Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Don't Blame The Trees: Social Factors, Not Forests, Dictate Disease Patterns

06.02.2008
A new study published February 6 in the open access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases suggests that socioeconomic factors best explain patterns of the infectious disease American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ACL) in Costa Rica. Contrary to the established belief that deforestation reduces the risk of infection, the research shows that deforestation may actually make socially marginalized human populations more vulnerable to infection.

"The classical idea has been that people working or living close to the forest were at risk for the disease, but that view failed to consider such factors as quality of life and general level of health," said co-author Luis Fernando Chaves of the University of Michigan. "Contrary to what was previously believed, the more forest you have, even in a marginal population, the more protected you are against the disease."

The researchers examined county-level ACL case data from 1996 through 2000 for Costa Rica, a country in which approximately 20,000 acres of land are deforested annually to make way for cattle ranching and banana, mango and citrus fruit plantations. In addition to examining such factors as forest cover, rainfall, elevation, and percent of the population living less than five kilometers from the forest edge, the researchers also incorporated an index of social marginalization into their analysis. This index, which takes into account income, literacy, level of education, average distance to health centers, health insurance coverage and other indicators of life at the margins of mainstream society, provides a single measure of quality of life.

The researchers found a strong geographic overlap between disease incidence and social marginalization that was not found between disease incidence and the other ecological variables.

... more about:
»Chaves »Disease »Population »factors

"When we looked just at factors such as climate and the physical environment, we found no specific patterns with respect to the disease," Chaves said. "But when we looked at the social data, we found clear patterns according to marginality."

Putting everything together, the researchers discovered that in fact there is a relationship between ACL and deforestation, but it's not the simple, "less forest, less disease" relationship that previously was believed to exist. Instead, there's a complex connection with El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a periodic ocean-atmosphere fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that is an important cause of inter-annual climate variability around the world and also influences disease cycles. In highly deforested counties, socially marginalized human populations are more vulnerable to ENSO's effects, and disease incidence actually is higher, the analysis suggests.

Dr. Chaves concluded that the “study calls for control efforts targeted to socially excluded populations and for more localized ecological studies of transmission in vectors and reservoirs in order to understand the role of biodiversity changes in driving the emergence of this disease.”

The researchers are now planning on conducting similar analyses for other diseases, such as malaria, paying close attention to how climatic fluctuations, ecological factors, and patterns of biodiversity relate to human disease patterns.

CITATION: Chaves LF, Cohen JM, Pascual M, Wilson ML (2008) Social Exclusion Modifies Climate and Deforestation Impacts on a Vector-Borne Disease. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 2(2): e176. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000176

CONTACT:

Luis Fernando Chaves
University of Michigan
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
830 North University
Natural Science (Kraus) blg
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
United States of America
(734) 615-9805
(734) 763-0544 (fax)
lfchaves@umich.edu

Andrew Hyde | alfa
Further information:
http://www.plosntds.org/doi/pntd.0000176

Further reports about: Chaves Disease Population factors

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Discovery of a Key Regulatory Gene in Cardiac Valve Formation
24.05.2017 | Universität Basel

nachricht Carcinogenic soot particles from GDI engines
24.05.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>