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Lecture

Lecture 3

7 Pages
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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANTC68H3
Professor
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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ANTC68 Lecture 3: Epidemics in Human History
Important Challenge
Introducing behavioural and household changes in contexts that lack the infrastructural,
structural and political support to sustain them
Besides providing cultural context and community-based data, anthropologists should be committed to:
Minimize suffering
Facilitate access to biomedical resources and sustainable interventions (health and social justice)
oProviding clearer understanding of cultural and social dimensions of illness and disease so
that structural barriers to change are highlighted will result in more effective health
interventions
Infectious Disease and Human Adaptation
Human adaptations (behavioural, physiochemical, genetic) are dynamic processes that are
constantly changing in response to external and internal stimuli
Human-microorganism interactions and the human adaptations they stimulate are fundamentally
biocultural they embody both biological and cultural processes
Behavioural adaptations are rooted in the individual and group sociocultural context and are
learned during ones lifetime
Physiochemical adaptations are primarily stimulated as a result of direct contact with specific
microorganisms during ones lifetime (centered on immune system)
Physiochemical adaptations may also have a genetic basis that influences susceptibility or
resistance to infection
Successful human adaptation involves synergistic effects of altered behaviours, modified
physiochemistry and genetic polymorphism
Human-Virus Interactions
Human strategies of antiviral immunity:
oCell-mediated immunity against virus-infected cells (mediated by cytotoxic T-cells and
NK [natural killer] cells, both capable of cell destruction)
oAntiviral antibodies, which destroy viral envelope proteins (doesnt kill all of virus, but
can inhibit disease expression)
Non-immunological adaptations to viruses: lysozymes, intestinal enzymes and bile
Human-Bacteria Interactions
Non-immunological protective factors that can impede bacterial invasion and
proliferation
oLysozymes, which kill bacteria by attacking the bacterial cell wall
oFree fatty acids, which inhibit bacterial growth
oImmune responses to bacterial infection: phagocytosis (ingestion of bacteria) by
neutrophils and macrophages, lysis, neutralization of bacterial toxins by human
antibodies, and destruction of bacteria with activated macrophages
Human-Protozoa Interactions
Can undermine, evade and elude human immune response (causes immunosuppression),
resulting in host carrying more protozoa than would be normally permitted with
adequate immune response
Complex and diverse array of genetically mediated physiochemical variants (to regulate
human susceptibility and resistance to protozoa):
oHuman polymorphism in red blood cell proteins
oCytokines (proteins that mediate cellular interactions and regulate cell growth
and secretion)
oimmune system
Human-Helminth Interactions
www.notesolution.com
Helminths (nematodes/worms) are very efficient at evading the immune system, either as larvae or
as adults
oImmune Response, most importantly: human immunoglobulin E (IgE)
oBehavioural, since many helminths synchronize reproductive cycles with behaviour and
biology of human hosts (age, sex can influence worm burdens, possibly through interaction
of behavioural and hormonal processes); also see great inter-group variability in
susceptibility to helminths
oLimited resources in human host, may regulate helminth population and control
distribution of various developmental stages of the worm within a single infected human
With human adaptability we are mostly dealing with microevolution, or change within the same
species…. which is mostly phenotypic and cultural rather than genotypic
Phenotypic plasticity over genetics
Biocultural Anthropology and the Evolution of Infectious Disease Epidemics
Investigates the link between biological, social, behavioural and cultural factors in studies of
human health and disease
Focus traditionally on cultural and social adaptations of human populations in a particular
ecological setting, and how culture, behaviour and society influence the transmission of infectious
agents to hosts by changing human adaptive ability, in addition to environmental change
Epidemics emerge when adaptive mechanisms deteriorate, especially as a consequence of political
subjugation, economic development, culture contact, social change and acculturation, and changes
to ecological setting
Importance of political economy and global system
Structural Violence
A term broadly describing unjust, aberrant and corrupt social structures characterized by poverty
and extensive social inequality, including racism and gender inequality.
Structural violence is violence exerted systematically - that is, indirectly (and directly) - by
everyone who belongs to a certain social order (Farmer 2004)
Impoverishment
One of most significant factors in maintaining infectious disease rates among humans
Rate of impoverishment increases every year
Impacts nutrition (and immunological integrity), shelter (protection from elements), access to
health care, sanitation, water, political power.
Overall: increased susceptibility to environmental (physical, cultural) change (reduced adaptive
ability)
THUS: one of the greatest determinants of human adaptability and health today
Infectious Disease and Human History
Disease-causing pathogens co-evolved with us
With Homo sapiens expansion ~ 120,000 years ago: human-microorganism contacts limited to
infectious agents whose life cycles could accommodate frequent residential shifts of migratory
human gatherers and hunters
Infectious diseases likely limited by small group size of early modern humans and their relative
genetic and behavioural homogeneity
Spread of infectious disease restricted by transitory lifestyles and broad geographical ranges of
such groups
With migration, population expansion: contact with new infectious agents
Most dramatic shift in human-microorganism interactions occurred within past 20,000 years, due
to agriculture and sedentism (non-migratory lifestyle)…..then industrialization / urbanization
www.notesolution.com

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Description
ANTC68 Lecture 3: Epidemics in Human History Important Challenge Introducing behavioural and household changes in contexts that lack the infrastructural, structural and political support to sustain them Besides providing cultural context and community-based data, anthropologists should be committed to: Minimize suffering Facilitate access to biomedical resources and sustainable interventions (health and social justice) o Providing clearer understanding of cultural and social dimensions of illness and disease so that structural barriers to change are highlighted will result in more effective health interventions Infectious Disease and Human Adaptation Human adaptations (behavioural, physiochemical, genetic) are dynamic processes that are constantly changing in response to external and internal stimuli Human-microorganism interactions and the human adaptations they stimulate are fundamentally biocultural they embody both biological and cultural processes Behavioural adaptations are rooted in the individual and group sociocultural context and are learned during ones lifetime Physiochemical adaptations are primarily stimulated as a result of direct contact with specific microorganisms during ones lifetime (centered on immune system) Physiochemical adaptations may also have a genetic basis that influences susceptibility or resistance to infection Successful human adaptation involves synergistic effects of altered behaviours, modified physiochemistry and genetic polymorphism Human-Virus Interactions Human strategies of antiviral immunity: o Cell-mediated immunity against virus-infected cells (mediated by cytotoxic T-cells and NK [natural killer] cells, both capable of cell destruction) o Antiviral antibodies, which destroy viral envelope proteins (doesnt kill all of virus, but can inhibit disease expression) Non-immunological adaptations to viruses: lysozymes, intestinal enzymes and bile Human-Bacteria Interactions Non-immunological protective factors that can impede bacterial invasion and proliferation o Lysozymes, which kill bacteria by attacking the bacterial cell wall o Free fatty acids, which inhibit bacterial growth o Immune responses to bacterial infection: phagocytosis (ingestion of bacteria) by neutrophils and macrophages, lysis, neutralization of bacterial toxins by human antibodies, and destruction of bacteria with activated macrophages Human-Protozoa Interactions Can undermine, evade and elude human immune response (causes immunosuppression), resulting in host carrying more protozoa than would be normally permitted with adequate immune response Complex and diverse array of genetically mediated physiochemical variants (to regulate human susceptibility and resistance to protozoa): o Human polymorphism in red blood cell proteins o Cytokines (proteins that mediate cellular interactions and regulate cell growth and secretion) o immune system Human-Helminth Interactions www.notesolution.com
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