Lecture 5* - Hello my name is Dan Hruschka and I am an anthropologist at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change here at Arizona State

Lecture 5* - Hello my name is Dan Hruschka and I am an...

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Hello, my name is Dan Hruschka and I am an anthropologist at the School of Human Evolution and Social Change here at Arizona State University. This lesson focuses on one case study, syntocinon misuse in Bangladesh, and how three different perspectives from medical anthropology can be used to understand this problem. The lesson has three primary goals. The first is to introduce you to three approaches to understanding medical issues in medical anthropology. The second goal is to introduce you to the problem of syntocinon use and misuse in Bangladesh. The third goal of t he lesson is to show you how we can apply these three approaches in medical anthropology to understand the problem of syntocinon misuse in Bangladesh. As you’ve read about in the Miller text book, there are three primary theoretical approaches used by medical anthropologists to understand health and illness. The first, ecological or epidemiological approach, asks how does disease arise from a mismatch between the individual and the environment? How does the changing environment affect our health? Or how does the introduction of new technologies into our lives affect our health and wellbeing? The second approach, the interpretivist approach, asks how people perceive the causes and outcomes of poor health and how they go about treating it. This approach focuses on the mental side of human life, how we perceive the world around us, and how culture influences those perceptions. The third approach, critical medical anthropology, takes a larger view of health and asks how do economics, politics, global media, and social inequality influence health at the large scale? How might the healthcare system in our country influence our own health and disease? And how might legal bans on something like smoking change the risks we have in our own society? In this lesson, we’ll focus on a single case study: the use and misuse of a chemical, syntocinon, during and after labor. I’ll briefly outline the case study and then describe how we can describe these three different theoretical approaches or frameworks to understand the problem. Syntocinon is an artificial form of a chemical, oxytocin, that naturally occurs in our bodies. In women, oxytocin plays an important part during child birth, promoting uterine contractions. After delivery of the fetus, oxytocin also plays a role in milk letdown from the mammary glands. And these are functions of oxytocin, not only in humans, but all mammals. Syntocinon is a synthetic form of the chemical oxytocin that is used for various medical procedures around the time of delivery and child birth. Syntocinon has two major functions around the time of child birth. The first function is to induce labor by spurring uterine contractions. The second is to promote uterine contractions after fetal delivery to prevent postpartum hemorrhage.

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