Betti, Lia, U. of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom - To aid research on 'Out of Africa and What Happened Next: Exploring the Origins of Human Pelvic Shape Variability,' supervised by Dr. Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel
LIA BETTI, then a student at University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom, received a grant in April 2011 to aid research on 'Out of Africa and What Happened Next: Exploring the Origins of Human Pelvic Shape Variability,' supervised by Dr. Noreen von Cramon-Taubadel. The origin of human morphological diversification is one of the most intriguing questions in human evolution. Starting from a single origin of the species, how did the current pattern of morphological diversity between populations develop? Recent studies on cranial shape variation disclosed a very strong signature of the Out Of Africa expansion of our species on the global pattern of morphological diversity. This study builds upon this knowledge and explores the foundation of pelvic shape variation. Being involved in locomotion, childbirth, and potentially subject to climatic factors, the pelvis is a key anatomical region in studies of human biology and evolution. 3D pelvic morphometric data were collected from 27 globally distributed modern human populations. An explicit population genetic approach was used to explore the effect of different evolutionary factors on the global pattern of variation, revealing a strong signature of ancient demographic history on pelvic shape variation, with climatic adaptation and obstetrical constraints playing a secondary role.
Garofalo, Evan Michele, Johns Hopkins U., Baltimore, MD - To aid research on 'Genetic and Environmental Effects on Skeletal Growth Variation,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Britton Ruff
EVAN M. GAROFALO, then a student at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, received funding in May 2010, to aid research on 'Genetic and Environmental Effects on Skeletal Growth Variation,' supervised by Dr. Christopher Britton Ruff. Adult morphology and variation are the result of complex interactions between genetic and environmental effects during the growth process. Health, disease, and socio-economic status are important for the regulation of the growth trajectory, particularly during infancy and early childhood. However, genetic differences, increasing in prominence during adolescence, contribute significantly to growth profiles and the attainment of adult morphology. Thus, the primary goal of this project is to partition the relative importance of environmental and genetic influences on the timing and nature of the growth process. Multiple skeletal variables, each differentially sensitive to environmental and genetic influence, were examined to assess the skeletal growth of individuals from St. Peter's Church (Barton-upon-Humber, UK) -- a socially stratified and relatively genetically homogeneous population. In this study, there is no effect of socioeconomic status on long bone length, stature, body mass or articular dimensions. However, long bone diaphyseal cross-sectional cortical and medullary areas (considered to be highly environmentally sensitive) show marked differences, primarily during infancy and early childhood, with reduced or no differences for young adults. Early results and palaeopathological observations suggest socioeconomic groups differences may be related to sustaining more prolonged durations of metabolic distress in the higher socioeconomic subadult sample.
Kuzawa, Dr. Christopher, Northwestern U., Evanston, IL - To aid research on 'Developmental Plasticity of Male Reproductive Ecology and Life History'
DR. CHRISTOPHER KUZAWA, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, received funding in December 2005 to aid research on 'Developmental Plasticity of Male Reproductive Ecology and Life History.' Dr. Kuzawa and an international team from Northwestern University, the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), and the University of San Carlos (the Philippines), investigated whether fetal and infant nutrition and growth influence male reproductive biology (morning and evening salivary testosterone; luteinizing hormone measured in blood samples). They hypothesized that birth weight or length (measures of prenatal nutrition) and/or growth rate or diarrheal morbidity during infancy (postnatal nutrition) would predict adult testosterone levels. Participants included roughly 900 young adults in a long-term study of health in the Philippines. In this population, males born tall and skinny had highest T levels as adults. During infancy, how often an individual experienced the nutritional-stress of diarrhea predicted future T levels: the more nutritional stress early in life, the lower the production of T in adulthood. Similarly, weight gain during infancy, an indirect measure of nutritional sufficiency, was a strong positive predictor of adult T levels. These responses likely involve changes in regulation by the brain and also in testicular development. This study is significant as it is among the first to demonstrate how early life nutrition can have a lasting influence on the reproductive ecology of the adult male.
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, 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.
Wiley, Dr. Andrea S., Indiana U., Bloomington, IN - To aid research on 'Milk Consumption and Child Growth in Pune, India: A Biocultural Investigation'
DR. ANDREA S. WILEY, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, was awarded funding in October 2009, to aid research on 'Milk Consumption and Child Growth in Pune, India: A Biocultural Investigation.' The relationship between milk intake (cow or water buffalo), growth, and levels of Insulin-like Growth Factor I (IGF-I) was investigated in a cohort of approximately 175 rural and urban children from Pune (Maharastra) India. India is the world's largest milk producer and consumption has increased with gains in income and domestic production. Results of previous studies of milk intake and growth have been inconsistent, and there are no longitudinal studies tracking milk consumption, IGF-I and growth across childhood. Milk contains IGF-I, serum IGF-I levels increase after milk consumption, and IGF-I has been positively correlated with both milk intake and height. The cohort has detailed maternal data on diet during pregnancy, and growth and dietary data from birth to 2 years and IGF-I at birth and at 2 years. In this study children were seen twice at age 5-6 years, six months apart. At each visit a complete dietary and health questionnaire was administered, including detailed questions on milk and dairy intake. They were assessed anthropometrically and a blood sample was taken to measure IGF-I. Interviews with caretakers, Allopathic, and Ayurvedic practioners, and reviews of popular media were undertaken to gain an understanding of perceived relationships between milk consumption and child growth/health.
