Diet, Demography, and Disease: Changing Perspectives on Anemia (Foundations of Human Behavior)

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9780202011899: Diet, Demography, and Disease: Changing Perspectives on Anemia (Foundations of Human Behavior)
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This volume serves to challenge the conventional views of the relationship between health, disease, and iron; of the symptomatic role of low iron levels; of cultural imperatives related to diet, such as daily meat intake; and of prescribed iron fortification. The contributors are leading researchers in ethnography, archaeology, physical anthropology, microbiology, and medicine.

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Iron deficiency is recognized throughout the world as a major public health concern, particularly in developing countries. Among its functional consequences are reduced resistance to infection, increased morbidity and mortality, impaired learning and behavior, lower physical capacity and productivity, and increased susceptibility to cold. It is not, however, only the domain of nutritional biologists and of medical researchers. The skeletal evidence from archaeological excavations suggests that iron deficiency anemia was equally common in the past, thus making it of interest to paleoanthropology and paleopathology. That entire tribes present chronic iron deficiency makes it a phenomenon of interest to current anthropology as well. Traditionally this condition has been attributed in large part to dietary factors, but there is evidence in both the skeletal record and in hematological analysis of living populations that acquired iron deficiency can derive from factors other than diet. Recognizing that the subject lends itself to multiple perspectives that can more comprehensively address the multi-factorial nature of iron deficiency anemia, the editors have assembled the present volume, the first of its kind. Among the contributors are leading researchers in a number of disciplines: ethnography, archaeology, physical anthropology, microbiology, and medicine. Together, these contributions serve to challenge the conventional views of the relationship between health, disease, and iron; of the symptomatic role of low iron levels; of cultural imperatives related to diet, such as daily meat intake; and of prescribed iron fortification. This collection will stimulate controversy and furtherresearch within medical anthropology, and among public health officials, epidemiologists, hematologists, and medical sociologists.

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“A multidisciplinary volume with contributors from anthropology, ethnography, archeology, medicine, and microbiology. The contributors challenge the diagnosis of traditional iron deficiency anemia and propose identification of anemia associated with iron withholding, a protective mechanism of the body that prevents infection, and reduces risk for neoplasia and chronic disease... Contributors address theoretical issues and present case studies. The editors provide excellent commentaries to introduce and summarize the controversial content. Well documented with references, tables, and graphs. Graduate through professional.”

N. S. Springer, Choice

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