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Lecture 3

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Ingrid L.Stefanovic

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
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