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Case Western Reserve professor helps control infectious diseases with models and math
Date:12/19/2008

CLEVELAND Can an algebraic equation hold the secret to eradicating malaria or schistosomiasis? A Case Western Reserve University mathematics professor is utilizing the combination of algorithms and models in an effort to assist his medical colleagues in the fight against infectious diseases.

Professor David Gurarie is developing mathematical models to track and analyze symptoms, treatment outcomes and environmental conditions that affect diseases like malaria and schistosomiasis, also known as "snail fever." These models would allow doctors to make predictions towards effective treatment.

"Generally there is a fair amount of interest in using mathematic models in life sciences," Gurarie said. "Such models applied to biological systems can help researchers to understand the data they collect and address problems where traditional methods (based lab or filed study) fail. By understanding the data, we can make predictions about where new diseases may emerge, how they spread in the environment, and whether we'll be able to control future outcomes."

Gurarie has worked closely with Charles King, Peter Zimmerman, Ron Blanton and other faculty from the Center for Global Health and Disease at the Case Western Reserve School of Medicine.

"I was lucky to have people in the School of Medicine interested in mathematical modeling, and we've been working very productively together, on several projects and papers," he said.

Most recently, Gurarie and King have published a paper on controlling schistosomiasis, a chronic parasitic disease that can damage internal organs and impair cognitive growth and development in children.

"Age-and Risk-Targeted Control of Schistosomiasis-Associated Morbidity Among Children and Adult Age Groups" appeared in The Open Tropical Medicine Journal 2008.

Schistosomiasis is commonly found in many regions of Africa, Asia and South America. The disease affects more than 200
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Contact: Jason A. Tirotta
jason.tirotta@case.edu
216-368-6890
Case Western Reserve University
Source:Eurekalert

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