Arps, Shahna L., Ohio State U., Columbus, OH - To aid research on 'Maternal Mortality and Morbidity among the Miskito of Eastern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Douglas E. Crews
SHAHNA L. ARPS, then a student at Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, was awarded a grant in October 2004 to aid research on 'Maternal Mortality and Morbidity among the Miskito of Eastern Honduras,' supervised by Dr. Douglas E. Crews. Fieldwork was conducted in Honduras (November 2004 - November 2005) to explore maternal health issues in Miskito communities along the Ibans lagoon in the department of Gracias a Dios. Focus groups, structured interviews, and health assessments provided data regarding the cultural, biological, behavioral, and socioeconomic factors that influence maternal morbidity and mortality. To investigate health among living women, reproductive histories and information on current health, household composition, and socioeconomic status were collected during initial interviews with 200 women. Follow- up interviews were conducted to investigate dietary intake, workload/activity, social support, decision-making (autonomy), episodes of illness, and health-seeking behavior. Verbal autopsies were also collected from family members to analyze causes and circumstances of maternal deaths in the region. Women reported 55 maternal deaths. Hemorrhage, usually due to prolonged labor or retained placenta, was the leading cause of death. Poverty, women's lack of autonomy, and inadequate access to health care interact in complex ways to produce compromised health and maternal mortality in Miskito communities. This research demonstrates the need for new maternal health initiatives in the region. It also contributes to an understanding of human adaptability and limits to adaptability in high-risk environments.
Eisenberg, Daniel Thomas Abraham, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Ecological Predictors of Telomere Lengths: A Longitudinal and Cross-population Analysis of Human Biological Diversity,' supervised by Dr. Christopher W. Kuzawa
DAN EISENBERG, then a student at Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received a grant in May 2010 to research on 'Ecological Predictors of Telomere Lengths: a Longitudinal and Cross-Population Analysis of Human Biological Diversity,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Kuzawa . Telomeres are DNA sequences at chromosome ends that shorten with age and are required for proper cell division. Telomere shortening is associated with diminished cell proliferation capacity, which is believed to be a cause of senescence. Given the importance of cell proliferation to blood telomere length (BTL), it has been hypothesized that BTL reflects previous immune system activation and indicates current immune function. Thus BTL could provide a new biomarker of life history allocations and of developmental exposures to infection. Contrary to the shortening of BTL that occurs with age, previous studies have shown that children of older fathers have longer telomeres. By analyzing BTL data from the Philippines, Eisenberg and colleagues showed for the first time that this happens across at least two generations: older fathers not only have offspring with longer telomeres, but their sons also have offspring with longer telomeres. Analyses of how early life infection and growth predicts later BTL are ongoing.
Eisenberg, Dan. 2012. Delayed Paternal Age of Reproduction in Humans is Associated with Longer Telomeres across Two Generations of Descendants. PNAS Early Edition (published online).
Madimenos, Felicia Chrisafo, U. of Oregon, Eugene, OR - To aid research on 'Lifestyle and Reproductive Effects on Bone Mineral Density in an Ecuadorian Forager-Horticulturalist Population,' supervised by Dr. James Josh Snodgrass
FELICIA C. MADIMENOS, then a student at University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, received funding in April 2009 to aid research on 'Lifestyle and Reproductive Effects on Bone Mineral Density in an Ecuadorian Forager-Horticulturalist Population,' supervised by Dr. James Josh Snodgrass. Bone mineral density (BMD) is the primary diagnostic parameter of bone health and a predictor of future fracture risk. The mechanisms and life history trade-offs affecting bone integrity evolved under conditions quite different from those experienced by industrialized populations, yet minimal data on bone health are available from non-Western, subsistence populations. Such data are particularly important because people in subsistence-based populations have dietary, reproductive, and activity patterns more like those of our evolutionary past. Using calcaneal ultrasound, this study presents the first available data on bone health among the Shuar, an indigenous Ecuadorian Amazonian population, and non-Shuar colonists (colonos) from the same area. Results show that among colonos, BMD is positively correlated with the consumption of fish and greens but not other food categories. Among Shuar, no such relationship is found but BMD is negatively associated with greater ownership of market goods. Further analyses considering the effects of reproductive history show that in both populations multiparity provides a protective effect on BMD but this protection is lost with increased duration of lactation per child (> 24 months). The most protective effect on bone health is realized when mothers breastfeed multiple children for shorter durations.
