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References: Orang Asli bibliography 2001 (38): Health Nei to Polunin

Updated: Aug 28, 2023

From: Lye Tuck-Po, ed. 2001. Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia: A Comprehensive and Annotated Bibliography, CSEAS Research Report Series No. 88. Kyoto: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, Kyoto University.References 1204–1251

Health, biomedicine, genetics

Unless otherwise noted, all commentaries in this section are by Adela Baer. For more detailed notation on particular studies and findings, see #Baer #85.

1021. NEI, M. 1982. “Evolution of human races at the gene level”. Pp. 167–181 in Human genetics, part A: The unfolding genome. Ed. B. Bonne-Tamir and Alan Liss. New York — on Semang and Aboriginal Malays; recent work has superseded this report.
1022. NEVIN, H. 1937. Annual report of the Institute of Medical Research, Federated Malay States, for the year 1937. Institute of Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur — this seminal health survey of the Semai revealed that 85 per cent of those aged less than ten, but only six per cent of adults, had malaria parasitemia. Following two years of anti-malarial treatment, only five per cent of all ages had parasitemia. Over ten per cent (all age groups) had filarial infections and 74 per cent had intestinal worms.
1023. NORAZAH, A., et al. 1995. Streptococcal impetigo among aboriginal children in Malaysia. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 26(4): 803–804.
1024. NORHAYATI, M., et al. 1995. Hookworm infection and reinfection following treatment among Orang Asli children. Med. J. Mal. 50(4): 314–319 — on Temuan, with a sample size of 193. 31 per cent had hookworm infections; following four months of treatment, this percentage went down to eight. However, reinfection rates were high, thus suggesting a need for more concerted action by health personnel.
1025. ——. 1997. Efficacy of single dose albendazole on the prevalence and intensity of infection of soil-transmitted helminths in Orang Asli children in Malaysia. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 28(3): 563–569.
1026. ——. 1997. The prevalence of trichuris, ascaris and hookworm infection in Orang Asli children. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 28(1): 161–168 — on Temuan of Dengkil District.
1027. ——. 1998. Health status of Orang Asli (aborigine) community in Pos Piah, Sungai Siput, Perak, Malaysia. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health29(1): 58–61 — on Temiar children, showing 38 per cent (all age groups) had signs of vitamin A deficiency and 19 per cent had dental caries. Notes existence of some unspecified health services. For further commentary, see notes for #1036.
1028. NORMAZNAH, Y., et al. 1996. Seroprevalence of Sarcoptes scabiei var. canis antibodies among aborigines in Peninsular Malaysia. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 27(1): 53–56 — study done in Gombak Hospital.
1029. ONG, H. C. 1973. Hematological values in pregnancy in Orang Asli (aboriginal) women. Med. J. Mal. 27: 240–242 — 278 pregnant Orang Asli women were tested at Gombak hospital. 26 per cent of these were anaemic. A rare paper on an understudied condition in Orang Asli women.
1030. ——. 1973. Vaginal candidiasis and trichmoniasis in pregnancy. Asian Journal of Medicine 9: 93–95 — study done in Gombak Hospital; did not include serious reportable venereal diseases.
1031. ——. 1974. Anaemia in pregnancy in an aboriginal population. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77: 22–26 — study done in Gombak Hospital.
1032. ——. 1974. Hemoglobin E variants and pregnancy in Malaysian aborigines. Acta Haematologica 52(4): 220–222 — this study on 126 pregnant women at Gombak Hospital found that 48 per cent of Hb E women were anaemic. No statistical tests were given and other genetic factors were not assessed. A rigorous experimental design would have been useful.
1033. ——. 1974. Obstetrical data in Malaysian aborigine women. Tropical Geographical Medicine 26: 384–388 — includes attention to nutrition, anaemia and sexually transmitted diseases. Some data provided on low birth weight, but their representativity is questionable. Study done in Gombak Hospital; p. 385 has a map of medical posts and emergency evacuation posts for Orang Asli.
1034. ——. 1975. Maternal and fetal outcome associated with hemoglobin E trait and hemoglobin E disease. Obstetrics and Gynecology 45(6): 672–674.
1035. ——. 1975. Migration in Malaysian aborigines: Clinical observations in pregnancy. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 6(3): 407–412 — despite the title, this report is not on migration but, rather, compares remote vs. near-urban Orang Asli.
