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Human physiological response in
perspective: Focus on the capitalocene
Prof. Dr. Caio Maximino
Program
●
Temperature and physiology
●
Impacts of climate change on human health
●
“Psychoterratic emotions” and the mental health burden of climate
change
●
Neurotoxicology of heavy metals
Some historical curiosities
“Le Métabolisme minimum et le métabolisme basal
de l’homme tropical de race blanche” (1919)
●
Questioned the relationship between basal metabolic rate and body surface
area → Rubner-Richet Law stated that the metabolism of animals with different
weights would be proportional to their body surface areas
– According to Gephart and Dubois (1915, 1916), using the Rubner-Richet Law, humans
should display a basal metabolism of ~39.7 kcal/m²/h, with a variation of 10% considered
normal
– Álvaro Ozorio de Almeida observed that Brazilian individuals (23-40 yo) considered as
normal individuals presented a basal metabolsim of 30.35 kg/m²/h, 24% lower than the
average of American studies.
– Authors concluded that healthy inhabitants of warm climates (tropical countries) have a
much lower basal metabolism than inhabitants of cold or temperate climates because the
former are acclimated to warm environments
How humans adapt to their climates?
●
Behavioral Adaptation – the manipulation or adjustment of clothing, body movement, or objects
in one's immediate surroundings to create a more satisfactory state of heat balance for the body.
Examples include adding or removing clothing, changing posture, opening or closing windows,
adjusting thermostats, using fans, blocking or re-directing air from diffusers, or changing the blinds
to block undesirable solar radiation.
●
Physiological Adaptation – physiological changes in the body's metabolic state at which
thermoregulatory responses occur, include vasodilation, vasoconstriction, shivering and sweating.
●
Perceptual or Cognitive Adaptation – psychological responses may be directly modified by
one's past thermal experiences and the expectation of what conditions may be offered by
environmental control systems.
Boron W, Boulpaep E (2016).
Medical physiology. 3rd
ed. New
York: Elsevier
Hyperthermia and its consequences
●
Bouchama & Knochel (2002): “a rise in body temperature above
the hypothalamic set point when heat-dissipating mechanisms are
impaired (by drugs or disease) or overwhelmed by external
(environmental or induced) or internal (metabolic) heat”
●
Clinically manifested by “sweating, flushing, tachycardia, fatigue,
light-headedness, headache, paraesthesia, muscle cramps,
oliguria, nausea, agitation, hypotension, syncope, confusion,
delirium, seizures, and finally, coma” (Cheshire Jr, 2016)
Hypothermia and its consequences
●
Beker et al. (2018): considered when the body core temperature
decreases below 35 ºC; can be caused by a failure in the
production of heat and/or due to an excess in the loss of it
●
Cheshire Jr (2016): may present with shivering, respiratory
depression, cardiac dysrhythmias, impaired mental function,
mydriasis, hypotension, and muscle dysfunction, which can
progress to cardiac arrest or coma
Indirect impacts: Eco-anxiety and other
psychoterratic emotions
●
Albrecht (2012): Psychoterratic states are those elicited by the relationship with the environment
●
Negative psychoterratic states are the generalized feeling that the ecological foundations of
existence are in a process of collapse
– Solastalgia: Pain or distress caused by the current state of desolation of one’s home territory
– Global dread: Anticipation of an future apocalyptic state of the world that produces a mix of terror and sadness
– Eco-anxiety: Distressing thoughts and emotions related to ecological catastrophe
●
Climate anxiety: a set of negative and challenging emotions experienced due to climate change
and the threats posed by it
– Not a disorder! We should resist the urge of medicalization
Climate anxiety as a psychological construct
●
Psychometric data (Clayton and Karazsia, 2020;
Mouguiama-Daouda et al., 2022) suggest two dimensions,
that can be described as
– Behavioral engagement
– Maladaptive responses
●
Related to the negative operations of power – especially
ideological power
Examples of power operations in climate anxiety
●
Biological/embodied power: physiological impacts of hunger or prolonged droughts, or to
exposure of extreme temperatures
●
Coercive power: police violence against activists; land grabs
●
Juridical power: creations of laws, regulations, and policies to protect vested interests;
property laws; laws related to the protection or destruction of Nature
●
Material/economical power: economical inequalities that lead to decreased capacity to deal
with the impacts of environmental destruction; environmental impacts of developmentalism
and extractivism
Examples of power operations in climate anxiety
●
Interpersonal power: the degree with which concerns and experiences related to
the capitalocene are validated or devalued by others; the degree with which
responses to climate change are put as collective or individual
●
Social capital power: the degree with which concerns by children/youth or by
indigenous people are valued or devalued; disinformation about climate change
●
Ideological power: the idea that the only path to progress involved extractivism
and the destruction of the environment; technological solutionism
Beyond climate change: Neurotoxicology of heavy metals
“What we call xawara, long ago our
ancestors kept this hidden. Omamë kept
the xawara hidden. He kept it hidden and
he didn't want the Yanomami to mess with
it. He would say, "no ! don't touch it!" So he
hid it deep in the earth. He was also
saying, "If this stays on the surface of the
earth, all the Yanomami will start dying for
nothing!" Having said that, he buried it very
deep. But today the nabëbë, the white
people, having discovered our forest, were
seized by a frantic desire to take this
xawara from deep in the earth where
Omamë had kept it. Xawara is also the
name of what we call booshikë, the
substance of metal, which you call ‘ore’".
https://wi.water.usgs.gov/mercury/mercury-cycling.html
Neurotoxicology of MeHg
●
Glutamatergic imbalances (Glu uptake inhibition
in astrocytes); formation of ROS; excitotoxicity
●
Cognitive impairment; elevated anxiety and
aggression; motor impairments
Thank you for your attention!

