 27 views. For similar materials see Principles of Physical Anthropology in anthropology, evolution, sphr at University of Miami.

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Date Created: 04/22/16
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF DISEASE: an evolutionary perspective  an evolutionary arms race between pathogens and their hosts (us)  MRSA, methicillin resistant staph…  common bacterial pathogen that has evolved a resistance to our common medications, at some pt a mutation happened and some members of pop. Were thus allowed to survive the antibiotic and reproduce  Anthropological insights into disease  A holistic understanding of ill health; why do some people get sick / die when sick and others don’t  Lessons from other living creatures; understand their concepts and methods of health  History of human disease  The progress paradox  The interaction between host and pathogen effected by a number of factors (ex. Nutrition, stress, environment, pop, pop. Density, economics/ inequality…) anthro. Opens eyes to these pop. Dynamics  10kya there were 1-10mil ppl, today it’s 7bil; we’ve seen over a short period of time an explosion of human pop., dramatically increases pop. Density in many parts of the world, when people packed more densely sanitation declines, health risks.  In less developed countries pop still increasing. Ex, India; greater concentration od ppl living in poor env. Conditions, taxing on immunological processes  Management of resources has huge net effect on economics and nutrition , pop will be less well equipped for next pathogen, habitually missing these nutritional essentials is starting to stunt children’s growth  Strong link between psychosocial stress and sickness  Lessons from other living cultures  Across the world many different explanations of disease dynamics of diff cultures  Culture bound syndromes; diseases that only appear in certain cultures, only make sense within a certain understanding of “wellness” and “sickness”  Ex. Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia, only present in wester-euro culture is present  When we look at non-western societies, have diff ways of treating disease/ healing, supplement or replace with alternative medical means (ex. Plants. Herbs, traditional healers etc)  2/3 of drugs prescribed are actually plant derivatives, (ex. Coca leaves (analgesic numbs pain), yeu plant)  Paleopathology  Gross examination of bones, look for lesions etc.  Harder to be as specific in diagnoses  Osteological: the sicker the bones look the healthier you actually were bc indicates you were fighting off disease for a longtime  Issues with prevalence comparison bc don’t know how many people were alive at a given place at a given time  Scale-ability: rich v poor, young v old etc shows how disease has changed over the timescales of millennia  How disease and health may have changed with the adoption of agriculture; up until10kya everyone was hunter-gatherer, then agriculture, all the food eating was a product of domestication, happened independently throughout the world yet show similarities in consequences that followed”  Changed subsistence base; foraged foods to agricultural produced foods  Inc in pop and pop density  Sedentism; pop settles down in one place  Reorganized society; formalized roles, classes, institutionalized inequality  Whole new set of disease risks…  While it may seem like progressive stepping stone from savage to civilized but…  Subsistence; diet narrows after agriculture, concentrating farming efforts on a few species of plants versus the hundreds you eat when foraging, not getting wide spectrum of nutrients or too much of a certain food leads to health problems (ex. Not enough vitamin C = scurvy, iron deficiency = anemia)  Anemia: visible in bone, skull expands, extra spongey bone formations  Harris lines; indicates periods of nutritional stress; when events of nutritional/ health stress occur body shuts down non essential actions, such as growth, which show lines in bone when growth was stunted (can see something similar in teeth growth too, linear enamel hypoplasia)  Stature; dip in height with the onset of agriculture, indicates nutritional needs not being met bc not achieving full genetic potential bc of health  Introduces phenomena like famine, lose foraging/ hunter- gatherer knowledge very quickly  Zoonoses; new diseases that can jump from an animal host to a human host agriculture leads to more interaction with animals, exposed to their waste and secondary products  Ex; influenza, measles, smallpox, TB; kill in huge numbers every year, diseases that humans would not have been exposed to if didn’t live in such closeness with these animals  Shift in pop, sedentism; used to be smaller, mobile groups, after agriculture bigger family sizes (to help with crops plus don’t have to worry about moving young children across landscapes when travelling) but now disease become endemic, “crows diseases” stay in and spread throughout a pop  Social organization; inequality, fewer possessions so nothing huge to distinguish class in a group, being rich and powerful is better health wise, infant mortality, this phenomena still carries today  Diseases of Civilization  Appeared very recently, associate with modern Western culture  Cancer; seen in modern pops bc living beyond life expectancies so seeing much higher rates of cancer, more likely in later stages of life.  