Medical Anthropology: A Biocultural Approach / Edition 1

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Medical anthropology encompasses a wide range of perspectives as it seeks to understand human health and illness. An ideal core text for introductory courses, Medical Anthropology: A Biocultural Approach provides a current and accessible overview of this diverse and rapidly expanding field. Working from a Biocultural approach, Medical Anthropology examines the major health issues that affect most human societies, describing and synthesizing the ways in which biology, culture, health, and environment interact. It integrates up-to-date and relevant biological data with analyses of both evolutionary theory and the sociocultural conditions that often lead to major challenges to our health and survival.
Authors Andrea S. Wiley and John S. Allen first present basic biological information on a specific health condition and then extend their investigation to include evolutionary, historical, sociocultural, and political-economic perspectives. Topics covered include healers and healing; health, diet, and nutrition; child health, growth, and development; reproductive health; aging; infectious disease; behavioral disease; stress, social inequality, and race; and mental illness. Each chapter features a variety of case studies and examples--current and historical, local and global--that demonstrate how a medical anthropological perspective can shed important light on a particular health condition. In addition, the text is enhanced by numerous tables, figures, review questions, critical thinking questions, suggestions for accompanying ethnographies, and a glossary to help students better understand the material. Throughout the text, the authors consider how a biocultural anthropological approach could be applied to more effective prevention and treatment efforts. They also highlight the ways in which medical anthropology has the potential to help improve the health of populations around the world.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195308839
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 8/14/2008
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea S. Wiley is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Human Biology Lab at Indiana University. She is the author of An Ecology of High-Altitude Infancy: A Biocultural Perspective (2004) as well as numerous articles in medical anthropology and related fields.

John S. Allen is Research Scientist at the Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center and the Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California, where he is also Adjunct Research Associate Professor of Anthropology. He is a coauthor of Biological Anthropology: The Natural History of Humankind, Second Edition (2008).

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Table of Contents

Chapters 2-4 and 6-12 end with a Conclusion.
Chapter 1: Introduction: A Biocultural Approach to Medical Anthropology
The Culture Concept A Biocultural Perspective Looking Ahead
Chapter 2: Anthropological Perspectives on Health and Disease
Definitions of Health
The Locus of Health: The Body and Society Biological/Medical Normalcy Evolutionary Perspectives on Health
Behavioral Adaptability
Cultural Approaches in Medical Anthropology
Power Differentials and Health
Ethnomedical Systems
Interpretive Approaches to Illness and Suffering
Applied Medical Anthropology Epidemiology
Chapter 3: Healers and Healing
Culture and Healing Systems Recruitment: How Healers Become Healers Alternative and Complementary Medicines
Navajo Medicine
When Biomedicine is Alternative Medicine Death as a Biocultural Concept Alternative Biomedicines Placebo and Nocebo
Chapter 4: Diet and Nutrition in Health and Disease
Fundamentals of Nutrition Digestive Physiology An Evolutionary Approach to Nutrition Nutrition and Chronic Diseases Obesity Diabetes Lactose Intolerance Salt and Hypertension Celiac Disease
Chapter 5: Growth and Development
Life History Theory Gestation: The First 40 Weeks of Growth and Development Infancy Childhood
Small but Healthy?
Is Bigger Better?
Puberty and the Onset of Adolescence
Teenage Pregnancy in the U.S.
Sex, Gender, Growth and Health Environmental Toxins and Growth The End of Childhood: Transitions to Adulthood
Chapter 6: Reproductive Health
Medicalization of Women's Health/Reproductive Health Menstruation Premenstrual Syndrome Detriments of Fertility Infertility Falling Sperm Counts: Environmental Causes of Male Reproductive Health Problems Female Genital Cutting Pregnancy Birth Mothering Menopause Reproductive Events and Breast Cancer Risk
Chapter 7: Aging
The Aging Body Physiological Theories of Aging
Somatic Mutations
Free Radicals
Wear and Degeneration
Evolutionary Theories of Aging The Aging Brain Extending Life? Caloric Restriction and an Okinawa Case Study Health, Illness, and the Cultural Construction of Aging
Chapter 8: Infectious Disease: Introduction to Pathogens and the Immune System
Koch's Postulates Taxonomy of Infectious Disease
How Pathogens Spread Human Defenses against Pathogens The Immune Response
How Does the Immune System Recognize Pathogens?
How Does the Immune System Respond to a Recognized Pathogen?
Pathogen Strategies for Avoiding Immune Destruction
Antigenic drift and shift
Variation in Immune Response
Variation in the MHC
Undernutrition and Immune Response
Allergies and Asthma: Relationship to Infectious Disease Exposure?
The Hygiene Hypothesis
The Helminth Hypothesis
Variation in Pathogen Virulence
Chapter 9: Historical Perspectives on Infectious Disease in Human Populations
Origins of Infections in Humans Agriculture's Effects on Infectious Disease The Globalization of Infection Smallpox Colonization in the Tropics Immigration, Ware, and Infection
Bioterrorism and Biological Warfare
The 1918 Influenza Epidemic
Chapter 10: Emerging and Resurging Infections: Biocultural Interactions Between Humans and Pathogens
Emergent and Resurgent Diseases Malaria: An Early "Emergent" Disease
Malaria Life Cycle and Pathogencity
Genetic Adaptations to Malaria
Behavioral Adaptations to Malaria
Efforts to Control Malaria
Malaria as a Resurgent Disease
Genetic Adaptation to Cholera: Cystic Fibrosis Alleles
Ecology of Cholera Resurgence
Dams and Infectious Disease
HIV/AIDS: A New Disease
How HIV Works
Cultural Responses to HIV
Origins of HIV
Tuberculosis: A Resurgent Disease
Biology and Pathogenicity of TB
TB as a Resurgent Disease
Chapter 11: Stress. Social Inequality, and Race and Ethnicity:Implications for Health Disparities
Biology of the Stress Response
The Nervous System Stress Response
The Hormonal Stress Response
Why is Stress Different for Humans?
Stress and Biological Normalcy Stress and Health
Cardiovascular Disease
Immune Function
Child Growth
Inequality, Stress, and Health
Relative Status
Social Cohesion
Social Support
Race and Ethnicity and Health in the United States
Chapter 12: Mental Health and Illness
The Medical Model in Biocultural Context Culture-Bound Syndromes Eating Disorders ADHD and Culture Mood Disorders
Bipolar Disorder and Creativity
Epilogue: The Relevance of Medical Anthropology
What Can I Do Next if I am Interested in Medical Anthropology?
Graduate Programs in Anthropology
Public Health programs
Medical Schools and Clinical Health
Work in Governmental and Non-Governmental Health Agencies
Glossary References Cited Index

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