Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

'Benign' malaria key driver of human evolution in Asia-Pacific

September 05, 2012
Their finding challenges the widely-accepted theory that Plasmodium falciparum, which causes the most lethal form of malaria, is the only malaria parasite capable of driving genome evolution in humans. The study was published today in the journal PLOS Medicine.

Professor Ivo Mueller from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute and Barcelona Centre for International Health Research (CRESIB) led the study, with colleagues from the Papua New Guinea Institute of Medical Research, Centre of Global Health and Diseases, US, and the University of Western Australia.

Malaria is a devastating parasitic disease that kills up to one million people a year. It is a major cause of poverty and a barrier to economic development. Approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria infection.

"Humans and malaria parasites have been co-evolving for thousands of years," Professor Mueller said. "Malaria has been a major force in the evolution of the human genome, with gene mutations that provide humans with some protection against the disease being preserved through natural selection because they aid in survival."

Professor Mueller said the study has challenged the perception that P. falciparum malaria is the only malaria species that affects human genome evolution. "It has long been assumed that Plasmodium falciparum, the species that causes the most severe disease and most deaths from malaria, is the most important driver of this gene selection in humans," Professor Mueller said. "Our results suggest that P. vivax malaria, though until recently widely considered to be a 'benign' form of malaria, actually causes severe enough disease to provide evolutionary selection pressures in the Asia-Pacific."

Professor Mueller said that the research team was interested in whether P. vivax malaria might be the cause of the unusually high rates of Southeast Asian ovalocytosis (SAO), a hereditary red blood cell disorder, in the Asia-Pacific region. "SAO occurs in approximately 10 to 15 per cent of the population in parts of the South West Pacific and is caused by a hereditary mutation in a single copy of a gene that makes a red blood cell membrane protein. This is almost an absurdly high frequency when you consider that inheriting two copies of the mutation is invariably fatal, so we figured it must confer a strong advantage to the carriers," he said.

The research team looked at the incidence of P. vivax and P. falciparum infections in three studies that included a total of 1975 children in Papua New Guinea aged 0-14 years. "We found that SAO-positive children were significantly protected against P. vivax infection, with 46 per cent reduction of clinical disease in infants with little or no immunity, and 52-55 per cent reduction in the risk of infection in older children. We also saw a significant decrease in parasite numbers in infants and older children, which is linked to a decrease in risk of clinical disease," Professor Mueller said.

The finding could have dramatic implications for future malaria vaccine design and development, Professor Mueller said. "Studying the mechanisms that cause SAO-positive people to be protected against P. vivax malaria could help us to better understand the mechanics of infection and help us to identify better targets for a malaria vaccine," he said.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute


Related Malaria Current Events and Malaria News Articles


Health workers wasting expensive malaria drugs in Nigeria
Health providers trained to perform malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDT) are still prescribing valuable malaria medicines to patients who do not have malaria, according to new research published in PLOS ONE.

Life expectancy climbs globally but more time spent living with illness and disability
People around the world are living longer, even in some of the poorest countries, but a complex mix of fatal and nonfatal ailments causes a tremendous amount of health loss, according to a new analysis of all major diseases and injuries in 188 countries.

Life expectancy climbs worldwide but people spend more years living with illness and disability
Global life expectancy has risen by more than six years since 1990 as healthy life expectancy grows; ischemic heart disease, lower respiratory infections, and stroke cause the most health loss around the world.

Tiny antibodies point to vulnerability in disease-causing parasites
By teasing apart the structure of an enzyme vital to the infectious behavior of the parasites that cause toxoplasmosis and malaria, Whitehead Institute scientists have identified a potentially 'drugable' target that could prevent parasites from entering and exiting host cells.