Medical records, artistic representations, skeletons show head and neck cancers/neoplastic conditions may have existed for a very long time  Substance abuse  Obesity  Evolutionary mismatches  Tied to the way that we are living now being so fundamentally different to the way we were designed/ evolved to live  Lactose intolerance  Evolved to break down lactose when babies, 3-7 years lactase levels fall. Lactase persistence; continue making lactase into adulthood, tends to occur in human pops where cattle had been domesticated and had reliance on their secondary products, other places who cant trace back to these places usually have high tendency to be lactose intolerant  Hypertension  Higher in african/ african descendant pops; may be tied to adaptations for sodium retention; live in hot place, you sweat to cool, lose sodium, reproductive advantage to either sweat less or lower sodium concentration in sweat seem to be selected for in tropical african population, so when you move to a place where sodium is in the foods and body is adapted to hold in as much sodium as possible your bod begins to hold in way too much sodium  Thrifty Gene Hypothesis; human pops have evolved to make do with few resources/ buffer ourselves in times of scarcity, today these genes are now working against us…  Obesity  Humans have higher rates of fat to muscle than most other animals/mammals, greater tendency to hold onto fat and use for things other than to insulate ourselves, hold onto it as an energy reserved. Expectations of sexual dimorphisms don’t apply here >:( (female humans are fatter/ retain more fat than males, for pregnancies it’s an energy storage mechanism) these reserves were adaptations meant to get through lean times. Today food is abundant but our bodies still have same mechanisms minus the moments of scarcity so obesity increases, Type II diabetes increases  Diabetes  The problem is the pace of change; less thrifty genes will be selected for and ppls with more thrifty genes will be selected against; but with such quick change there is not enough time for evolution to act  What early challenges did early modern humans have to overcome?  Temperature;  Thermoregulation; Maintenance of body core temp to survive- evolved from tropical Africa to other colder climates  Bergmann’s Rule; for closely related species, those that live in warmer environments tend to have smaller body size while those who live in colder climates will have larger body size bc in terms of thermoregulation being big is useful in colder climates bc heat conductance depends on surface area and heat retention increases with body size  Allen’s Rule; elongation increases surface area over which to dispel heat (longer eared hares, very tall people of African descent) relatively longer legs in hotter temps than cooler temps  High Altitude; 3000m+ (9000’+)  Pressure drops, less oxygen, take breaths more frequently, heart pumps harder so blood circulates more to distribute oxygen, chest size/lung capacity selected for in certain pops, colder is more barrel- chested  Solar Radiation;  Distinct geographical pattern of distribution of human skin color; darker skin tones tend to dominate tropical equatorial region, light hued as you move North or South, relationship to exposure to solar radiation  Chimps: thick black fur but underneath is white/light skin…why?  At speciation event, humans began to lose the body fur, dark pigmentation was selected for such that the body would be protected against the solar radiation bc light skin higher chance of skin cancer…  But, typically get skin cancer after reproduction  UVa radiation destroys folic acid (usu. given to pregnant women to reduce risks of defects) in the bloodstream, the best protection against protecting this folic acid is darker pigmented skin  What about light skin at high latitudes? …  UVb is necessary for starting process of synthesizing vitamin D (important for calcium for bones), if you live somewhere (about North of 37 parallel) where there isn’t enough UVb (higher risk of rickets) so lighter pigmentation selected for the facilitate prod/ of vit D  **exception, the Inuit??  Darkly pigmented but live , possibly they’ve only arrived relatively recently, maybe heavy fish diet,  Within pops, on average female skin tone to be a bit lighter than males. Socially selecting for lighter skinned mates? Actually more likely that women have slightly higher req. for producing vit D


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