Navigation Links
Most ancient case of tuberculosis found in 500,000-year-old human; points to modern health issues
Date:12/6/2007

AUSTIN, TexasAlthough most scientists believe tuberculosis emerged only several thousand years ago, new research from The University of Texas at Austin reveals the most ancient evidence of the disease has been found in a 500,000-year-old human fossil from Turkey.

The discovery of the new specimen of the human species, Homo erectus, suggests support for the theory that dark-skinned people who migrate northward from low, tropical latitudes produce less vitamin D, which can adversely affect the immune system as well as the skeleton.

John Kappelman, professor of anthropology at The University of Texas at Austin, is part of an international team of researchers from the United States, Turkey and Germany who have published their findings in the Dec. 7 issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology. The Leakey Foundation and the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey funded the research.

Prior to this discovery in western Turkey, which helps scientists fill a temporal and geographical gap in human evolution, the oldest evidence of tuberculosis in humans was found in mummies from Egypt and Peru that date to several thousand years ago.

Paleontologists spent decades prospecting in Turkey for remains of Homo erectus, widely believed to be the first human species to migrate out of Africa. After moving north, the species had to adapt to increasingly seasonal climates.

The researchers identified this specimen of Homo erectus as a young male based on aspects of the cranial suture closure, sinus formation and the size of the ridges of the brow. They also found a series of small lesions etched into the bone of the cranium whose shape and location are characteristic of the Leptomeningitis tuberculosa, a form of tuberculosis that attacks the meninges of the brain.

After reviewing the medical literature on the disease that has reemerged as a global killer, the researchers found that some groups of people demonstrate a higher than average rate of infection, including Gujarati Indians who live in London, and Senegalese conscripts who served with the French army during World War I.

The research team identified two shared characteristics in the communities: a path of migration from low, tropical latitudes to northern temperate regions and darker skin color.

People with dark skin produce less vitamin D because the skin pigment melanin blocks ultraviolet light. And, when they live in areas with lower ultraviolet radiation such as Europe, their immune systems can be compromised.

It is likely that Homo erectus had dark skin because it evolved in the tropics, Kappelman explained. After the species moved north, it had to adapt to more seasonal climates. The researchers hypothesize the young males body produced less vitamin D and this deficiency weakened his immune system, opening the door to tuberculosis.

Skin color represents one of biologys most elegant adaptations, Kappelman said. The production of vitamin D in the skin serves as one of the bodys first lines of defenses against a whole host of infections and diseases. Vitamin D deficiencies are implicated in hypertension, multiple sclerosis, cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Before antibiotics were invented, doctors typically treated tuberculosis by sending patients to sanatoria where they were prescribed plenty of sunshine and fresh air.

No one knew why sunshine was integral to the treatment, but it worked, Kappelman said. Recent research suggests the flush of ultraviolet radiation jump-started the patients immune systems by increasing the production of vitamin D, which helped to cure the disease.


'/>"/>

Contact: John Kappelman
jkappelman@mail.utexas.edu
512-471-0055
University of Texas at Austin  
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Ancient mechanism for coping with stresses also gives cancer a boost
2. 454 Sequencing(TM): Science Paper Describes a Novel, Highly Efficient Method of Sequencing Ancient DNA; Sequences the Mitochondria of 10 Individual Mammoths to Prove It
3. Chocolate Craving Has Ancient Roots
4. New Keys to the Heart Meditation CD Series Provides Sound Energy Therapy Using First Ever Recording of an Ancient Healing Instrument
5. New antibiotic drug combo to speed up treatment of tuberculosis
6. The Lilly MDR-TB Partnership Provides Unique Model for Fight Against Multidrug-Resistant Tuberculosis in South Africa
7. Conference on Elephant Tuberculosis Research Establishes Action Plan at International Symposium on Elephant Conservation
8. One Species Genome Found Within Another
9. National Patient Safety Foundation Partners with Vocera Communications
10. R. P. Simmons Family Foundation Pledges $2 Million for New Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC Campus
11. Super Jake Foundation Offers Hope for Pediatric Cancer
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Most ancient case of tuberculosis found in 500,000-year-old human; points to modern health issues
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... , ... Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us, and most singles could probably ... flawless hair, and a sparkling personality are all well and good, but if somebody ... home with Rover. (Actually, man’s best friend might not even want to be near ...
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... February 13, 2016 , ... In its newly ... vein visualization technology should be used to ensure patient safety when placing an ... INS Standards mandate the use of vein visualization technology in patients with difficult ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... 12, 2016 , ... According to an article published February 4th ... significant portion of hernia repairs throughout the United States. Commenting on this article, Beverly ... that this trend has not only been expected, but it seems to be a ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... CDRH Enforcement Trends: , Back to the Future , ... , As Winston Churchill said, “Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to ... expect when they come knocking this year. But that takes time. , Take a ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... T.E.N., a ... closed for the ISE Southeast Awards 2016. Finalists and winners of the ISE® ... Southeast Executive Forum and Awards Gala on March 15, 2016 at the Westin ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... 12 2016  OMS Supply, a large provider of ... announced today the recent launching of their new company ... of features that enhance the user experience and enable ... --> --> Despite ... company that started in early 2016, they have already ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016 - ... in Personalized Medicine and Cancer Therapy. - European ... Diagnostic Testing Markets. - Key Diagnostic Testing Markets. ... Molecular Diagnostics in Genetic Testing. - Molecular Diagnostics ... - Over-the-Counter Diagnostic Products World Markets. - ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... -- Kindred Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: KIN ), a biopharmaceutical ... pets, today announced the submission to FDA of the ... (NADA) for Zimeta™ (dipyrone injection, KIND-012).  Positive topline results ... the control of pyrexia (fever) in horses were recently ... --> The Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls technical ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: