Objetives: The purpose of the present article was to evaluate how shamans and the suburban communities of Quito interpret the terminology used in genetics. Methods: One hundred people living in 5 suburban districts of Quito were surveyed as well as 19 shamans of the Salasaca community. Results: The results show that members of both groups are little informed about genetics. As knowledge about genetics is correlated to educational level, which is very poor in both groups, knowledge and understanding of genetics are either very basic or nonexistent. As for the medical practices in treating genetic alterations, the surveys show that while in very severe cases scientific medicine is sought, in most cases explanations and a cure are given by shamanic medicine. Conclusion: There is limited knowledge of genetics and its terminology in the study population. Shamanic and marginal health practices seem to remain prevalent in these communities due to their low costs, the personal attention the individuals receive, and the holistic point of view employed. It is important that the community councils, the medical doctors and the shamans work together to set up community programs on medical education, particularly on genetics.

1.
Confederación de Nacionalidades Indígenas del Ecuador (CONAIE): Las nacionalidades indígenas en el Ecuador: Nuestro proceso organizativo, ed 2. Quito, Abya-Yala, 1989, p 284.
2.
Bittles AH, Savithri HS, Appaji Rao N: Community genetics in developing countries. Community Genet 2002;5:151–152.
3.
Estrella E: Medicina y estructura socio-económica. Quito, Belén, 1980.
4.
Estrella E: Biodiversidad en el Ecuador. Historia o realidad. Quito, Tallpa, 1983.
5.
Scully JL: What is a disease? EMBO Rep 2004;5:650–653.
6.
Estrella E: Medicina aborigen. Quito, Época, 1973.
7.
Hultkrantz A: The shaman and medicine man. Soc Sci Med 1985;20:511–515.
8.
Instituto Nacional de Estadísticas y Censos. www.inec.gov.ec. 2005.
9.
Ministerio de Salud Pública. www.msp.gov.ec. 2005.
10.
Paz-y-Miño C: Genética humana. Conceptos básicos e investigaciones en el Ecuador. Quito, Fundación Simón Bolívar, 1994.
11.
Paz-y-Miño C: De los shamanes a la genetica; in Paz-y-Miño C: Capricho de los Genes. Quito, Abya Yala, 2000, pp 25–27.
12.
Paz-y-Miño C: Genetics services in Ecuador. Community Genet 2004;7:137–141.
13.
Polia Meconi M: Despierta, remedio, cuenta adivinos y médicos del Ande. El ciclo reproductivo de la mujer, ed 3, vol II. Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú. Lima, Fondo Editorial, 1996, pp 687–755.
14.
Quezada A, Hermida C, Vega G, Cañizares E, Hermida J: la práctica medica tradicional: en las provincias de Azuay, Cañar, El Oro y Morona Santiago. Cuenca, Universidad de Cuenca, 1988, pp 225–257.
15.
Muñoz Bernard C: Enfermedad Daño e ideologia: antropologia medica de los renacientes de pindiling. Editorial Abya Yala, 1986, pp 117–132.
16.
Fierro R, Ordóñez G (ed): Biopatología Andina y Tropical. Quito, CCE, 1995.
17.
Landívar J, Hermida E, Proaño H: La Paleopatología en el Ecuador. En: ‘El Cóndor, la Serpiente y el Colibrí. OPS/OMS y la Salud pública en el Ecuador del siglo XX’, OPS, 1990, pp 1–5.
18.
Hermida E: Paleopatología-paleogenética ecuatoriana; in Paz-y-Miño C, Leone PE (eds): Situación y perspectivas de desarrollo de la Genética Humana en el Ecuador. Quito, Fundación Científica, Cultural y Educativa ‘Simón Bolívar’, 1997, pp 22–24.
19.
Hampejs HV: El Éxtasis Shamánico de la Conciencia. Quito, Abya Yala, 1994.
20.
Organización Panamericana de la Salud Prevención y Control de las Enfermedades Genéticas y los Defectos Congénitos. Washington, OPS, 1984.
21.
Lanie AD, Jayaratne TE, Sheldon JP, Kardia SL, Anderson ES, Feldbaum M, Petty EM: Exploring the public understanding of basic genetic concepts. J Genet Couns 2004;13:305–320.
22.
Chapman E: Difficult decisions: social and ethical implications of changing medical technology. Community Genet 2002;5:110–119.
23.
Karbani GA: Transcultural genetic counselling in the UK. Community Genet 2002;5:205–207.
24.
Vandenbroucke JP: The history of confounding. Soz Praventivmed 2002;47:216–224.
25.
Paz-y-Miño C: Medical Genetics Services in Latin America: Ecuador. Washington, World Health Organization, 1998.
26.
Albert JP, Crubezy E: Shamanic healing in the age of modern medicine (French). Med Trop (Mars) 2005;65:93–99.
27.
Pelcastre-Villafuerte B: The shamanic cure: a psychosocial interpretation (Spanish). Salud Publica Mex 1999;41:221–229.
28.
Campos Navarro R: Nosotros los Curanderos. México, 1997.
Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer
Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in government regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.
You do not currently have access to this content.