Dueling Infections: Researchers find parasitic worms limit the effects of giardia, and vice versa.

Studying members of the Tsimane, an indigenous population in the lowlands of Central Bolivia, UC Santa Barbara anthropologists Aaron Blackwell and Michael Gurven found that individuals infected by helminths –– parasitic worms –– were less likely than their counterparts to suffer from giardia, an intestinal malady caused by a flagellated protozoa. Similarly, those with giardia tended to be less infected by helminths. 

Other researchers contributing to the paper are Melanie Martin, a graduate student in anthropology at UCSB, and Hillard Kaplan of the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, and the other co-director of the Tsimane Health and Life History Project. 

The researchers' findings appear in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, October 22, 2013.

August 29, 2013