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Concept: Aymara language


The Altiplano region of the South American Andes is marked by an inhospitable climate to which the autochthonous human populations adapted and then developed great ancient civilizations, such as the Tiwanaku culture and the Inca Empire. Since pre-Columbian times, different rulers established themselves around the Titicaca and Poopo Lakes. By the time of the arrival of Spaniards, Aymara and Quechua languages were predominant on the Altiplano under the rule of the Incas, although the occurrence of other spoken languages, such as Puquina and Uruquilla, suggests the existence of different ethnic groups in this region. In this study, we focused on the pre-Columbian history of the autochthonous Altiplano populations, particularly the Uros ethnic group, which claims to directly descend from the first settlers of the Andes, and some linguists suggest they might otherwise be related to Arawak speaking groups from the Amazon. Using phylogeographic, population structure and spatial genetic analyses of Y-chromosome and mtDNA data, we inferred the genetic relationships among Uros populations (Los Uros from Peru, Uru-Chipaya and Uru-Poopo from Bolivia), and compared their haplotype profiles with eight Aymara, nine Quechua and two Arawak (Machiguenga and Yanesha) speaking populations from Peru and Bolivia. Our results indicated that Uros populations stand out among the Altiplano populations, while appearing more closely related to the Aymara and Quechua from Lake Titicaca and surrounding regions than to the Amazon Arawaks. Moreover, the Uros populations from Peru and Bolivia are genetically differentiated from each other, indicating a high heterogeneity in this ethnic group. Finally, our results support the distinctive ancestry for the Uros populations of Peru and Bolivia, which are likely derived from ancient Andean lineages that were partially replaced during more recent farming expansion events and the establishment of complex civilizations in the Andes.

Concepts: South America, Bolivia, Andes, Peru, Inca Empire, Altiplano, Lake Titicaca, Aymara language


This study focuses on the genetic history of the Quechua-Lamistas, inhabitants of the Lamas Province in the San Martin Department, Peru, who speak their own distinct variety of the Quechua family of languages. It has been suggested that different pre-Columbian ethnic groups from the Peruvian Amazonia, like the Motilones or “shaven heads”, assimilated the Quechua language and then formed the current native population of Lamas. However, many Quechua-Lamistas claim to be direct descendants of the Chankas, a famous pre-Columbian indigenous group that escaped from Inca rule in the Andes. To investigate the Quechua-Lamistas and Chankas' ancestries, we compared uniparental genetic profiles (17 STRs of Q-M3 Y-chromosome and mtDNA complete control region haplotypes) among autochthonous Amazonian and Andean populations from Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador. The phylogeographic and population genetic analyses indicate a fairly heterogeneous ancestry for the Quechua-Lamistas, while they are closely related to their neighbours who speak Amazonian languages, presenting no direct relationships with populations from the region where the ancient Chankas lived. On the other hand, the genetic profiles of self-identified Chanka descendants living in Andahuaylas (located in the Apurimac Department, Peru, in the Central Andes) were closely related to those living in Huancavelica and the assumed Chanka Confederation area before the Inca expansion.

Concepts: South America, Bolivia, Andes, Ecuador, Peru, Inca Empire, Quechua, Aymara language


Anxiety and depressive disorders occur in all stages of life and are the most common childhood disorders. However, only recently has attention been paid to mental health problems in indigenous children and studies of anxiety and depressive disorders in these children are still scarce. This study compares the prevalence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in Aymara and non-Aymara children. Among the Aymara children, the study examines the relations between these symptoms and the degree of involvement with Aymara culture.

Concepts: Psychology, Mental disorder, Cultural studies, Major depressive disorder, Aymara language


The long lasting resilience of individuals and communities affected by mass violence has not been given equal prominence as their suffering. This has often led to psychosocial interventions in post-conflict zones being unresponsive to local realities and ill-equipped to foster local strengths. Responding to the renewed interest in resilience in the field of violence and health, this study examines the resilience and post-traumatic responses of Indigenous Quechua women in the aftermath of the political violence in Peru (1980–2000).

