Navigation Links
Disease burden links ecology to economic growth
Date:12/28/2012

A new study, published December 27 in the open access journal PLOS Biology, finds that vector-borne and parasitic diseases have substantial effects on economic development across the globe, and are major drivers of differences in income between tropical and temperate countries. The burden of these diseases is, in turn, determined by underlying ecological factors: it is predicted to rise as biodiversity falls. This has significant implications for the economics of health care policy in developing countries, and advances our understanding of how ecological conditions can affect economic growth.

According to conventional economic wisdom, the foundation of economic growth is in political and economic institutions. "This is largely Cold War Economics about how to allocate property rightswith the government or with the private sector," says Dr Matthew Bonds, an economist at Harvard Medical School, and the lead author of the new study. However, Dr Bonds and colleagues were interested instead in biological processes that transcend such institutions, and which might form a more fundamental economic foundation.

The team was intrigued by the fact that tropical countries are generally comprised of poor agrarian populations while countries in temperate regions are wealthier and more industrialized. This distribution of income is inversely related to the burden of disease, which peaks at the equator and falls along a latitudinal gradient. Although it is common to conclude that economics drives the pattern of disease, the authors point out that most of the diseases that afflict the poor spend much of their life-cycle outside the human host. Many cannot even survive outside the tropics. Their distribution is largely determined by ecological factors, such as temperature, rainfall, and soil quality.

Because of the high correlations between poverty and disease, determining the effects of one on the other was the central challenge of their statistical analysis. Most previous attempts to address this topic ignored disease ecology, argue Bonds and colleagues. The team assembled a large data set for all of the world's nations on economics, parasitic and infectious vector-borne diseases, biodiversity (mammals, birds and plants) and other factors. Knowing that diseases are partly determined by ecology, they used a powerful set of statistical methods, new to macroecology, that allowed variables that may have underlying relationships with each other to be teased apart.

The results of the analysis suggest that infectious disease has as powerful an effect on a nation's economic health as governance, say the authors. "The main asset of the poor is their own labor," says Dr Bonds. "Infectious diseases, which are regulated by the environment, systematically steal human resources. Economically speaking, the effect is similar to that of crime or government corruption on undermining economic growth."

This result has important significance for international aid organizations, as it suggests that money spent on combating disease would also stimulate economic growth. Moreover, although diversity of human diseases is highly correlated with diversity of surrounding species, the study indicates that the burden of such human disease actually drops when biodiversity rises. The analysis is inconclusive about why this effect is so strong. The authors suggest that competition and predation limit the survival of disease vectors and free-living parasites where biodiversity is high. The research sets the stage for a number of future analyses that need to lay bare the relationship between health care funding and economic development.


'/>"/>
Contact: Bryan Ghosh
bghosh@plos.org
44-122-344-2837
Public Library of Science
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Witnessing, Experiencing Traumatic Events May Worsen Heart Disease
2. Pulse pressure elevation could presage cerebrovascular disease in Alzheimers patients
3. Mayo Clinic offers newly approved treatment for acid reflux disease
4. Spouses of Cancer Patients May Have Raised Risk of Heart Disease, Stroke
5. Huntingtons Disease Linked to Reduced Cancer Risk in Study
6. AstraZeneca and DNDi to collaborate on drug screening for neglected tropical diseases
7. Role of Screening, Monitoring in Early Kidney Disease Unclear
8. No Proof That Gum Disease Causes Heart Disease, Experts Say
9. 19th century therapy for Parkinsons disease may help patients today
10. Cellular pathway linked to diabetes, heart disease
11. Modest alcohol consumption lowers risk and severity of liver disease
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/6/2016)... ... ... From May 4 to 6, EarQ and Signia co-sponsored a ... more about Signia’s technology and the successful business and marketing techniques that make EarQ ... practices succeed in this highly competitive industry,” said Ed Keller, president of EarQ. “This ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... May 06, 2016 , ... ... Companies, has been family-owned and operated for over 35 years. Maintaining core values of ... has driven their success and made them a leading name in San Diego plumbing, ...
(Date:5/6/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 06, 2016 , ... ... System and David Konur, CEO of Cardiovascular Institute of the South announced today ... be performing a live case of an Intravascular Ultrasound Guided Coronary Atherectomy. ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... ... May 05, 2016 , ... Pivot Point Consulting ... gold standard KLAS Performance Report, Epic Consulting 2016 - Which Firms ... specialize in consulting services for electronic health record (EHR) solutions from Epic ...
(Date:5/5/2016)... Tampa, FL (PRWEB) , ... May 05, 2016 ... ... hospital in Tampa to offer patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (A-Fib) an alternative ... (LAAC) Implant. Since first offering the procedure in April of 2015, Florida Hospital ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/4/2016)... Research and Markets has ... Ischemic Stroke Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160330/349511LOGO ) ... Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, provides ... products, Acute Ischemic Stroke epidemiology, Acute Ischemic ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016 ... addition of the  "Global Actinic Keratosis Market ... to their offering.       (Logo: ... Keratosis Market and Competitive Landscape Highlights 2016, ... products, Actinic Keratosis epidemiology, Actinic Keratosis market ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... PUNE, India , May 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... report spreads across 154 pages, profiling 09 key ... It is a professional and in-depth study on ... providing a basic overview of the industry including ... Insulin Needles market analysis is provided for the ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: