ResearchPad - latin-american-people Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Disseminated Histoplasmosis: Fighting a neglected killer of patients with advanced HIV disease in Latin America]]> <![CDATA[Potential risk of Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in Mexico]]>

The recent decline in populations of European salamanders caused by the chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) has generated worldwide concern, as it is a major threat to amphibians. Evaluation of the areas most suitable for the establishment of Bsal combined with analysis of the distribution of salamander species could be used to generate and implement biosecurity measures and protect biodiversity at sites with high salamander diversity. In this study, we identified the areas most suitable for the establishment of Bsal in Mexico. Mexico has the second-highest salamander species diversity in the world; thus, we identified areas moderately to highly suitable for the establishment of Bsal with high salamander diversity as potential hotspots for surveillance. Central and Southern Mexico were identified as high-risk zones, with 13 hotspots where 30% of Mexican salamander species occur, including range-restricted species and endangered species. We propose that these hotspots should be thoroughly monitored for the presence of Bsal to prevent the spread of the pathogen if it is introduced to the country.

<![CDATA[Genetic variation and phylogeography of the Triatoma dimidiata complex evidence a potential center of origin and recent divergence of haplogroups having differential Trypanosoma cruzi and DTU infections]]>

The population genetics of Triatoma dimidiata haplogroups was analyzed at landscape and sub-regional scales in Chiapas and regional level across the Mexican Neotropics, and phylogeography of the complex was re-analyzed across its complete geographic range. Two contiguous fragments of the ND4 gene were analyzed due to bias from differential haplogroup specificity using a previously designed sequence. At both landscape (anthropic modification gradient) and regional (demographic, fragmentation, biogeographic, climate) scales, lowest T. dimidiata genetic diversity occurs where there is greatest historical anthropic modification, and where T. cruzi infection prevalence is significantly highest. Trypanosoma cruzi prevalence was significantly higher than expected in haplogroups 1 and 3, while lower than expected in haplogroup 2. There was also a significant difference of DTUI and DTUVI infection frequencies in both haplogroups 1 and 3, while no difference of either in haplogroup 2. All haplogroups from the Mexican Neotropics had moderate to high haplotype diversity, while greatest genetic differentiation was between haplogroups 1 and 3 (above FST = 0.868, p < 0.0001). Divergence of the complex from the MRCA was estimated between 0.97 MYA (95% HPD interval = 0.55–1.53 MYA) and 0.85 MYA (95% HPD interval = 0.42–1.5 MYA) for ND4A and both concatenated fragments, respectively, with primary divergence from the MRCA of haplogroups 2 and 3. Effective population size for Mexican haplogroups 1 and 2 increased between 0.02 and 0.03 MYA. This study supports previous ecological niche evidence for the complex´s origin surrounding the Tehuantepec Isthmus, and provides evidence for recent divergence of three primary dimidiata haplogroups, with differential T. cruzi infection frequency and DTU specificity, important components of vector capacity.

<![CDATA[Quality of family planning services in Mexico: The perspective of demand]]>


Family planning (FP) is one of the key services provided by health care systems. Extending beyond matters of sexual and reproductive health, its area of influence impacts directly on the development of individuals and nations. After 60 years of intense FP activities in Mexico, and in light of recent restructuring of health service supply and financing, services need to be assessed from a user perspective.


Based on a comprehensive conceptual framework, this article assesses the quality of the FP services provided by the Mexican Ministry of Health (MoH). Analysis considers not only accessibility and availability but also the users’ perceptions of the care process, particularly as regards the interpersonal relations they experience with staff and the type of information they are provided.

Material and methods

This study used a descriptive, qualitative design based on maximum variation sampling in six Mexican states. It included visits to 12 clinics in urban and rural areas. Thematic analysis was performed on 86 semi-structured interviews administered to FP service users.


While access was described by users as “easy,” their experiences revealed normalized barriers. One of our key findings referred to inverse availability, meaning that the contraceptive methods available were generally not the ones preferred by users, with their selection therefore being shaped by shortage of supplies. Challenges included disrespect for the free choice of FP users and coercion during consultations for contraception post obstetric event. Finally, information provided to users left considerable room for improvement.


After six decades of FP service supply, results indicate a series of quality issues that may lie at the heart of the unmet demand reported in the literature. Based on a comprehensive conceptual scheme, the present study analyzes the quality of services, highlighting areas for improvement that should be considered by the MoH in future efforts.

