Geography of intestinal permeability and absorption.
BACKGROUND: Intestinal morphology and function vary geographically. AIMS: These functions were assessed in asymptomatic volunteers in European, North American, Middle Eastern, Asian, African, and Caribbean countries. METHODS: Five hour urine collections were obtained from each subject following ingestion of a 100 ml iso-osmolar test solution containing 3-0-methyl-D-glucose, D-xylose, L-rhamnose, and lactulose after an overnight fast, to assess active (3-0-methyl-D-glucose) and passive (D-xylose) carrier mediated, and non-mediated (L-rhamnose) absorption capacity, as well as intestinal permeability (lactulose:rhamnose ratio). RESULTS: A comparison of results for subjects from tropical countries (n=218) with those resident in the combined temperate and subtropical region (Europe, United States, Qatar) (n=224) showed significant differences. Residents in tropical areas had a higher mean lactulose:rhamnose ratio and lower mean five hour recoveries of 3-0-methyl-D-glucose, D-xylose, and L-rhamnose, indicating higher intestinal permeability and lower absorptive capacity. Investigation of visiting residents suggested that differences in intestinal permeability and absorptive capacity were related to the area of residence. Subjects from Texas and Qatar, although comprised of several ethnic groups and resident in a subtropical area, showed no significant difference from European subjects. CONCLUSIONS: There are clearly demarcated variations in intestinal permeability and absorptive capacity affecting asymptomatic residents of different geographical areas which correspond with the condition described as tropical enteropathy. Results suggest the importance of environmental factors. The parameters investigated may be relevant to the predisposition of the indigenous population and travellers to diarrhoeal illness and malnutrition. Intestinal function in patients from the tropics may be difficult to interpret, but should take into account the range of values found in the asymptomatic normal population. (+info)
Independent evaluation of the Nigrosin-Eosin modification of the Kato-Katz technique.
A new modified quantitative Kato-Katz thick-smear technique for the detection of helminth eggs in faeces preserves hookworm eggs unaltered for a long time, while with the classic Kato-Katz technique, they disappear after approximately 2 h in tropical climates and thus slides must be read within hours after sample collection. For an independent comparison of these two laboratory techniques, faecal smears from 263 school children were examined in two surveys and prevalence, intensity of infection and costs of surveys calculated. There was no statistical difference between the methods in detecting prevalence and stratification of the sample in different classes of intensity. While there was no statistical difference for the arithmetic mean of the epg for T. trichiura and only a small difference for A. lumbricoides (P=0.04), we observed a highly significant difference for hookworm mean intensities of infections (P<0.001). From the public health viewpoint both methods provided similar results, but due to its simplicity and widespread use the classical Kato-Katz technique remains first choice for community investigation of soil-transmitted nematodes. However, the Nigrosin-Eosin approach has several advantages and can be a valuable alternative in certain circumstances. (+info)
Transgenic plants for tropical regions: some considerations about their development and their transfer to the small farmer.
Biotechnological applications, especially transgenic plants, probably hold the most promise in augmenting agricultural production in the first decades of the next millennium. However, the application of these technologies to the agriculture of tropical regions where the largest areas of low productivity are located, and where they are most needed, remains a major challenge. In this paper, some of the important issues that need to be considered to ensure that plant biotechnology is effectively transferred to the developing world are discussed. (+info)
Gardenification of tropical conserved wildlands: multitasking, multicropping, and multiusers.
Tropical wildlands and their biodiversity will survive in perpetuity only through their integration into human society. One protocol for integration is to explicitly recognize conserved tropical wildlands as wildland gardens. A major way to facilitate the generation of goods and services by a wildland garden is to generate a public-domain Yellow Pages for its organisms. Such a Yellow Pages is part and parcel of high-quality search-and-delivery from wildland gardens. And, as they and their organisms become better understood, they become higher quality biodiversity storage devices than are large freezers. One obstacle to wildland garden survival is that specific goods and services, such as biodiversity prospecting, lack development protocols that automatically shunt the profits back to the source. Other obstacles are that environmental services contracts have the unappealing trait of asking for the payment of environmental credit card bills and implying delegation of centralized governmental authority to decentralized social structures. Many of the potential conflicts associated with wildland gardens may be reduced by recognizing two sets of social rules for perpetuating biodiversity and ecosystems, one set for the wildland garden and one set for the agroscape. In the former, maintaining wildland biodiversity and ecosystem survival in perpetuity through minimally damaging use is paramount, while in the agroscape, wild biodiversity and ecosystems are tools for a healthy and productive agroecosystem, and the loss of much of the original is acceptable. (+info)
Case studies in international medicine.
Family physicians in the United States are increasingly called on to manage the complex clinical problems of newly arrived immigrants and refugees. Case studies and discussions are provided in this article to update physicians on the diagnosis and management of potentially unfamiliar ailments, including strongyloidiasis, hookworm infection, cysticercosis, clonorchiasis and tropical pancreatitis. Albendazole and ivermectin, two important drugs in the treatment of some worm infections, are now available in the United States. (+info)
Soil bacterial community shift correlated with change from forest to pasture vegetation in a tropical soil.
The change in vegetative cover of a Hawaiian soil from forest to pasture led to significant changes in the composition of the soil bacterial community. DNAs were extracted from both soil habitats and compared for the abundance of guanine-plus-cytosine (G+C) content, by analysis of abundance of phylotypes of small-subunit ribosomal DNA (SSU rDNA) amplified from fractions with 63 and 35% G+C contents, and by phylogenetic analysis of the dominant rDNA clones in the 63% G+C content fraction. All three methods showed differences between the forest and pasture habitats, providing evidence that vegetation had a strong influence on microbial community composition at three levels of taxon resolution. The forest soil DNA had a peak in G+C content of 61%, while the DNA of the pasture soil had a peak in G+C content of 67%. None of the dominant phylotypes found in the forest soil were detected in the pasture soil. For the 63% G+C fraction SSU rDNA sequence analysis of the three most dominant members revealed that their phyla changed from Fibrobacter and Syntrophomonas assemblages in the forest soil to Burkholderia and Rhizobium-Agrobacterium assemblages in the pasture soil. (+info)
Predicting malaria infection in Gambian children from satellite data and bed net use surveys: the importance of spatial correlation in the interpretation of results.
In line with the renewed World Health Organization Global Malaria Control Strategy, we have advocated the use of satellite imagery by control services to provide environmental information for malaria stratification, monitoring, and early warning. To achieve this operationally, appropriate methodologies must be developed for integrating environmental and epidemiologic data into models that can be used by decision-makers for improved resource allocation. Using methodologies developed for the Famine Early Warning Systems and spatial statistics, we show a significant association between age related malaria infection in Gambian children and the amount of seasonal environmental greenness as measured using the normalized difference vegetation index derived from satellite data. The resulting model is used to predict changes in malaria prevalence rates in children resulting from different bed net control scenarios. (+info)
Chemotherapy of malaria and resistance to antimalarial drugs in Guayana area, Venezuela.
Resistance to antimalarial chemotherapy is one of the greatest difficulties for the control of malaria transmission. Seventy patients with Plasmodium falciparum malaria were included in a study of resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine therapy. Resistance levels RI, RII, and RIII were established. Eighteen infections (51%) cleared after chloroquine treatment and did not recur within 28 days of follow-up; these were classified as sensitive. Ten infections (29%) were resistant at the RI level. Resistance at level RII was observed in 5 (14%) cases, and RIII resistance was demonstrated in 2 infections (6%). With sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, 28 (80%) infections were classified as sensitive. Six infections (17%) showed resistance at level RII, and 1 (3%) infection was resistant at the RI level. Resistance at level RIII was not observed. In a microtest for chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine sensitivity in vitro, schizont development was accomplished successfully in 70 blood samples. In vitro resistance to chloroquine was demonstrated in 15 of 70 (21%) of all isolates. Eight of 70 (11%) of all isolates showed resistance to sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. Diversity of response of P. falciparum to the studied antimalarial drugs in the Guayana area of Venezuela is considered a problem restricting the control of malaria in this geographical area. A constant evaluation program monitoring P. falciparum drug sensitivity is necessary for preserving the efficacy of the established treatment. (+info)