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 A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>