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Hist Philos Life Sci ; 43(1): 2, 2021 Jan 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33411065


In this brief essay, we combine biological, historical, philosophical and anthropological perspectives to ask anew the question about the nature of the virus. How should we understand Sars-CoV-2 and why does it matter? The argument we present is that the virus undermines any neat distinction between the natural and the human-made, the biological and the social. Rather, to understand the virus and the pandemic we need to understand both as intimately connected to our own social and historical condition. What started as a reflection on the nature of the virus thus turns into a reflection on the human condition as refracted in this pandemic or an anthropology of the virus.

/epidemiologia , Pandemias , Filosofia
Genome Biol ; 21(1): 138, 2020 06 08.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-32513234


BACKGROUND: Eubacterium rectale is one of the most prevalent human gut bacteria, but its diversity and population genetics are not well understood because large-scale whole-genome investigations of this microbe have not been carried out. RESULTS: Here, we leverage metagenomic assembly followed by a reference-based binning strategy to screen over 6500 gut metagenomes spanning geography and lifestyle and reconstruct over 1300 E. rectale high-quality genomes from metagenomes. We extend previous results of biogeographic stratification, identifying a new subspecies predominantly found in African individuals and showing that closely related non-human primates do not harbor E. rectale. Comparison of pairwise genetic and geographic distances between subspecies suggests that isolation by distance and co-dispersal with human populations might have contributed to shaping the contemporary population structure of E. rectale. We confirm that a relatively recently diverged E. rectale subspecies specific to Europe consistently lacks motility operons and that it is immotile in vitro, probably due to ancestral genetic loss. The same subspecies exhibits expansion of its carbohydrate metabolism gene repertoire including the acquisition of a genomic island strongly enriched in glycosyltransferase genes involved in exopolysaccharide synthesis. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides new insights into the population structure and ecology of E. rectale and shows that shotgun metagenomes can enable population genomics studies of microbiota members at a resolution and scale previously attainable only by extensive isolate sequencing.

Med Anthropol ; 32(2): 126-44, 2013.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-23406064


Based on an ethnographic study conducted in both biomedical and complementary and alternative medicine settings in north Italy, I explore how people and practitioners make sense of allergy and how patients utilize plural healing options. Despite a wide range of medical modalities, people categorize and use medicine according to whether they are 'natural' or 'not-natural,' thus dissolving any potential confusion between diverse therapies. I analyze how the concept of naturalness relates to allergy and medical pluralism. Nature is perceived as opposed to pollution, the first associated with a reassuring and idealized past and the latter to a modernity riddled with uncertainties. Participants associated a diverse set of meanings with nature, permitting them the syncretism of different medical modalities. Medical pluralism in the study area is an uneven platform for discussion and experimentation, the outcome of historical and cultural context and local entanglements of power.

Antropologia Médica , Diversidade Cultural , Hipersensibilidade/etnologia , Hipersensibilidade/psicologia , Terapias Complementares , Feminino , Humanos , Itália , Masculino , Narração
Anthropol Med ; 19(3): 339-50, 2012.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22897612


Increasingly, people employ the term 'allergy' to define various pathological conditions, although the biomedical community lacks a consensus on a definition of the term. It has become a widespread and convenient label for diverse conditions, often going beyond biomedical diagnosis. The aim of this paper is to explore how allergic people narrate their illness experiences, focusing specifically on the relationship between words, senses and bodies. This paper is based on an ethnographic study in a medium-sized north Italian city conducted from 2004 to 2008, starting in a public hospital Allergy Unit, and then developing through snowball recruitment and referral methods. Interviews were conducted with 37 allergic people, four allergologists and four nurses. Allergic people's narratives constantly drew upon two main concepts: weakness and pollution. These are interpreted as sensorial dimensions expressing a conflicting relationship with the outside environment. It is argued that in times of marked individualism and social transformations, bodily states are of fundamental importance and the mobilisation of sensory concepts is an attempt to give order and meaning to a world that is perceived as constituted by threatening aspects, polluted and out of order.

Antropologia Médica , Hipersensibilidade/psicologia , Conhecimentos, Atitudes e Prática em Saúde , Humanos , Narração