1036. ONG H[ean] T[ee]. 1975. Medical services for the Orang Asli (aborigines) of West Malaysia. Med. J. Mal. 30: 30–37 — includes information on the Emergency-era origins of government medical provisions for Orang Asli and the founding of Gombak Hospital. [LTP]
1037. ——. 1976. Total health care for the Orang Asli (aborigines) of Malaysia. Jabatan Hal Ehwal Orang Asli, Kuala Lumpur — with the benefit of hindsight, we might reevalutate the optimism of this report.
1038. ONYAH b. Itam [=Unyah b. Itam]. 1967. Filariasis among Malayan aborigines examined at the Gombak Hospital during the period 1961–1966. Med. J. Mal. 21: 384–385 — reports an average of 11 per cent filariasis among Orang Asli groups, with a sample size of 1964. This is probably the first biomedical report published by an Orang Asli.
1039. OOI, W. L. 1979. Red cell polymorphisms and malaria in Malaysia. M.Pub.Health thesis, Yale University, New Haven, CT — small survey on Duffy blood group and hemoglobin E in a combination of Orang Asli and others, with inconclusive results. See #1158 for correction about the “finding” of Duffy-negative phenotypes.
1040. OSMAN Ali. 1992. The relationship between malnutrition and endocrine disorders among Malays and aborigines in Malaysia. Ph.D. thesis, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Bangi, Selangor.
1041. ——. 1995. Iodine deficiency disorders: A public health challenge in developing countries. Nutrition 11 (suppl. 5): 517–520 — review.
1042. OSMAN Ali, and ZALEHA Mohd. Isa. 1995. Nutritional status of women and children in Malaysian rural populations. A-P J. Clin. Nutr. 4(3): 319–324 — on Semai of Betau and Lanai. Highlight the need for official action to improve Orang Asli women’s health. Among their findings for a sample size of 343 were: malnourishment uncovered in 80 per cent of two to six-year-olds and 35 per cent of women over the age of 17. High rates, especially in Betau, were found for protozoan infections, roundworms, threadworms, and so on. Goiter generally increased with age, with a 2-to–1 bias towards goiter in females. Cassava and millet mentioned as local goitrogens.
1043. OSMAN Ali, et al. 1991. A socioeconomic, social behavior, and dietary pattern among Malaysian aborigines and rural native Malays. Med. J. Mal. 46: 221–229 — on Temuan of Pangsoon. [with ZARINA Shamsuddin, and B. A. K. KHALID]
1044. ——. 1992. Protein energy malnutrition, thyroid hormones and goiter among Malaysian aborigines and Malays. A-P J. Clin. Nutr. 1: 13–20 — on Temuan of Pangsoon.
1045. ——. 1993. Iodine content in drinking water not an important detriment of endemic goiter. A-P J. Clin. Nutr. 2: 115–118 — on Semai of Lanai and Betau and Temuan of Bkt. Lanjan. [with KHALIDA Muda, and B. A. K. KHALID].
1046. ——. 1993. Prevalence of NIDDM and impaired glucose tolerance in aborigines and Malays in Malaysia and their relationship to sociodemographic, health, and nutritional factors. Diabetes Care 16(1): 68–75 — on Temuan (Bkt. Lanjan) and Semai (Betau and Lanai). Only one of the 321 testees had diabetes.
1047. ——. 1993. Promoting community participation in determining prevalence of malnutrition, goitre, and diabetes mellitus: Malaysia’s experience. Jurnal Perubatan UKM (Malaysia) 15(2): 105–115 — on Semai of Betau and Lanai and Temuan of Bkt. Lanjan. Chronic malnutrition indicated by the finding that 72 per cent of all two- to six-year-olds studied were stunted. Of the 675 persons aged over two years, 37.8 per cent were goiterous. Community participation was attempted for non-Orang Asli but not for Orang Asli.
1048. ——. 1993. Serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in malnutrition: Preliminary results. Singapore Medical Journal 34: 225–228 — on Temuan of Pangsoon; the sample size was 26 children.
1049. ——. 1993. The effect of cassava leaf uptake on thyroid hormone and urinary iodine. East African Medical Journal 70: 314–315 — experimentally, Orang Asli showed a decrease in thyroid function after 12 days of a diet rich in cassava leaves.
1050. ——. 1994. Iodine content in urine samples among Malays and aborigines. Acta Medicine Okayama 48(6): 289–292 — on Lanai and Pos Buntu.
1051. ——. 1994. Thyroid function and pubertal development in malnutrition. Annals of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore 23(6): 852–855 — 207 Orang Asli were studied, but the location was not identified. Poor nutrition was found to affect thyroid function, including goiter formation, as well as growth hormone levels in children. Article published under the name O. Ali et al.
