Presentation Outline Historical perspectives Definition and scope Geologic processes and health Geologic materials and health Case studies Current status of medical geology Future prospects and challenges “If you want to learn about the
health of a population, look at the air they breathe, the water they drink, and the places where they live.” ― Hippocrates, 5th Century BC Medical Geology Deals with the geologic factors that have a bearing on human, animal and plant health “Is the scientific discipline that examines the impacts that geologic materials and processes have on human and ecosystem health.” (Bunnell, 2004) Medical geology deals with the cause of the disease not its cure [Bunnell, J.E; 2204, Medical Geolgoy:Emerging Discipline on the Ecosystem-Human Health Interface EcoHealth, V 1, p 15-18] Medical Geology Impetus from geochemical research after WW II Geochemical data triggered interest of geologists and health care professionals to study possible relation between geochemical nature of an area and incidence of disease Earlier, during the 1930s and subsequent period, animal and plant scientists made much progress in studying health impact caused by excess or deficiency of trace elements in animals and plants Scope of Medical Geology (Illustration: Courtesy, Robert Finkleman, USGS, 2003) Causes of Disease • • • Genetic Behavioral Environmental Ultimately represents an imbalance between chemical elements and the body Valley Fever Valley Fever-Clinical Presentation 7,500 new cases of Valley Fever occur annually in the U.S.A, with a cost in excess of $65 million a year Incidence of Valley Fever Valley Fever Cases 50 40 30 Northridge Earthquake 20 10 10 14 18 22 26 30 January, 1994 12 16 20 24 28 February March (Illustration: Courtesy, Robert Finkleman, USGS, 2003) Mt Pinatubo June 15, 1991 Eruption Fluorine Sources: Sources drinking water, seafood, teas Regularly added to drinking water and toothpaste for its proven ability to reduce the formation of dental cavities by up to 70% Benefits: Benefits required to maintain strong bones and teeth Hazards: Hazards excessive amounts can result in mottled teeth, too little can cause osteoporosis Selenium Sources: Sources meats, seafood, brewers yeast, broccoli, grains, chicken, garlic, onions Benefits: Benefits strong antioxidant, produces antibodies, maintain tissue elasticity, the pancreas, and the heart Hazards: Hazards deficiency linked to leukemia, rheumatoid arthritis, cardiomyopathy, and fibrocystic breast disease; overdose may cause loss of teeth and hair, painful swelling of fingers, fatigue, and nausea Locosis in animals Medical Geology Articles International Association of Geochemistry and Cosmochemistry International Association for Volcanology and Chemistry International Association of Hydrological Sciences International Society for Environmental Toxicity and Chemistry Society for Environmental Geochemistry and Health: Environmental Geochemistry and Health Recent Developments (1) 1996 – IUGS approved creation of an International Working Group on Medical Geology (IWGMG) 2000 – UNESCO approved the new project: IGCP # 54 Medical Geology in recognition of the importance of geological factors in human health Recent Developments (2) March 2002 – IUGS gave “Special Project Status” to IWGMG Olle Selius, GSS, Director Bob Finkleman, USGS, Co-Director Jose Centeno, USAFIP, Co-Director Aug 2004 – 32nd IGC, Italy 150 participants from 71 countries approved creation of the International Medical Geology Association (IMGA) IMGA formerly launched, January 24, 2006 Education Committee Specialty Conferences and Workshops (1) Several international meetings by the GSS and the USGS A number of workshops conducted by the IWGMW 2001: Zambia 2002: Chile; Russia; Peru; Japan; China 2003: Lithuania; Uruguay; U.K; Brazil; Australia & Malaysia 2004: Hungary, S Africa, Canada, India 2005: Tanzania, Rumania, Argentina… Specialty Conferences and Workshops (2) 31st IGC, Brazil, Aug 2000: special session on Geology and Health Healthy Ecosystems-Healthy People, June, 2002, Washington, DC; Int’l Soc for Ecosystem Health Natural Science and Health, Prescription for a Better Environment, April 2003, USGS Geology and Health, May 2004, NSF, NAGT… GSA Northcentral Section, Kansas City, 2003 Pardee Symposium, Denver, 2004 NAS: Research need and support in medical geology Books College Courses 1978: Wichita State University, medical geology (1-credit), Prof Douglas Schultz 1979: 3-credit course in medical geology at CUNY by Dr Lynn Savage 1982: Dr Savage developed a new (3credit) graduate level course in geomedicine 1999: University of Akron, Ohio; 1-credit course by Dr Lynn Chyi What’s in a Name? Medical Geology? Geomedicine? Ecomedicine? IWGMG adopted Medical Geology in 1997 ISEH followed suite (2002) GSA chose “Geology and Health” Building Bridges Geosciences community Health Science On-going communication Research collaboration Closer interaction Conclusion Sufficient body of knowledge Symposia and technical sessions at major conferences - national and international Short courses Textbooks IMGA NSF, NAGT initiative for new college courses Proposed journal of medical geology Questions?