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Epidemiological studies in Bolivia. By Abdel R. Omran William J. McEwen and Mahfouz H. Zaki. xix + 260 pp. Research Institute for the Study of Man. 1967

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anthropologist, since Stevens means by
ecology man’s internal cellular environment, and by etiology lowered oxygen tension in the tissues. The latter he regards
as the major variable determining aging
and such diverse diseases as arteriosclerosis, hypertension, cancer in its various
manifest ation s, infections, and autoimmune diseases. Few will agree with his
argument in toto or with many of his specifics - for example, a treponemal origin
for multiple sclerosis - but he does offer
provocative insights drawn from a variety
of up-to-date references. He selects data
which fit his central hypothesis but points
out that his evidene is not always sufficient. For example, he recognizes that the
marked ethnic and racial differences in
breast and stomach cancer cannot be explained by his unitary hypothesis.
A microbiologist, Stevens regards bacGEORGE
teria and other infective agents as playing
Department of Anthropology,
a leading role in lowering oxygen tension
University of Massachusetts
and hence promoting cancer, since a “cancer cell is any vertebrate cell which can
OF HUMAN divide logarithmically under a wide range
DISEASE.By Kingsley M. Stevens. xii 4- of oxygen tension.” Again, “autoimmune
201 pp. Charles C Thomas, Springfield, diseases are infectious diseases for which
the responsible microbes have not yet been
Illinois. 1967. $7.50.
In Stevens’ view, culture has permitted
Abdel R. Omran, William J. McEwen, man to disregard temporarily his biological
and Mahfouz H. Zaki. xix 260 pp. Re- nature, so that we now pay the price in
search Institute for the Study of Man. disease for such self-indulgences as alco1967. Place of publication and price not hol, tobacco, excessive food, fat and salt
intake, and lack of exercise. Culture first
HEALTHAND DISEASEIN FOURPERUVIAN permitted large concentrations of persons,
VILLAGES. CONTRASTS I N EPIDEMIOLOGY.thereby increasing infectious diseases, but
By Alfred A. Buck, Tom T. Sasaki, and recent developments in public health have
Robert I. Anderson. xv $- 142 pp. Johns overcome infections and led to population
Hopkins Press, Baltimore, Maryland. explosion. These ideas are hardly original,
1968. $5.00.
but much of Stevens’ detailed exposition of
Ecology and epidemiology are terms and disease mechanisms is.
concepts becoming increasingly familiar to
The book deserves reading as a stimubiological anthropologists. One approach is lating essay, which is the author’s intent.
the cultural-biomedical research carried It is far from established fact. There are a
out by such workers as Nee1 in Brazil, good index and bibliography, but unfortuBaker in Peru, Chai on Taiwan, and Dunn nately many misspellings.
in Malaya. Lee and DeVore among the
Epidemiological Studies in Bolivia, a
Bushmen, and Rappoport in New Guinea paperback ‘%house organ,” is a h a 1 epidemfocus on energy exchange. The three books iological report to the Peace Corps by a
under review take two different tacks.
contractor, the Research Institute for the
The Ecology a n d Etiology of H u m a n Dis- Study of Man. Presumably copies might be
ease is the least relevant to the physical available from the Institute, if one knew
teoporosis, 0s teomalacia and hyperparathyroidism we can see dramatic effects of
interference in normal bone physiology.
Each chapter is written as a unit so that
it may be read independently. Although
this is in fact the case in most instances,
there are times when the discussion is difficult to follow without reference to material in other chapters. An additional
criticism which may be offered is McLean
and Urist’s almost total reliance on explanation at the biochemical level. For example, relevant information on the structural
changes in osteopiorosis, which could provide for a better understanding of this
condition, is neglected. These criticisms are
insignificant, and the reading of the book
is an exciting and rewarding experience.
Atclean and Urist’s revision of this classic
has made a good thing better.
its location. A companion volume contains
findings in social anthropology.
The study was conducted between 1964
and 1967 in eight communities within four
ecological zones in Bolivia: the lofty altiplano, high valleys, mountain jungle and
the tropical lowlands. The objective was to
survey the types of infectious disease and
the attitudes and beliefs toward health, as
a basis for planning Peace Corps activities.
The tests included reaction to tuberculin
(highly prevalent everywhere) and histoplasmin (endemic in tropics and semitropics, absent elsewhere), stool examination
for parasites (copious), blood examination
for malaria and other parasites (none),
hemoglobin and hematocrit values (higher
at altitude, as expected).
Of most interest to physical anthropologists are the blood typing and height and
weight measurements. Fewer than 1% of
2505 subjects were Rh-negative; 83% were
0, 13% A, 4% B, and fewer than 1%
AB. The frequency of 0 approached or
reached 100% in the predominantly Indian
altiplano towns. In height and weight the
Bolivian children, not surprisingly, fell
well below Boston averages, but they were
stockier by the ponderal index. Unfortunately numbers were too few to permit
comparison by ecological zones. Also unfortunately, skinfolds were not measured.
The book contains a wealth of detail concerning the specific infections studied, as
well as interesting comments on health
conditions and beliefs. The human biologist and epidemiologist will regret that
more was not done along genetic lines with
the blood that was obtained, and that no
observations were made relevant to the
chronic, non-infectious diseases so prevalent among “developed societies.
