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Science. 2015 Nov 20;350(6263):970-2. doi: 10.1126/science.aac7902.

Helminth infection, fecundity, and age of first pregnancy in women.

Author information

1
Department of Anthropology, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Broom Center for Demography, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. blackwell@anth.ucsb.edu.
2
Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
3
Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.
4
Department of Anthropology, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Broom Center for Demography, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Center for Evolutionary Medicine, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, USA. School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA.
5
Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Department of Anthropology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA. Institute for Advanced Study in Toulouse, Toulouse, France.
6
Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Department of Anthropology, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, USA.
7
Department of Anthropology, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA. Tsimane Health and Life History Project, San Borja, Bolivia. Broom Center for Demography, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.

Abstract

Infection with intestinal helminths results in immunological changes that influence co-infections, and might influence fecundity by inducing immunological states affecting conception and pregnancy. We investigated associations between intestinal helminths and fertility in women, using 9 years of longitudinal data from 986 Bolivian forager-horticulturalists, experiencing natural fertility and 70% helminth prevalence. We found that different species of helminth are associated with contrasting effects on fecundity. Infection with roundworm (Ascaris lumbricoides) is associated with earlier first births and shortened interbirth intervals, whereas infection with hookworm is associated with delayed first pregnancy and extended interbirth intervals. Thus, helminths may have important effects on human fertility that reflect physiological and immunological consequences of infection.

PMID:
26586763
PMCID:
PMC5953513
DOI:
10.1126/science.aac7902
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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