International Centre for Global-Scale Geochemistry, South Africa
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Antivir Antiretrovir
Over the last two decades, there has been a rapid growth in research in the field of medical geology around the world, and we continue to encounter Ã¢Â?Â?Ã¢Â?Â?newÃ¢Â?Â?Ã¢Â?Â? and important correlations between certain environmental health conditions and factors related to our interactions with geological materials and processes. A review of the possible role of geochemical factors such as the circulation of Mg, Se and F and the physico-chemical composition of volcanic soil particles, on the aetiology of some common diseases in Africa, is presented. Such studies till now, have tended to emphasise only the deleterious health impacts due to geoenvironmental factors. This is justifiable, since a proper understanding of the negative health impacts has contributed significantly towards improvement in diagnosis and therapy. But there are also beneficial effects accrued from judiciously exploiting geological materials and processes, exemplified in this paper, by the several important medical applications of African clays, the therapeutic gains associated with hot springs, and balneology of peat deposits. The criticality of the Ã¢Â?Â?Ã¢Â?Â?optimal rangeÃ¢Â?Â?Ã¢Â?Â? of intake for the nutrient elements Mg, Se and F in metabolic processes is also emphasised, and illustrations given of illnesses such as cardiovascular disorders and various cancers (all major causes of mortality in Africa) that can possibly occur on either side of this range. It is hoped that this review would help generate ideas for the formulation of experimental studies that take into account the role of the geochemical environment, in an attempt to establish precisely the obscure aetiology of some of the diseases treated, and uncover new pathways in their pathogenesis.
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