Piperata, Barbara A., U. of Colorado, Boulder, CO - To aid research on 'The Energetics of Lactation among Tropical Horticulturists Living in the Brazilian Amazon,' supervised by Dr. Darna L. Dufour
BARBARA A. PIPERATA, while a student at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado, received funding in January 2002 to aid research on the energetics of lactation among tropical horticulturists in the Brazilian Amazon, under the supervision of Dr. Darna L. Dufour. Piperata's goal was to understand how tropical horticultural women met the increased energetic demands of lactation when they lived in conditions of food scarcity and practiced subsistence agriculture. She followed twenty-three women over their first six months of lactation and took measurements of their dietary intake, energy expenditure, and body composition at three times (forty days, two to four months, and six months postpartum) in order to identify the strategies used to meet the increased energy demands of lactation. One of the most interesting adaptive strategies these women used was the cultural practice called resguardo. During this forty-day immediate postpartum period, the women were excused from all strenuous work, including subsistence activities, and depended on other household members, especially husbands, to meet subsistence demands. By two to four months postpartum, women had returned to more normal activity patterns, and body fat stores became important for meeting energy needs. By six months postpartum, all women were supplementing their infants' diets, but most women continued to lose weight, indicating that their food intake was insufficient to meet their caloric needs. Thus, the strategies utilized by these women changed over the course of lactation. These findings illustrate the importance of an in-depth, longitudinal, biocultural approach to studying a life-history event such as lactation.
Piperata, Barbara A., and Lindsey M. Gooden Mattern. 2011. Longitudinal Study of Breastfeedng Structure and Women's Work in the Brazilian Amazon. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 144(2):226-237
Piperata, Barbara A. 2007. Nutritional Status of Ribeirinhos in Brazil and the Nutrition Transition. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133(2):868-787.
Piperata, Barbara. 2004. Rural-to-Urban Migration in Latin America: An Update and Thoughts on the Model. American Journal of Human Biology 16:395-404
Piperata, Barbara. 2007. Diet, Energy Expenditure, and Body Composition of Lactating Ribeirinha Women in the Brazilian Amazon. American Journal of Human Biology 19:722-734
Piperata, Barbara. 2007. Nutritional Status of Ribeirinhos in Brazil and the Nutrition Transition. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 133:868-878
Vercellotti, Guiuseppe, Barbara A. Piperata, Amanda M. Agnew, et al. 2014. Exploring the Multidimensionality of Stature Variation in the Past through Comparisons of Archaeological and Living Populations. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 155(2): 229-242.
Vercellotti, Giuseppe, and Barbara A. Piperata. 2012. The Use of Biocultural Data in Interpreting Sex Differences in Body Proportions among Rural Amazonians. American Journal of Physical Anthropology 147(1):113-127.
Young, Bonnie Nadyne, U. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM - To aid research on 'Effects of Genetic Ancestry and Socio-Cultural Factors on Susceptibility to Tuberculosis in Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Keith L. Hunley
BONNIE N. YOUNG, then a student at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico, received funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Effects of Genetic Ancestry and Socio-Cultural Factors on Susceptibility to Tuberculosis in Mexico,' Supervised by Dr. Keith L. Hunley. Active tuberculosis (TB) varies substantially across regions and ethnic groups due to different genetic and environmental factors. Less TB among those with high European ancestry suggest better socioeconomic conditions and possibly innate resistance, although the impact of ancestry remains unresolved. This study assesses the effect of genetic ancestry on active TB, and the interactions between ancestry and contextual factors. Fieldwork occurred over six months at the UANL Hospital in Monterrey, Mexico. A case-control study was conducted among 189 individuals with active pulmonary TB (97 cases), and latent TB infection (92 controls). Data were collected from interviews, mouthwash samples, and medical chart reviews. Cases and controls were similar in distributions of sex, indigenous ethnicity, marital status, and prevalence of chronic conditions. Cases had a significantly lower socioeconomic status, despite recruitment from similar populations. Smoking was higher among cases than controls (13.8 vs. 3.9 average pack years; p=0.01), as was diabetes (29.9% vs. 8.7%) and alcoholism (13.4% vs. 1.1%). Proportions of genetic ancestry (measured by ancestry informative markers) are pending, but will be added to final regression models, along with significant contextual factors. This project will elucidate the interactions of genetic and socio·cultuml correlates of active TB in an urban Mexican population.
Astorino, Claudia Marie, City U. of New York, Lehman College, New York, NY - To aid research on 'Does Human Sex Indicator Morphology in the Skull Co-vary With Age and Ancestry?,' supervised by Dr. Eric Delson
CLAUDIA MARIE ASTORINO, then a student at City University of New York, Lehman College, New York, New York, was awarded a grant in April 2013 to aid research on 'Does Human Sex Indicator Morphology in the Skull Co-vary with Age and Ancestry,' supervised by Dr. Eric Delson. The human skeleton exhibits sexual dimorphism, or differences in physical form between males and females of the same species. This dissertation project investigates how sex, age, and ancestry inform the shape and size of sexually dimorphic features of the skull in recent modern humans. The research phase supported by this grant enabled 3D laser scans to be collected from a large, documented collection of skulls from both domestic and international skeletal collections. Over 300 adults and 50 subadults were scanned at the Smithsonian National Museum of National History (Washington, D.C.), Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris, France), University of Coimbra (Portugal), University of Bologna (Italy), and the University of Dundee (Scotland). Differences among human groups defined by sex, age, and/or ancestry were investigated by placing curves of 3D points on the surface of the laser scans and comparing their positions among groups of specimens. This study will help to gain a more comprehensive understanding of the range of sexual dimorphism in the recent modern human skull.