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Human physiological response in perspective: Focus on the capitalocene

  • 1. Human physiological response in perspective: Focus on the capitalocene Prof. Dr. Caio Maximino
  • 2. Program ● Temperature and physiology ● Impacts of climate change on human health ● “Psychoterratic emotions” and the mental health burden of climate change ● Neurotoxicology of heavy metals
  • 4. “Le Métabolisme minimum et le métabolisme basal de l’homme tropical de race blanche” (1919) ● Questioned the relationship between basal metabolic rate and body surface area → Rubner-Richet Law stated that the metabolism of animals with different weights would be proportional to their body surface areas – According to Gephart and Dubois (1915, 1916), using the Rubner-Richet Law, humans should display a basal metabolism of ~39.7 kcal/m²/h, with a variation of 10% considered normal – Álvaro Ozorio de Almeida observed that Brazilian individuals (23-40 yo) considered as normal individuals presented a basal metabolsim of 30.35 kg/m²/h, 24% lower than the average of American studies. – Authors concluded that healthy inhabitants of warm climates (tropical countries) have a much lower basal metabolism than inhabitants of cold or temperate climates because the former are acclimated to warm environments
  • 5. How humans adapt to their climates? ● Behavioral Adaptation – the manipulation or adjustment of clothing, body movement, or objects in one's immediate surroundings to create a more satisfactory state of heat balance for the body. Examples include adding or removing clothing, changing posture, opening or closing windows, adjusting thermostats, using fans, blocking or re-directing air from diffusers, or changing the blinds to block undesirable solar radiation. ● Physiological Adaptation – physiological changes in the body's metabolic state at which thermoregulatory responses occur, include vasodilation, vasoconstriction, shivering and sweating. ● Perceptual or Cognitive Adaptation – psychological responses may be directly modified by one's past thermal experiences and the expectation of what conditions may be offered by environmental control systems.
  • 6. Boron W, Boulpaep E (2016). Medical physiology. 3rd ed. New York: Elsevier
  • 7. Hyperthermia and its consequences ● Bouchama & Knochel (2002): “a rise in body temperature above the hypothalamic set point when heat-dissipating mechanisms are impaired (by drugs or disease) or overwhelmed by external (environmental or induced) or internal (metabolic) heat” ● Clinically manifested by “sweating, flushing, tachycardia, fatigue, light-headedness, headache, paraesthesia, muscle cramps, oliguria, nausea, agitation, hypotension, syncope, confusion, delirium, seizures, and finally, coma” (Cheshire Jr, 2016)
  • 8. Hypothermia and its consequences ● Beker et al. (2018): considered when the body core temperature decreases below 35 ºC; can be caused by a failure in the production of heat and/or due to an excess in the loss of it ● Cheshire Jr (2016): may present with shivering, respiratory depression, cardiac dysrhythmias, impaired mental function, mydriasis, hypotension, and muscle dysfunction, which can progress to cardiac arrest or coma
  • 9.
  • 10. Indirect impacts: Eco-anxiety and other psychoterratic emotions ● Albrecht (2012): Psychoterratic states are those elicited by the relationship with the environment ● Negative psychoterratic states are the generalized feeling that the ecological foundations of existence are in a process of collapse – Solastalgia: Pain or distress caused by the current state of desolation of one’s home territory – Global dread: Anticipation of an future apocalyptic state of the world that produces a mix of terror and sadness – Eco-anxiety: Distressing thoughts and emotions related to ecological catastrophe ● Climate anxiety: a set of negative and challenging emotions experienced due to climate change and the threats posed by it – Not a disorder! We should resist the urge of medicalization
  • 11. Climate anxiety as a psychological construct ● Psychometric data (Clayton and Karazsia, 2020; Mouguiama-Daouda et al., 2022) suggest two dimensions, that can be described as – Behavioral engagement – Maladaptive responses ● Related to the negative operations of power – especially ideological power
  • 12. Examples of power operations in climate anxiety ● Biological/embodied power: physiological impacts of hunger or prolonged droughts, or to exposure of extreme temperatures ● Coercive power: police violence against activists; land grabs ● Juridical power: creations of laws, regulations, and policies to protect vested interests; property laws; laws related to the protection or destruction of Nature ● Material/economical power: economical inequalities that lead to decreased capacity to deal with the impacts of environmental destruction; environmental impacts of developmentalism and extractivism
  • 13. Examples of power operations in climate anxiety ● Interpersonal power: the degree with which concerns and experiences related to the capitalocene are validated or devalued by others; the degree with which responses to climate change are put as collective or individual ● Social capital power: the degree with which concerns by children/youth or by indigenous people are valued or devalued; disinformation about climate change ● Ideological power: the idea that the only path to progress involved extractivism and the destruction of the environment; technological solutionism
  • 14. Beyond climate change: Neurotoxicology of heavy metals
  • 15. “What we call xawara, long ago our ancestors kept this hidden. Omamë kept the xawara hidden. He kept it hidden and he didn't want the Yanomami to mess with it. He would say, "no ! don't touch it!" So he hid it deep in the earth. He was also saying, "If this stays on the surface of the earth, all the Yanomami will start dying for nothing!" Having said that, he buried it very deep. But today the nabëbë, the white people, having discovered our forest, were seized by a frantic desire to take this xawara from deep in the earth where Omamë had kept it. Xawara is also the name of what we call booshikë, the substance of metal, which you call ‘ore’".
  • 17. Neurotoxicology of MeHg ● Glutamatergic imbalances (Glu uptake inhibition in astrocytes); formation of ROS; excitotoxicity ● Cognitive impairment; elevated anxiety and aggression; motor impairments
  • 18. Thank you for your attention!