1052. ——. 1995. Endemic goiter and hypothroidism in Orang Asli and Malays in Peninsular Malaysia. Medical Journal of the Islamic Republic of Iran 9(1): 19–25 — on Semai (of Betau and Lanai) and Temuan (of Bkt. Lanjan).
1053. ——. 1995. The prevalence of goiter in remote inland versus coastal areas. Med. J. Mal. 50(3): 256–262 — despite the fact that drinking water in the Kedah area had “surprisingly high” iodine levels, 30 per cent of Lubuk Legong people (Kensiu and Kintaq) had goiters, compared to sixper cent for Mah Meri of Carey Isl.
1054. ——. 1996. Blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin in Malays and aborigines in Malaysia. Med. J. Mal. 51(2): 179–187 — on Semai (of Betau and Lanai) and Temuan (of Bkt. Lanjan).
1055. ——. 1996. Levels of thyroxine, TSH, thyroid volume, and mental performance among Orang Asli in selected settlements in Malaysia. East African Medical Journal 73(4): 259–263 — mental performance was statistically the same in all locations.
1056. PARBA, E., et al. 1999. Analysis of five Y-specific microsatellite loci in Asian and Pacific populations. Am. J. Phys. Anthro. 110: 1–16 — an important finding. Unlike one earlier paper on Semai DNA, this one shows as much (or more) genetic diversity within the Semai group as within some larger groups, such as Cambodians and Malays.
1057. ——. 1999. Genetic variation at nine autosomal microsattelite loci in Asian and Pacific populations. Human Biology 71(5): 757–779 — Semai were found to be most unlike the other Asian study populations.
1058. PETRAKIS, N., et al. 1971. Evidence for a genetic cline in earwax types in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Am. J. Phys. Anthro. 35: 141–144 — reports seven per cent of Orang Asli had dry ear wax; see also #1044.
1059. PILLAY, M. R., H. FRANK, and J. PONNAMPALAM. 1981. Malaria antibody titres as measured by the indirect fluorescent antibody test in relation to parasitemia and treatment. SEA J. Trop. Med. Publ. Health 12(1): 111–113 — studied 39 Orang Asli malaria patients from “deep jungle”.
1060. POLUNIN, Ivan. 1951. Endemic goitre in Malaya. Med. J. Mal. 5: 302–319 — studied Semai, Temiar, Lanoh, Temuan (of U. Lui, U. Langat, and U. Berenang), and Orang Seletar (of Johor). Most of those affected were adults; 53 per cent of 45 female and 14 per cent of 63 male Temuan (all age groups) had enlarged thyroids (i.e., goiters). The frequency was higher for inland, highland peoples and least for the coastal Orang Seletar.
1061. ——. 1951. Observations on the distribution of filariasis in the interior of the Malay Peninsula. Med. J. Mal. 5: 320–327 — on Semai (U. Jelai, resettled at Bkt. Bentong in 1949), Lanoh (Kg. U. Kendrong), Temuan (U. Langat, U. Berenang), Jakun (Lenek). Nine of 2200 Semai had elephantiasis; Lanoh were another filariasis focus (66 per cent microfilaremia); two of 70 U. Berenang Temuan had elephantiasis; 100 U. Langat Temuan had no elephantiasis and 18 tested had no microfilariae; 18 per cent of Jakun had microfilaremia. The foci were mainly in the high-altitude hills.
1062. ——. 1952. Anthropological problems encountered during a disease survey of Malaysian aborigines. Man [=JRAI] 52: 70–71 — preliminary report of work presented fully in #737.
1063. ——. 1952. Epidemiology of hypertension. British Medical Journal 1: 1190–1191 — 62 Semai men were not hypertensive.
1064. ——. 1952. Tinea imbricata in Malaya. British Journal of Dermatology 64: 378–384 — on Semai, Lanoh, Orang Seletar.
1065. ——. 1967. “Health and disease in contemporary primitive societies”. Pp. 69–97 in Diseases in antiquity. Ed. D. Brothwell and A. Sandison. Springfield, IL: Thomas — review, based in part on Polunin’s work with Malaysian peoples (Jah Het, Semai, and Lanoh).
1066. ——. 1971. Goiter control: West and East Malaysia. Assignment Report, Malaysia, no. 5602-E (0081). Regional Office of the Western Pacific, World Health Organization.
1067. ——. 1977. Some characteristics of tribal peoples. Ciba Foundation Symposium 49: 5–20 — generally on health, with some basic ethnographic introductions (to Lanoh of Up. Perak, Semai of Pahang, and Jah Het of Pahang). Remarks, “It is interesting that three out of the 13 species of animal helminths in man reported in West Malaysia by Sandosham and Mohd. Noordin [#1272] have been found in the little studied and numerically insignificant Aborigines only” (p. 15).
1251. POLUNIN, Ivan, and P. SNEATH. 1953. Studies of blood groups in South-East Asia. JRAI 83: 215–251 — summarize data collected by themselves and others in various locations, including information from Green #1114, Noone #698, and Schebesta #838. Approximate locations of the groups are shown in Maps II and III in the article. On their fieldnotes and blood protocols, see #1652.

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