Concepts: Spanish language, South America, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Ecuador, Peru, Quechua, Aymara language


The confusingly structured and in many areas corrupt health system in Peru even today provides only a fragmentary and insufficient medical treatment especially for the indigenous population (mainly Quechua Indians). Since October 2007 the Diospi Suyana missionary hospital in Curahuasi (State of Apurímac) has provided an affordable medical treatment at a high level mainly for these indigenous people of Peru; however, so far the hospital could only insufficiently meet the traumatological needs of the region. The establishment of a surgical trauma department aims to meet those needs but is also encumbered by special problems and challenges. Some patients, for example only present at the hospital after the fractures have already incorrectly healed, sometimes many weeks or even months after the trauma either due to a long journey through the country to different hospitals where treatment was not possible or they could not pay for the treatment and sometimes because of inadequate prior treatment, for example by traditional healers. Cultural and infrastructural particularities of the country must be included in the process of choosing the right method of treatment.

Concepts: South America, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Ecuador, Peru, Quechua, Aymara language


Socio-economic and environmental changes are well known causes of demographic collapse of agrarian cultures. The collapse of human societies is a complex phenomenon where historical and cultural dimensions play a key role, and they may interact with the environmental context. However, the importance of the interaction between socio-economic and climatic factors in explaining possible breakdowns in Native American societies has been poorly explored. The aim of this study is to test the role of socio-economic causes and rainfall variability in the collapse suffered by the Aymara people of the semiarid Andean region of Tarapacá during the period 1820-1970. Our motivation is to demonstrate that simple population dynamic models can be helpful in understanding the causes and relative importance of population changes in Andean agro-pastoral societies in responses to socio-environmental variability. Simple logistic models that combine the effects of external socio-economic causes and past rainfall variability (inferred from Gross Domestic Product [GDP] and tree-rings, respectively) were quite accurate in predicting the sustained population decline of the Aymara people. Our results suggest that the depopulation in the semiarid Tarapacá province was caused by the interaction among external socio-economic pressures given by the economic growth of the lowlands and demands for labor coupled with a persistent decline in rainfall. This study constitutes an example of how applied ecological knowledge, in particular the application of the logistic equation and theories pertaining to nonlinear population dynamics and exogenous perturbations, can be used to better understand major demographic changes in human societies.

Concepts: Demography, Population, Population ecology, Sociology, Demographics, Demographic economics, Societal collapse, Aymara language


The diversity of the five single nucleotide polymorphisms located in genes of the TP53 pathway (TP53, rs1042522; MDM2, rs2279744; MDM4, rs1563828; USP7, rs1529916; and LIF, rs929271) were studied in a total of 282 individuals belonging to Quechua, Aymara, Chivay, Cabanaconde, Yanke, Taquile, Amantani, Anapia, Uros, Guarani Ñandeva, and Guarani Kaiowá populations, characterized as Native American or as having a high level (> 90%) of Native American ancestry. In addition, published data pertaining to 100 persons from five other Native American populations (Surui, Karitiana, Maya, Pima, and Piapoco) were analyzed. The populations were classified as living in high altitude (≥ 2,500 m) or in lowlands (< 2,500 m). Our analyses revealed that alleles USP7-G, LIF-T, and MDM2-T showed significant evidence that they were selected for in relation to harsh environmental variables related to high altitudes. Our results show for the first time that alleles of classical TP53 network genes have been evolutionary co-opted for the successful human colonization of the Andes.

Concepts: DNA, Genetics, United States, Native Americans in the United States, South America, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Quechua, Aymara language


The aim of this study is to investigate differences in the beliefs about the causes of schizophrenia between Aymara and non-Aymara patients with schizophrenia and their primary caregivers. Ethnic background plays an important role in the formation of beliefs regarding the causes of schizophrenia, and there have been no prior studies on such beliefs among the Aymara, an indigenous community with a population of about 2 million people living in the Andes. We focused on three systems of beliefs distinguished in the literature: biological, psychosocial and magical-religious.

Concepts: Greek loanwords, Race, Ethnic group, Bolivia, Indigenous peoples, Peru, Quechua, Aymara language


Lampaya medicinalis Phil. (Verbenaceae) is a plant used by Aymara and Quechua ethnic groups from Northern Chile as folk medicine in the treatment and cure of various diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate the in vitro antioxidant activity, total phenols content, total flavonoids content, total antioxidant activity, reducing power, brine shrimp cytotoxicity and identify the principal chemical constituents.

Concepts: Medicine, Disease, Antioxidant, Arthropod, Crustacean, English-language films, Ethnic group, Aymara language