The Halifax Explosion provided the opportunity for an "experiment in public health" that was meant not only to restore but also to improve the city and its population in the process. The restructuring that occurred during the restoration was influenced by pre-existing ideals and prejudices which were reflected in the goals of the newly formed committees in charge of the reconstruction. The primary emphasis on improvement as well as control was the result of existing regional concerns regarding the emigration of the province's most "desirable" stock, in the form of healthy, educated young men and women, to central Canada and the eastern United States. Public health reforms reflected the eugenic goal of improving the overall quality of the population through education, surveillance, and inspection, resorting finally to institutionalizing people who public health officials determined were genuinely deficient.
Despite the growth in knowledge about the effects of a warming Arctic on its cold-adapted species, the mechanisms by which these changes affect animal populations remain poorly understood. Increasing temperatures, declining sea ice and altered wind and precipitation patterns all may affect the fitness and abundance of species through multiple direct and indirect pathways. Here we demonstrate previously unknown effects of rain-on-snow (ROS) events, winter precipitation, and ice tidal surges on the Arctic's largest land mammal. Using novel field data across seven years and three Alaskan and Russian sites, we show arrested skeletal growth in juvenile muskoxen resulting from unusually dry winter conditions and gestational ROS events, with the inhibitory effects on growth from ROS events lasting up to three years post-partum. Further, we describe the simultaneous entombment of 52 muskoxen in ice during a Chukchi Sea winter tsunami (ivuniq in Iñupiat), and link rapid freezing to entrapment of Arctic whales and otters. Our results illustrate how once unusual, but increasingly frequent Arctic weather events affect some cold-adapted mammals, and suggest that an understanding of species responses to a changing Arctic can be enhanced by coalescing groundwork, rare events, and insights from local people.
Norse Greenland has been seen as a classic case of maladaptation by an inflexible temperate zone society extending into the arctic and collapse driven by climate change. This paper, however, recognizes the successful arctic adaptation achieved in Norse Greenland and argues that, although climate change had impacts, the end of Norse settlement can only be truly understood as a complex socioenvironmental system that includes local and interregional interactions operating at different geographic and temporal scales and recognizes the cultural limits to adaptation of traditional ecological knowledge. This paper is not focused on a single discovery and its implications, an approach that can encourage monocausal and environmentally deterministic emphasis to explanation, but it is the product of sustained international interdisciplinary investigations in Greenland and the rest of the North Atlantic. It is based on data acquisitions, reinterpretation of established knowledge, and a somewhat different philosophical approach to the question of collapse. We argue that the Norse Greenlanders created a flexible and successful subsistence system that responded effectively to major environmental challenges but probably fell victim to a combination of conjunctures of large-scale historic processes and vulnerabilities created by their successful prior response to climate change. Their failure was an inability to anticipate an unknowable future, an inability to broaden their traditional ecological knowledge base, and a case of being too specialized, too small, and too isolated to be able to capitalize on and compete in the new protoworld system extending into the North Atlantic in the early 15th century.
Cites: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Mar 23;107(12):5306-1020212157
Scholars have projected a dismal image of nineteenth-century, rural Russia as a society repeatedly punctuated by crop failures, famine, starvation, and epidemics of famine-related diseases. But there has been no rigorous attempt, using appropriate methods, to assess the nature of demographic crises in Russia and their contribution to overall mortality and population growth. The pattern of mortality evident in the parish under examination is distinguished by an extremely high incidence of infant, diarrhoeal diseases and childhood, infectious diseases. This unfavourable disease environment and resulting high rates of infant and early childhood mortality were more closely related to fertility levels, household size, housing conditions, and weaning practices than to annual or seasonal food availablity and the nutritional status of the population. In a disease-driven society, the susceptibility to infection and the force of infection can, to a considerable extent, be determined by demographic factors, familial norms, and climatic constraints.
The data on leptospirosis morbidity in the Krasnodar Territory, one of the most epidemiologically unsafe areas in this infectious disease in the Russian Federation, are presented. High morbidity registered in this territory greatly depends on the epidemic outbreaks appearing due to defects in the realization of a complex of sanitary and veterinary measures. The Krasnodar Territory is liable to be affected by natural calamities. In 1997 a severe outbreak of leptospirosis took place here in connection with the high flood. Due to timely prophylactic measures the epidemiological consequencies of the similar calamity occurring in 2002 were brought to a minimum.
The work of Dr William E. Ladd after a devastating explosion in Halifax in 1917 has been credited with his decision to devote his subsequent career to the betterment of surgical care for children. He has been recognized as the "father of pediatric surgery" in North America. The authors present a written refutation of this causal association by Dr Ladd.
Hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Ocean has increased significantly since 1995 (refs 1, 2). This trend has been attributed to both anthropogenically induced climate change and natural variability, but the primary cause remains uncertain. Changes in the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the past can provide insights into the factors that influence hurricane activity, but reliable observations of hurricane activity in the North Atlantic only cover the past few decades. Here we construct a record of the frequency of major Atlantic hurricanes over the past 270 years using proxy records of vertical wind shear and sea surface temperature (the main controls on the formation of major hurricanes in this region) from corals and a marine sediment core. The record indicates that the average frequency of major hurricanes decreased gradually from the 1760s until the early 1990s, reaching anomalously low values during the 1970s and 1980s. Furthermore, the phase of enhanced hurricane activity since 1995 is not unusual compared to other periods of high hurricane activity in the record and thus appears to represent a recovery to normal hurricane activity, rather than a direct response to increasing sea surface temperature. Comparison of the record with a reconstruction of vertical wind shear indicates that variability in this parameter primarily controlled the frequency of major hurricanes in the Atlantic over the past 270 years, suggesting that changes in the magnitude of vertical wind shear will have a significant influence on future hurricane activity.
Comment In: Nature. 2007 Jun 7;447(7145):647-917554294
Comment In: Nature. 2008 Feb 21;451(7181):E5; discussion E618288135
The native population collapse in 16th century Mexico was a demographic catastrophe with one of the highest death rates in history. Recently developed tree-ring evidence has allowed the levels of precipitation to be reconstructed for north central Mexico, adding to the growing body of epidemiologic evidence and indicating that the 1545 and 1576 epidemics of cocoliztli (Nahuatl for "pest") were indigenous hemorrhagic fevers transmitted by rodent hosts and aggravated by extreme drought conditions.
The article presents an observe of such parts of military medicine as intensive aid and operative treatment on the place of case, contestation against infectious diseases, preservation of psychic health, medical and social rehabilitation. Were lighted successful activity of military physicians during liquidation of Chernobyl accident (1986), earthquakes in Armenia (1988), railway accident in Bashkiria (1989) and other accidents. Experience of military medicine (particularly using medical units of special purposes) was used in proving of conception of medicine of accidents, and in organization of medical supply of troops in armed conflicts of restricted scale--in effectuating of antiterrorist operations in Northern Caucasus (1994-1996, 1999-2002), in effectuating of peacemaking operation in Kosovo (1999-2003), natural disasters.