Escasa, Michelle Jickain, U. of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV - To aid research on 'Female Sociosexuality, Mate Preferences, and Sex Steroid Hormones of Lactating Women in Manila,' supervised by Dr. Peter B. Gray
MICHELLE J. ESCASA, then a student at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, Nevada, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Female Sociosexuality, Mate Preferences, and Sex Steroid Hormones of Lactating Women in Manila,' supervised by Dr. Peter B. Gray. This project investigates the influence of lactation on female sociosexuality and mate preferences in urban Manila, a population with long-term breastfeeding, low contraceptive use, and quick return to cycling. From an evolutionary perspective, female ancestors were likely spending more time pregnant and lactating rather than ovulating. Moreover, a majority of conceptions in natural fertility societies occurred in lactating, ovulating women. These considerations suggest that lactating women face important life history allocation trade-offs between mating and parenting effort that may be manifested in their sociosexual behavior and mate preferences. Breastfeeding (n=155) and control (n=105) women were recruited to provide a saliva sample (for testosterone and estradiol analyses) and complete a face and voice preference task to determine preferences for masculinity. All participants also completed a questionnaire that assessed sexual functioning, sociosexuality, and relationship satisfaction, along with demographic variables. Breastfeeding women report differences in commitment to their relationship, jealousy levels, sexual functioning, and preferences for high-pitched voices. Further analyses incorporate the age of the infant and the cycling status of participants. Cultural and life history factors will be discussed and will serve as a framework for the findings.
Hazel, Dr. Mary-Ashley, Stanford U., Stanford, CA - To aid research on 'Ecology, Mobility, and Sexually Transmitted Virus Burden in a Pastoralist Population'
Preliminary abstract: Migration and other forms of human mobility contribute to the global transmission dynamics of infectious diseases. The act of being mobile--of spending significant amounts of time in different locations and environments--influences the patterns of a person's social contacts. Although some pandemic disease spread is driven by mobility that spans vast distances and requires only brief and or even indirect contact (e.g. influenza spreading along airline routes), transmission of diseases that require intense and frequent contact, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), usually occurs in the context of repetitive and local mobility. This issue is particularly important for rural populations with historically high rates of STDs that, due to recent changes in local mobility that increase contact with urban and novel populations, are at risk for introduction of HIV. One such high-risk context is Kaokoveld, Namibia, where traditional nomadic mobility (restricted mainly to rural areas) is merging with increased travel to growing urban areas and incoming mobility from adjacent regions with high HIV prevalence. This research will identify the major mobility patterns in Kaokoveld and how these mobility patterns shape structural determinants of risk in sexual contact networks for herpes simplex virus type 2. The outcomes of this study offer important insights into the underlying structural outcomes of diverse mobility in a pastoralist society and how social systems associated with a mobile lifestyle can drive epidemic spread.
Martin, Dr. Melanie, Yale U., New Haven, CT - To aid engaged activities on 'Targeting Early Life Health Risks Among the Tsimane Through Mixed Educational Outreach Modes,' 2016, Bolivia
Preliminary abstract: This project uses mixed modes of outreach to inform Tsimane families, affiliated government agencies, and local health care providers about specific early life health risks in this community. The Tsimane are a subsistence-scale population residing in the Bolivian Amazon. My dissertation research on variation in Tsimane infant feeding practices uncovered several areas of risk that may contribute to early life nutritional and infectious morbidity. Of primary concern, 28% of children were weaned before two years of age and only 44% achieved adequate dietary diversity. I also documented numerous instances of inappropriate antibiotic usage, and incomplete coverage of government-subsidized prenatal care and immunizations, particularly in more rural villages. This project will promote community awareness of these health risks through local radio programming and village meetings. These educational sessions will highlight current infant feeding recommendations, how to improve dietary diversity through locally available foods, and how to minimize risk of antimicrobial resistance through safe antibiotic usage. Formal reports documenting nutritional risks, antibiotic usage, and insufficient prenatal and immunization coverage will also be delivered to affiliated government and health care organizations. These reports may assist these agencies in better meeting the needs of the Tsimane community.