Garruto, Dr. Ralph M., State U. of New York, Binghamton, NY - To aid research on 'Longitudinal Studies of Health Transition and Culture Change in Vanuatu'
DR. RALPH M. GARRUTO, State University of New York, Binghamton, New York, received funding in April 2011 to aid research on 'Longitudinal Studies of Health Transition and Culture Change in Vanuatu.' Health burdens are changing in developing countries worldwide. Whereas chronic diseases such as hypertension and obesity were once primarily diseases of industrial countries, these now represent major health concerns in the developing world. Vanuatu, a South Pacific nation of 68 inhabited islands, is currently experiencing this change in disease patterns, or 'health transition.' Comparing chronic disease risk and population characteristics among islands could help to clarify how health transitions develop, and the social, behavioral, and economic factors driving the change. From June-August 2011, nearly 2000 individuals from five islands participated in surveys of behavioral, nutritional and economic patterns and body measurements (such as height, weight, and body fat). Preliminary results indicate that health patterns change in ways specific to the behaviors and economic conditions of each island and the degree of outside influence, regardless of geographic remoteness. Chronic disease risk is also influenced by the risk of infectious diseases, which impact not only an individual's phenotype, but also behavioral and economic factors (such as growth of the tourism industry) that in turn affect the population's health. This project contributes to our understanding of human biological variation across geographical regions and the factors that determine health outcomes in Pacific Island populations.
Lee, Sarah E., U. of Georgia, Athens, GA - To aid research on 'Nutritional and Health Consequences of Children's Self-Provisioning Activity in Xalapa, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Alexandra A. Brewis
SARAH E. LEE, then a student at the University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, received funding in September 2003 to aid research on 'Nutritional and Health Consequences of Children's Self-Provisioning Activity in Xalapa, Mexico,' supervised by Dr. Alexandra A. Brewis. This dissertation explores how children's own provisioning activities might influence their well-being under conditions of extreme urban poverty. The immediate purpose of this study was to determine whether self-provisioning children had a measurably different nutrition and health status than children living under the same circumstances who do not engage in provisioning activities (such as working, begging or foraging for food). This dissertation research was conducted in ten neighborhoods in the shantytowns surrounding the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico from October 2003 until December 2004. The researcher collected a sample size of 95 children between the ages of 8 and 12 who lived with their families. Six different data sets were collected, including 95 household interviews, 285 separate interviews concerning children's time allocation, diet, and illness. The researcher conducted 1425 hours of observation (fifteen hours per child), which provides very rich and accurate data concerning the time allocation and dietary habits of provisioning and non-provisioning children. On-going analysis indicates that the data will support the research question. There does seem to be an age and gender dimension in provisioning actives. Children shared their resources with their siblings, which is a benefit to the siblings, but also shared resources within peer groups. Children who engage in provisioning activities do seem at least marginally healthier, and some are taller than their counterparts who do not engage in provisioning activities. It is likely that the final analysis will show that children who work, beg, or forage for food, will have benefited from their activities.
Pomeroy, Dr. Emma Elizabeth, U. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK - To aid research on 'Patterns of Growth Trade-offs Related to Early Life Environment: Insights from a High-altitude Model'
Preliminary abstract: Human growth is sensitive to environmental stressors such as nutrition and high altitude hypoxia (reduced oxygen availability). Environmental factors impact not only height, but also the relative sizes of different parts of the body such as the limbs, trunk, head and organs, and influence body composition (relative proportions of muscle and fat). It is thought that environmental stressors cause the body to trade-off growth in some tissues to protect key organs (e.g. the brain), although the mechanisms underlying these trade-offs, and their evolutionary significance, are not well understood.
I will investigate the nature and pattern of growth trade-offs between the limbs, trunk, head and organs by comparing the physical characteristics of children and their mothers living at high and low altitude in India. Understanding the relationship between limb proportions, organ sizes, body composition and the environment will help to clarify the nature and evolutionary basis of growth trade-offs in relation to environmental stressors. As maternal characteristics (e.g. height, weight) may also influence their child's early growth, this study will offer insight into whether adaptations in growth may be passed non-genetically across multiple generations. This research will advance our understanding of how the body adapts to environmental stress during development.
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.