Cellphone data can track infectious diseases
Tracking mobile phone data is often associated with privacy issues, but these vast datasets could be the key to understanding how infectious diseases are spread seasonally, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

How can we improve data sharing of biomedical research across the globe?
With the globalization of biomedical research and growing concerns about possible pandemics of diseases such as HIV, SARS, and Ebola, international data-sharing practices are of growing interest to the biomedical science community.

Study shows how climate change threatens health
Researchers at Columbia University's National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) and the University of Washington have published a new study focused on the public health implications of climate change.

Mosquito-repelling chemicals identified in traditional sweetgrass
Native North Americans have long adorned themselves and their homes with fragrant sweetgrass (Hierochloe odorata), a native plant used in traditional medicine, to repel biting insects, and mosquitoes in particular. Now, researchers report that they have identified the compounds in sweetgrass that keep these bugs at bay.

How the malaria parasite increases the risk of blood cancer
A link between malaria and Burkitt's lymphoma was first described more than 50 years ago, but how a parasitic infection could turn immune cells cancerous has remained a mystery.

Crime-scene compound may be newest tool in fight against malaria
The compound that detectives spray at crime scenes to find trace amounts of blood may be used one day to kill the malaria parasite.
More Malaria Current Events and Malaria News Articles

The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)

The Making of a Tropical Disease: A Short History of Malaria (Johns Hopkins Biographies of Disease)
by Randall M. Packard (Author)


Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people―and kills one to three million―each year. Despite massive efforts to eradicate the disease, it remains a major public health problem in poorer tropical regions. But malaria has not always been concentrated in tropical areas. How did other regions control malaria and why does the disease still flourish in some parts of the globe?From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard’s far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling health systems, and globalization―coupled with climate change and changes in the distribution and flow of water―create conditions in which malaria's carrier mosquitoes thrive. The combination of these...

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years

The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years
by Sonia Shah (Author)


In recent years, malaria has emerged as a cause celebre for voguish philanthropists. Bill Gates, Bono, and Laura Bush are only a few of the personalities who have lent their names--and opened their pocketbooks--in hopes of stopping the disease. Still, in a time when every emergent disease inspires waves of panic, why aren't we doing more to tame one of our oldest foes? And how does a pathogen that we've known how to prevent for more than a century still infect 500 million people every year, killing nearly one million of them? 
In The Fever, journalist Sonia Shah sets out to answer those questions, delivering a timely, inquisitive chronicle of the illness and its influence on human lives. Through the centuries, she finds, we've invested our hopes in a panoply of drugs and...

The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure

The Malaria Project: The U.S. Government's Secret Mission to Find a Miracle Cure
by Karen M. Masterson (Author)


A fascinating and shocking historical exposé, The Malaria Project is the story of America's secret mission to combat malaria during World War II—a campaign modeled after a German project which tested experimental drugs on men gone mad from syphilis.

American war planners, foreseeing the tactical need for a malaria drug, recreated the German model, then grew it tenfold. Quickly becoming the biggest and most important medical initiative of the war, the project tasked dozens of the country’s top research scientists and university labs to find a treatment to remedy half a million U.S. troops incapacitated by malaria.

Spearheading the new U.S. effort was Dr. Lowell T. Coggeshall, the son of a poor Indiana farmer whose persistent drive and curiosity led him to become one of...

Malaria, Poems

Malaria, Poems
by Cameron Conaway (Author)


Malaria kills nearly one million people each year. Hundreds of millions more are sickened by the disease, and many of them are permanently disabled. Billions are spent each year to understand it. Researchers know the molecular details of the interaction between the mosquito and our own red blood cells, and the myriad ways in which malaria impacts the global economy and the advancement of humanity. But what of the public? Though its story is told in thousands of articles and in hundreds of books, many in the developed world are unaware of how prevalent malaria still is. Malaria, Poems testifies to the importance of bridging the chasm between science and art. It adds thread to a tattered and tragic global narrative; it is poetry’s attempt to reawaken care in a cold case that keeps...

Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria

Little Things Make Big Differences: A Story about Malaria
by John Nunes (Author)


Little Things Make Big Differences is a story about Rehema, a young girl who lives in the African country of Tanzania. When she was a baby, Rehema was infected with malaria, but because her parents were able to get treatment for her, she survived. In the book, Rehema describes what children in the United States can do to help fight malaria.

One little bite from one mosquito doesn't seem like a big thing, but if that mosquito carries the parasite that causes malaria, its bite can be very serious. Malaria is one of the most common infectious diseases, and it can be deadly. Each year, one million people die of malaria-that's one death every 30 seconds. In Africa, 75 percent of the malaria victims are children. Prevention is not only possible, but it's simple.



Author...

The Malaria Capers: Tales of Parasites and People

The Malaria Capers: Tales of Parasites and People
by Robert S. Desowitz (Author)


"Reads like a murder mystery. . . . [Desowitz] writes with uncommon lucidity and verse, leaving the reader with a vivid understanding of malaria and other tropical diseases, and the ways in which culture, climate and politics have affected their spread and containment."―New York Times Why, Robert S. Desowitz asks, has biotechnical research on malaria produced so little when it had promised so much? An expert in tropical diseases, Desowtiz searches for answers in this provocative book.

Malaria: The Definitive Guide to Malaria Treatment

Malaria: The Definitive Guide to Malaria Treatment


Everything You Always Wanted To Know About MalariaGet your copy of the fastest selling book by Lacy SwanseaAre you interested in learning about Malaria? Then look no futher. This best-selling guide on Malaria Treatment provides a wealth of information and useful advice about Malaria.Discover what you must know about: Mаӏагіа Pгеνеntіоn Sуmрtоmѕ оf Mаӏагіа Mаӏагіа & Mоѕqυіtоеѕ and Much More!Scroll up and grab a copy today.

Malaria: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)

Malaria: Methods and Protocols (Methods in Molecular Biology)
by Robert Ménard (Editor)


Over the past ten years, many powerful new techniques have been developed that have dramatically changed malaria research. The second edition of  Malaria: Methods and Protocols expands upon the previous edition with current, detailed techniques for laboratory research. With new chapters on parasite culture techniques, genome manipulation methods, 'omic' approaches, and  techniques for studying the biology of the red blood cell and pre-erythrocytic stages of Plasmodium. Written in the highly successful Methods in Molecular Biology series format, chapters include introductions to their respective topics, lists of the necessary materials and reagents, step-by-step, readily reproducible laboratory protocols, and tips on troubleshooting and avoiding known pitfalls.  Authoritative and...

Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World

Quinine: Malaria and the Quest for a Cure That Changed the World
by Fiammetta Rocco (Author)


Quinine: The Jesuits discovered it. The Protestants feared it. The British vied with the Dutch for it, and the Nazis seized it. Because of quinine, medicine, warfare, and exploration were changed forever.For more than one thousand years, there was no cure for malaria. In 1623, after ten cardinals and hundreds of their attendants died in Rome while electing Urban VII the new pope, he announced that a cure must be found. He encouraged Jesuit priests establishing new missions in Asia and in South America to learn everything they could about how the local people treated the disease, and in 1631, an apothecarist in Peru named Agostino Salumbrino dispatched a new miracle to Rome. The cure was quinine, an alkaloid made from the bitter red bark of the cinchona tree.From the quest of the...

Malaria [and] mosquitoes, abstract of a discourse delivered before the Royal Institution of Great Britain on March 2nd, 1900

Malaria [and] mosquitoes, abstract of a discourse delivered before the Royal Institution of Great Britain on March 2nd, 1900
by Ronald Ross (Author)


Leopold Classic Library is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive collection. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. Whilst the books in this collection have not been hand curated, an aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature. As a result of this book being first published many decades ago, it may have occasional imperfections. These imperfections may include poor picture quality, blurred or missing text. While some of these...

© 2015 BrightSurf.com