<![CDATA[A pilot randomized trial examining the feasibility and acceptability of a culturally tailored and adherence-enhancing intervention for Latino smokers in the U.S.]]>

Latino smokers in the United States (US) are known to experience smoking cessation treatment disparities due to their under-utilization of services, limited access to health care, and poor smoking cessation treatment outcomes. A limited number of studies have focused on developing and testing smoking cessation treatments for Latino smokers in the US. The objectives of this study were to conduct a feasibility pilot randomized trial testing three smoking cessation interventions for Latinos. Twenty-five adult Latino smokers were randomized to one of three groups: Culturally-Tailored Smoking Cessation plus Adherence Enhancement (CT+AE), Culturally-Tailored Smoking Cessation (CTSC), and a Health Education (HE) control group. All participants received three counseling sessions along with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Data relating to intervention acceptability and NRT adherence were collected. Self-reported 7-day point prevalence smoking was collected at 3 and 6 month follow-up and biochemically verified with expired carbon monoxide testing. Overall, the interventions demonstrated high levels of feasibility and acceptability. Days of nicotine patch use were found to be higher in the CT+AE group (mean (M) = 81.3;standard deviation (SD) = 3.32) than the CTSC (M = 68.6;SD = 13.66) and HE (M = 64;SD = 17.70) groups. At 3-month follow-up, approximately 50% of the CT+AE group were smoking abstinent, 25% of the CTSC group, and 44% of the HE group. At 6-month follow-up, 37.5% of the CT+AE group were abstinent, 25% of the CTSC group, and 44.4% of the HE group. This study is the first to target Latino smokers in the US with a culturally-tailored intervention that addresses treatment adherence. Results support the preliminary feasibility and acceptability of the CT+AE intervention.

Trial Registration: NCT02596711.

<![CDATA[On the prevalence of racial discrimination in the United States]]>

Boutwell, Nedelec, Winegard, Shackelford, Beaver, Vaughn, Barnes, & Wright (2017) published an article in this journal that interprets data from the Add Health dataset as showing that only one-quarter of individuals in the United States experience discrimination. In Study 1, we attempted to replicate Boutwell et al.’s findings using a more direct measure of discrimination. Using data from the Pew Research Center, we examined a large sample of American respondents (N = 3,716) and explored the prevalence of discrimination experiences among various racial groups. Our findings stand in contrast to Boutwell et al.’s estimates, revealing that between 50% and 75% of Black, Hispanic, and Asian respondents (depending on the group and analytic approach) reported discriminatory treatment. In Study 2, we explored whether question framing affected how participants responded to Boutwell’s question about experiencing less respect and courtesy. Regardless of question framing, non-White participants reported more experiences than White participants. Further, there was an interaction of participant race and question framing such that when participants were asked about experiences of less respect or courtesy broadly, there were no differences between non-White participants and White participants, but when they were asked about experiences that were specifically race-based, non-White participants reported more experiences than White participants. The current research provides a counterweight to the claim that discrimination is not a prevalent feature of the lives of minority groups and the serious implications this claim poses for research and public policy.

<![CDATA[Out-of-pocket expenditures and care time for children with Down Syndrome: A single-hospital study in Mexico City]]>


To examine the burden of out-of-pocket household expenditures and time spent on care by families responsible for children with Down Syndrome (DS).


A cross-sectional analysis was performed after surveying families of children with DS. The children all received medical care at the Hospital Infantil de México Federico Gomez (HIMFG), a National Institute of Health. Data were collected on out-of-pocket household expenditures for the medical care of these children. The percentage of such expenditure was calculated in relation to available household expenditure (after subtracting the cost of food/housing), and the percentage of households with catastrophic expenditure. Finally, the time spent on the care of the child was assessed.


The socioeconomic analysis showed that 67% of the households with children with DS who received medical care in the HIMFG were within the lower four deciles (I-IV) of expenses, indicating a limited ability to pay for medical services. Yearly out-of-pocket expenditures for a child with DS represented 27% of the available household expenditure, which is equivalent to $464 for the United States dollars (USD). On average, 33% of families with DS children had catastrophic expenses, and 46% of the families had to borrow money to pay for medical expenses. The percentage of catastrophic expenditure was greater for a household with children aged five or older compared with households with younger children. The regression analysis revealed that the age of the child is the most significant factor determining the time spent on care.


Some Mexican families of children with DS incur substantial out-of-pocket expenditures, which constitute an economic burden for families of children who received medical care at the HIMFG.

