Online Journal of Anthropology

Volume 8, Number 1, 2012

 Parkinson’s disease in North Karnataka An epidemiological perspective


Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive disorder of the brain. It occurs when certain neurons in substantia nigra die or become impaired. Parkinson’s disease is characterized by progressively increasing stiffness all over body, tremor in limbs with difficulty in walking. Parkinson’s disease usually starts at old age and slowly progresses over a period of time. A total of 557 patients belonging to both rural and urban areas of north Karnataka were interviewed with a structured questionnaire. All the patients were subjected to clinical examination and relevant laboratory investigations. Clinical and demographic data were presented as percentage distribution in the total subjects. The present study revealed that men were affected more than women. The occurrence of Parkinson disease is higher among subjects with no family history when compared the subjects with positive family history. Among the study subjects, approximately 90.8% of the patients were having tremors, followed by slowness in activities (32.7%) and dyskinesia (8.1%). As there is no definitive test for the diagnosis of PD, the disease must be diagnosed based tremor, bradykinesia and rigidity. Innovative community outreach programmes need to be designed and implemented for creating awareness, early screening and treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

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Prevalence of thinness among 6-12 years rural children of Kharagpur A cross-sectional study in West Bengal, India

Thinness is one of the biggest problems of children residing in rural or tribal areas in our country then their urban counterparts. Children are in growing age needs more varied nutrient to reach their full growth potential. Any obstruction during this stage leads to impaired physical and mental growth that furnishes poor productivity in their overall development. India is one of the most populated countries in the world having 13.0 % (approx) children of age range from 6-12. There were sparse information on nutritional status of children using the new internationally accepted body mass index (BMI) cut-off values are available, particularly from rural areas in India. The present cross-sectional study was undertaken to determine the prevalence of undernutrition using BMI among 6-12 years rural children of Kharagpur, Paschim Medinipur, District, West Bengal, India. A total of 500 (250 boys and 250 girls) children aged 2 to 12 years from five schools were measured. Commonly used indicators i.e., weight, height and BMI, were used to evaluate nutritional status. The overall prevalence of thinness was 77.6 % and 76.4 % among boys and girls, respectively. Girls are more undernourished (80.0 %), (80.5 %), (76.7 %) and (75.0 %) at age 6, 8, 9 and 12 years than their male counterpart (79.4 %), (77.1 %), (70.6 %) and (72.2 %) of the same age. However, Boys are more undernourished (81.1 %), (82.5 %) and (81.8%) at age 7, 10 and 11 years than the girls (74.4 %), (66.7 %) and (76.0 %) of same age. Grade I thinness is found to be most prevalent among boys in all ages except age 11 and 12 years followed by grade II and III. Grade III thinness is found to be most prevalent among girls in all ages except age 7, 9 and 11 years followed by grade II and I. Thus children of all ages are very thin and they are in very critical position with respect to their nutritional status is concerned. Immediate nutritional supplement programme is required to overcome this situation.

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Provisions and Perceptions of the Hosts in Business at Digha A Study of Beach Tourism in India

The impact of tourism in a society is a complex and varied subject. It is generally agreed that tourism results in both positive and negative impacts for hosts of tourism destinations. There is a need to study hosts perceptions of tourism because local stakeholders are the ones who are most directly affected by tourism. The present study specifically examines the views of the hosts in ‘business’ at beach tourism in India. The study adopted the qualitative research approach to understand the viewpoint of the hosts concerning tourism activities in Digha. The analysis resulted in the emergence of the four major themes including livelihood, administration, entertainment and closet services. The findings exposes that the hosts perceived tourism as one component of a larger system of growth and development within the area. Furthermore, hosts recognize the complex nature of tourism impacts and identify several indirect and induced impacts resulted from tourism activities. The work ultimately explores the gamut of the varied but changing cultural representation of the hosts’ vis-à-vis guests, the continuity and change in the hosts’ perception and other relevant issues of local tourism development.
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Une hypothèse sur la naissance de l’acte de croire et ses conséquences : et si c’était vrai!