Health and Disease in Four Peruviaiz
Villages is a well-printed volume quite similar to the foregoing. The emphasis is on
infectious disease; genetics is ignored, observation of body form confined to height,
weight, and skinfold measurement (site
unspecified) ; while the social anthropologist had minimal contact with the subjects.
To be sure genetics, physique and culturalbiological interplay are of interest to a different audience from the medial planners,
epidemiologists and administrators to
whom both books are addressed - but the
former audience reads this Journal.
As in the Bolivian study, Buck and his
colleagues from Johns Hopkins University
investigated Peruvian villages in four
zones: one each in the altiplano, the arid
zone, the upper jungle, and the lowland
jungle. The communities are described in
terms of topography, demography, sociology and health. Succeeding chapters cover
sanitation and insect fauna, both in detail.
The fourth and longest chapter presents
epidemiological findings, while an Appendix discusses methods candidly and usefully.
Among epidemiological findings, nutritional status based on dietary surveys (for
example, time interval between protein
meals, or staple foods used by households)
were generally reflected in serum albumin
and cholesterol levels, in the results of clinical examination, and in body measurements of adults. Children’s measurements
are not given. Hematocrit rose and blood
pressure fell with altitude, while cholesterol was unrelated to altitude, hematocrit
and blood pressure. I note incidentally that
the systolic blood pressure of adult men in
the lowland jungle village exceeded that for
the United States, an unexpected finding.
Birth rates estimated independently from
interviews (births during preceding year)
and from clinical examination (women
currently pregnant) were quite similar.
Coca chewing is shown to be associated
with low hemoglobin levels, though not
necessarily causally.
Again as in the Bolivian study, a wealth
of detail is provided on specific infections.
No comparisons are made except among
the four communities.
As one engaged in similar research in
the Solomon Islands, what I miss in both
the Omran and Buck reports is better use
of social anthropology. Fragmentation of
effort is perhaps inevitable, given the aims
and hit-and-run organization of the surveys. The social anthropologist can contribute much more than description, sampling
expertise, or practical assistance in obtaining subjects for the biomedical team. His
maximal contribution requires intimate
knowledge of the people, based on residence among them.
terms, and related to the change which has
taken place in the relative roles of birthrate and prepubertal survival as society has
advanced to the modern “welfare state.”
Department of Anthropology,
Previously, high mortality rates and the
Haruard University
absence of effective birth control methods
rendered survival, rather than birthrate,
THE FUTUREOF HUMAN HEREDITY: AN the principal factor in selection and geINTRODUCTION TO EUGENICS
IN MODERN netic change. The universal lowering of
SOCIETY.By Frederick Osborn. 133 pp. mortality rates and the availability of efWeybright and Talley, New York. 1968. fective birth control methods with group
differentials in their application based on
This is an insightful treatment of both education, intelligence and occupation now
the philosophical and the scientific consid- makes birthrate the most important detererations in any conscious charting of man’s minant of the genetic content of each sucbiological future. The author is concerned ceeding generation. Many other important
with the fact we have now reached a stage and often overlooked principles are also
in human history where man himself can presented: For example, the necessity of
be the architect of his own evolution. The including unmarried and childless individpresentation is clear and unstilted, and the uals if valid conclusions are to be drawn
subject matter fully interdisciplinary. Ideas from comparative studies of birthrate by
and relevant information from anthropol- education, I& or success level. The high
ogy, demography, genetics and sociology fecundity of married individuals in a given
group may be offset by the relatively large
are meaningfully integrated.
of childless individuals in that
Man, and consequently human society,
has reached the biological and social cross- group.
In this day, when students are raising
road in evolution. The point is very well
as to the relevance of different
made that this is due even more importantly to medical and technological ad- types of basic information and scientific
vance, and the type of social structure investigations, this book will provide many
which has evolved, than to our present satisfying answers. It will be invaluable as
knowledge of genetics and evolutionary an initial or supplemental reading for any
processes. The overriding message of the general or introductory course in genetics,
book is the one for which the author has anthropology, demography or human bibeen the most influential proponent, and ology.
thereby more responsible than any other
University of Wisconsin
single person for the now improved scientific and social respectability of eugenics.
This is: Eugenic objectives can and must THE GENETICS OF DERMALRIDGES. By
be achieved by correction of social ills and
Sarah B. Holt, mii and 195 pp., one
elevation of individual incentive, not by diplate, 63 figures, and 65 tables. Charles
rect and undemocratic eugenic legislation.
C Thomas, Springfield, Illinois. 1968.
The book begins with a discussion of se$15.75.
lection and survival in primitive hunters
and foodgatherers. The conclusion drawn
This volume is packed with information
is that “. . . in all of the primitive environ- and is a must for all scholars interested in
ments hereditary factors for intelligence, dermatoglyphics. Dr. Holt has worked on
adaptability and various traits of character the genetics of dermal ridges since the
were essential for survival, and there is no 1930’s and her work is summarized here.
evidence that selection for these traits was
The book is divided into three parts. Part
any less rigorous in one race than in an- I - The Introduction - deals with the
characteristics of dermal ridges and their
The “Index of Opportunity for Selection” arrangements on the skin of the fingers,
js discussed in simple and understandable
palms, soles and toes, bisexual variation
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epidemiological, man, 1967, zaki, research, william, stud, omran, xix, institut, mahfouz, mcewen, abdel, bolivian, studies, 260
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