<![CDATA[Evaluating the bio-economic performance of a Callo de hacha (Atrina maura, Atrina tuberculosa & Pinna rugosa) fishery restoration plan in La Paz, Mexico]]>

Small-scale fisheries are large contributors to regional economies and livelihoods in coastal communities of Latin America. While Mexico is one of the cases where small-scale fisheries play an important role, overfishing and poor management strategies have led to the collapse of many of its fisheries. The callo de hacha scallop fishery of the Ensenada de La Paz in Baja California Sur is an example of such a fishery which, after years of mismanagement, was closed by the Mexican authorities in 2009. The present study evaluated the recovery efforts in the cove and the potential outcomes of a collaboration between a non-governmental organization and a fishing community working towards the restoration of this pen-shell fishery. After more than four years of closure and active monitoring of the recovering process, the callo de hacha population has shown a significant population recovery, with potential solvency for reopening fishing activities. Four scenarios of uncertainty are evaluated with two of them providing positive net present values from reopening the fishery. We also document the involvement of a non-governmental organization with a fishing community, which created social capital and, in our opinion, was essential for a successful restoration. Having an actively involved community helped raise funds for the fishing closure so fishers were able to comply with Mexican legislation; it also fostered community building and self-organization that will be crucial to maintaining the sustainability of the fishery.

<![CDATA[Commentary on “The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States: Estimates based on demographic modeling with data from 1990-2016”]]>

“The number of undocumented immigrants in the United States: Estimates based on demographic modeling with data from 1990–2016” by Fazel-Zarandi, Feinstein and Kaplan presents strikingly higher estimates of the unauthorized immigrant population than established estimates using the residual method. Fazel-Zarandi et. al.’s estimates range from a low or “conservative” number of 16.7 million unauthorized immigrants, to an “average” of 22.1 million, and to a high of 27.5 million. The Pew Hispanic Center estimated the population at 11.3 million in 2016, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimated it at 12.3 million. The new method shows much more rapid growth in unauthorized immigration during the 1990s and a substantially higher population in 2000 (13.3 million according to their “conservative” model) than Pew (8.6 million) and DHS (8.5 million). In this commentary, we explain that such an estimate for 2000 is implausible, as it suggests that the 2000 Census undercounted the unauthorized immigrant population by at least 42% in the 2000 Census, and it is misaligned with other demographic data. Fazel-Zarandi, Feinstein and Kaplan’s model produces estimates that have a 10 million-person range in 2016, far too wide to be useful for public policy purposes; their estimates are not benchmarked against any external data sources; and their model appears to be driven by assumptions about return migration of unauthorized immigrants during the 1990s. Using emigration rates from the binational Mexican Migration Project survey for the illegal border-crosser portion of the unauthorized population, we generate a 2000 unauthorized population estimate of 8.2 million—slightly below Pew and DHS’s estimates—without changing other assumptions in the model. We conclude that this new model’s estimates are highly sensitive to assumptions about emigration, and moreover, that the knowledge base about emigration in the unauthorized population during the 1990s is not well enough developed to support the model underlying their estimates.

<![CDATA[Circulating mitochondrial DNA: New indices of type 2 diabetes-related cognitive impairment in Mexican Americans]]>

Mitochondrial function has been implicated and studied in numerous complex age-related diseases. Understanding the potential role of mitochondria in disease pathophysiology is of importance due to the rise in prevalence of complex age-related diseases, such as type 2 diabetes (T2D) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). These two diseases specifically share common pathophysiological characteristics which potentially point to a common root cause or factors for disease exacerbation. Studying the shared phenomena in Mexican Americans is of particular importance due to the disproportionate prevalence of both T2D and AD in this population. Here, we assessed the potential role of mitochondria in T2D and cognitive impairment (CI) in a Mexican American cohort by analyzing blood-based indices of mitochondrial DNA copy number (mtDNACN) and cell-free mitochondrial DNA (CFmtDNA). These mitochondrial metrics were also analyzed for correlation with relevant neuropsychological variables and physiological data collected as indicators of disease and/or disease progression. We found mtDNACN to be significantly decreased in individuals with CI, while CFmtDNA was significantly elevated in T2D; further, CFmtDNA elevation was significantly exacerbated in individuals with both diseases. MtDNACN was found to negatively correlate with age and fatty acid binding protein concentration, while positively correlating with CFmtDNA as well as CERAD total recall score. Candidate gene SNP-set analysis was performed on genes previously implicated in maintenance and control of mitochondrial dynamics to determine if nuclear variants may account for variability in mtDNACN. The results point to a single significant locus, in the LRRK2/MUC19 region, encoding leucine rich repeat kinase 2 and mucin 19. This locus has been previously implicated in Parkinson’s disease, among others; rs7302859 was the driver SNP. These combined findings further indicate that mitochondrial dysfunction (as assessed by proxy via mtDNACN) is intimately linked to both T2D and CI phenotypes as well as aging.