An Ecology of High-Altitude Infancy: A Biocultural by Andrea S. Wiley

By Andrea S. Wiley

Highlighting the jobs of ecology, tradition, historical past, and political financial system, this booklet considers how the original mountain ecology and socio-cultural styles of the Himalayan zone of Ladakh give a contribution to a unusual development of little one mortality. It stresses the burdens of women's paintings during this sector as an important to beginning final result. An instance of a brand new style of anthropological paintings referred to as "ethnographic human biology," this examine makes use of the method of human biology yet strongly emphasizes the ethnographic context that offers that means for human organic measures.

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Women in Ladakh experience substantial energy burdens as they contribute to agricultural production for their households, and these energetic demands are exacerbated by the hypoxic conditions under which they must work. Aerobic work in a hypoxic environment is exceptionally arduous, even for people who are well acclimatized, and it places high demands on energy-producing, oxygendependent metabolic pathways in a context where oxygen is not abundant (Kashiwazaki et al. 1995; Leonard et al. 1995).

How do other known risk factors interact with birthweight and influence early mortality? Since early mortality is so closely related to birth outcome, which in turn is a function of the pregnancy, how can we trace the determinants of neonatal mortality through maternal behavior and household ecology? (2) What are the determinants of infant mortality (death in the first year) in this population? What is the relative importance of birthweight for overall infant mortality, and how does it interact with environmental causes of death such as infectious diseases?

Two older volumes review the conclusions of this research as they existed in the late 1970s (Baker 1978; Baker and Little 1976). The material has been updated in Frisancho (1993) and subsequent review articles (Beall 2000; Moore et al. 1998). Not surprisingly, hypoxia has been found to have its most significant effects on cardiovascular and hematological characteristics. Increased ventilation, hemoglobin production and capillarization, and enlargements in lung volume are among the responses to hypoxia, and all act to increase oxygen transport to tissues in a context where oxygen is not abundant (Frisancho 1993).

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