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Rainfall, brain infection linked in sub-Saharan Africa
Date:1/4/2013

infall Estimation Algorithm developed at the U.S. NOAA Climate Prediction Center.

Uganda has two peak rainfall seasons, in spring and fall. By comparing the data from NOAA and the hydrocephalus cases, the researchers found that instances of the disorder rose significantly at four different times throughout the year -- before and after the peak of each rainy season, when the amount of rainfall was at intermediate levels. In Uganda an intermediate rainfall is about 6 inches of rain per month.

Schiff and colleagues previously noted that different bacteria appear associated with post-infectious hydrocephalus at different seasons of the year. While the researchers have not yet characterized the full spectrum of bacteria causing hydrocephalus in so many infants, they note that environmental conditions affect conditions supporting bacterial growth, and that the amount of rain can quench bacterial infections. The moisture level clearly affects the number of cases of hydrocephalus in this region of East Africa.

"Hydrocephalus is the first major neurosurgical condition linked to climate," said Schiff, who is also professor of neurosurgery, engineering science and mechanics, and physics, and a faculty member of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences. "This means that a substantial component of these cases are almost certainly driven from the environmental conditions, and that means they are potentially preventable if we understand the routes and mechanisms of infection better."


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Contact: Victoria M. Indivero
vmi1@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2

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