Cet article propose une hypothèse sur l’origine de l’acte de croire, à partir de la comparaison des sépultures (qui sont contemporaines, entre 50000 et 100000 ans) de l’Homme de Néanderthal et d’Homo sapiens, appelé aussi « Homme moderne ». Une différence importance pourrait résider dans l’absence d’offrandes chez les Néandertaliens alors que celles-ci sont attestées chez Homo sapiens. De cette possible différence, l’article retient que seuls les Hommes modernes, donc Homo sapiens, « croient » et que ces actes de croire ont engendré une manière d’exister très spécifique se caractérisant par des formes de minimalté comportementales et cognitives.
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Is Caste System a Kind of Indigenous Knowledge System?

The Global Knowledge can be broadly disassociated into two types: Indigenous and Modern. Indigenous or Traditional Knowledge traits are scattered worldwide among the folk people. These are oral and undocumented, subjected for loss and rediscovery, outcome of trial and error from informal experimentations during the course of folk life. These traits unite to form a knowledge system known as the Indigenous Knowledge System (IKS). IKS provide us various Public Services. This paper tries to establish the hypothesis that caste system in Indian Subcontinent is an important IKS..

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Perspectives on Health, Health Needs and Health Care Services among Select Nomad Tribal Populations of Rajasthan, India

Objective: To study the opinion of select nomad tribal communities of Rajasthan State in India on health, health needs, and health care services. Methods: A cross-sectional study involving 1113 nomadic populations in select districts of Jhunjhunu, Sikar and Churu were undertaken. A perception on regarding various health issues among the study populations were obtained through semi-structured questionnaires. Results: The major insight of nomad tribal populations on health, health need and health care services are lack of infrastructures, inaccessibility to health institutions, ill-treated by government hospitals staff, acceptability and affordability are some of the main problems contributing to their poor health status. Conclusion: The Nomad tribal environment and sense of community with its associated strong social networks are identified as key determinants for common perception in all communities. However, the inaccessibility to health care and reluctance to seek help for health issues remain a significant problem in nomad tribal areas. In considering priorities for health, greater effort and resources are required to increase their awareness and change attitudes towards health issues.

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Bill-Postings as Pervasive Media Culture. Evidence from Edo Central District of Edo State, Nigeria

This study examines the problem of bill-postings as pervasive media culture, using Edo Central District (ECD) of Edo State, Nigeria as a case study. To achieve the set task, it adopts an evaluative methodology. This is complemented by interviews and random photographic snapshots of indiscriminately posted-bills across the district under examination. This paper argues that the indiscriminately posted-bills are eyesores, which apart from not being aesthetically pleasing, exacerbate the environmental management challenge in the ECD. It further contends that the problem is a multilayered one, judging from the different kinds of posters that are commonly posted by diverse groups in society. Consequently, this study asserts that probing the sociological causes and implications of the menace of bill-postings could offer some insights on how to redress the situation. To this end, a number of suggestions are made, with a view to improving the condition of the physical environment in ECD.

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Genetic Sensitivity to Phenylthiocarbamide -Effect on Body Mass Indices and DNA damage

As sensitivity to bitter taste (phenylthiocarbamide [PTC] perception) has been maintained at high frequency worldwide, its use as a potential genetic marker for food preferences and dietary choices and its influence on body weight/adiposity which in turn maybe a contributor to various co-morbidities including malignancy needs to be explored in the Punjabi context where there is higher per capita income, an adapted ‘western’ dietary pattern with traditional culinary habits and reduced physical activity. Since studies linking PTC tasting status, indices of obesity and DNA damage have not come to attention, the present study, using the alkaline Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis assay was carried out to assess genomic damage in peripheral blood leukocytes (PBL) of 144 individuals, both obese (n=96, as determined by body mass index [BMI] and waist-hip ratio [WHR]) and normal weight healthy (n=46) subjects. Their PTC status revealed 73 tasters and 69 non-tasters. The odds ratio revealed a 2.51 times increased risk in non-tasters (OR=2.51; 95%CI 1.20-5.25) for having BMI≥ 25.0 kg/m2 in comparison to risk in tasters while the risk ratio revealed a 1.32 times increased probability of non-tasters for having BMI≥ 25.0 kg/m2 in comparison to tasters (RR=1.32; 95%CI 1.05-1.66). The genetic damage in the obese group (characterized on the bases of their gender and PTC tasting ability) was very highly significant (p<0.001) compared to the values in the matched control group (healthy, normal weight subjects). In both the taster and non-taster groups, BMI and WC (waist circumference) significantly correlated to genetic damage indices though PTC tasting ability did not appear to influence BMI, WHR and WC.

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Cameroon’s War: The Fight Against Impunity. A Normative Analysis

The choice of the resolution of conflict by arbitration conducted by the mediator in the conflict to establish and monitor over time the specific causal relationships between trade, conflict, and rules thus legalizing politics. In other words, legalization would operate over time, a transfer of skills as well as powers to judicial bodies, ad hoc and/or permanent. Therefore, should it be considered, despite the differences they each have, that insofar as those courts are derived from dynamic with similarities in their substance, functions, and in their statutes, they are complementary and contribute to better compliance with international rules? Or, rather, the proliferation of courts and systems of settlement of disputes reflects the fragmentation of an international normative space, not conducive to a stable international scene that would place these jurisdictions in a competitive situation, adding, in the case of the African state already fundamentally unstable, to its instability and chronic marginalization? Is the accusation that "globalization of law and order" or "globalization of justice" through “Good Governance” and the international legalization of the fight against corruption, threatens the sovereignty of States, credible in law? The short answer is: no. Though it’s a “close call” by most accounts, there is no evidence or basis, legal or otherwise, that the so-called globalization of law and order constitutes a violation of sovereignty. Moreover. It seems to be a positive development of international law in the sense of greater synergy in the fight against a phenomenon with ramifications at both domestic and international levels. The positive effects of increasing international legalization of corruption are evident: for one, the result of illegal acts - the diversion of the funds looted to tax havens - in most cases so far out of reach, for most domestic judiciary systems is once again in the crosshairs of justice with, more than in the past, concrete opportunities to be followed by measures of repatriation. On Saturday, March 11, 2006, (finally) caving to international pressure and the devastating effects of the stigma of perceived generalized corruption on foreign investment, the President of the Republic of Cameroon created a National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), and officially launched "Operation Hawk" (“Opération Épervier” in French). Today, by the admission of Cameroonian authorities themselves, this institution has so far produced mixed results, at best. Indeed, the lack of independence and means - in the broadest sense of the term: legal, political, logistics ... - has not allowed the National Commission on Anti-Corruption to establish itself as an effective structure to fight corruption, nor its ministerial offices, created to bring the fight to the lowest levels of government. Moreover, the draft text prepared in 2001 by the ad hoc committee to create a structure to fight corruption nationwide has not yet yield the results expected. Several measures provided in the Governmental Plan for the Fight against Corruption – part of the “Action plan for governance” agreed upon with Bretton Woods Institutions - are still not implemented, including a coalition Government-Civil society against corruption. This instability, nurtured "from within", ensures the sustainability, is the best guarantee for the status quo, for all people living off corruption in Cameroon.

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Nutritional status of children as indicated by z-scores of the Hmars: A tribe of N.E. India

Introduction: In North-East India, many growth studies have been published for the populations of Assam and Meghalaya. However, no study, especially with regard to the nutritional status of the Hmars of Mizoram has been undertaken. So, more growth and nutritional studies are needed to carry out in populations of Northeast with a view to understanding the nutritional status of children. Objective: To assess the nutritional status of children (based on z-scores) in relation to other demographic and socio-economic conditions of the study population. Methods: The present study was based on anthropometric data from 507 children (boys =255 and girls =252) between 2 to 10 years from four rural villages. Three anthropometric indices were adopted for assessing the nutritional status of children.viz. weight-for-age, height-for-age and weight-for-height - which are considered as indicators of nutritional status. The data collected for the present study are quantified and analysed statistically, using SPSS Window software. The differences between two means were tested, using t-student test, while the differences between more than two means were determined, using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA). Analysis of covariance was also carried out for testing the differences among means, allowing for the effects of other covariates. The differences between proportions were tested, using chi-square test. Multiple regression analysis was also carried out for understanding the effects of socio-economic factors on demographic parameters and growth patterns of children. Logistic regression analysis was used for analyzing the effects of maternal age, sex, income and education and on the three anthropometric indices – weight-for- age, height-for-age and weight-for-height. Result: We observed higher prevalence of underweight and stunting in the higher age group (6-10 years) than in the lower age group (below 6 years) for both boys and girls. The present population is characterized by a high prevalence of underweight (28.40% for both sexes) and a very high prevalence of stunting (48.72% for both sexes) but with low prevalence of wasting (3.16%). Conclusion: The low prevalence of wasting as indicated by weight-for-height is due to the fact that weight-for-height is independent of age, whereas indices of underweight and stunting are dependent of age. Weight-for-height is, therefore, a better indicator of nutritional status.

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The Mead Hall. Notes on the Name of Milan, Italy

When I started reading an article by Fumagalli (2008) about the etymology of the name of Milan, the capital of Lombardy as well as the economical heart of Italy, at first I began jotting down notes, only to notice that there was an Ariadne's thread of symbols. The final result of this quest is a picture of Lombardy during the Bronze and Iron Ages, which can draw from a common Indo-European heritage, shared with better documented regions to support my hypotheses. The point of view is anthropological, and the conclusions are obviously partial and in progress. I hope, however, to contribute to shed some brighter light on the cultures of the Proto-Celts and the Celts who lived in Cisalpine Gaul, which so far could rely only on a number of archaeological remains as well as ambiguous Latin and Greek documentary sources.

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Dream-Land. The Mythical Skinheads’ Communitarianism

Skinheads are a kind of subculture2 with well-defined aesthetical, iconographical and ideological connotations, which are deliberately shown and clearly flaunted. Those kind of people can be easily recognized on the basis of their behaviour, clothes, music styles and phrasing, expression. These aspects help Skinheads show their identities to the others and strengthen their own. It is quite hard to reconstruct in depth the history of this social movement from the start: Skinheads seem to have a magmatic, unclear nature which makes it extremely hard to analyze and difficult to identify its roots. The lack of official studies on this subject is great, even if, on the other hand, non-scientific sources, self-interpretations of Skinheads themselves and journalistic records are quite common. Despite this uncertainty, however, it is still possible to roughly piece together the key happenings which made this phenomenon rise.

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Towards a bio-psycho-cultural anthropology of AIDS

This paper aims to outline a theoretical framework which could define the bio-psycho-social basis of the representations of the HIV sufferers, regarding the complex relationships between the biologic reality of HIV, its psychic and psychopathologic manifestations, as well as its social stigma. We wish to unify these different aspects for the purpose of establishing a systemic approach to all the processes and representations that characterize AIDS. By describing the interactive relations of the different parameters of the AIDS pandemic, one should be able to distinguish between logic and incoherence, rationality and imagination. The paper will develop a pragmatic approach that aims to explain the underlying mechanisms producing the cultural and stigmatizing images that are channeled by mass diffusion of medical, scientific and therapeutic knowledge. Taken all together, they constitute the background of the public and politic polemics. This perspective also tries to clear the implication of the cognitive-emotional elements felt by AIDS patients/sufferers through their infected body and some of their psychopathological expressions.

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. Il dolore come valore. Modificazioni del corpo e sofferenza

. La diffusione, soprattutto a partire dagli anni '80 dello scorso secolo, delle modificazioni corporee a fini estetici, dalla chirurgia estetica sino ai tatuaggi, costituisce un fenomeno culturale complesso che solo in parte ha attratto l'attenzione degli studiosi. Una delle caratteristiche delle modificazioni corporee, naturalmente, è che comportano un intervento sul corpo e, quindi, un qualche livello di dolore. La maggioranza di questi interventi, tutti quelli che sono ormai parte della cultura ufficiale - quelli di chirurgia estetica, ad esempio, e in generale tutti quelli connessi con la medicina ufficiale - comportano l'uso di anestesie il cui scopo è quello di limitare al massimo l'esperienza del dolore. In questi trattamenti il dolore è solo una parte sgradevolmente “accessoria”, da eliminare o almeno da ridurre. Esiste, tuttavia, parallelamente, una tendenza alla realizzazione di modificazioni, in particolare tatuaggi, piercing, scarificazioni miranti ad ottenere cicatrici, nella quale l'esperienza del dolore non solo è tollerata e accettata come elemento costitutivo della modificazione ma è anche, a volte, deliberatamente cercata. Questo fenomeno interessa non solo particolari subculture nelle quali l'esperienza dolorosa in sé può assumere un valore sociale positivi ma anche dei singoli individui per i quali il dolore acquisisce un significato individuale valorizzante, fuori dai codici di un gruppo.

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