Regional bedrock geochemistry associated with podoconiosis evaluated by multivariate analysis
Cooper, Jamey N. | Cooper, Allen M. | Clausen, Benjamin L. | Nick, Kevin E.
Podoconiosis is a disease whose etiology remains murky. Currently, the disease is attributed to particles that are believed to move through the skin and into the lymphatic system causing swelling of the lower legs. Identity of these particles or their composition remains unclear, though the presence of silicon and/or aluminum is often noted and frequently cited as causal agents. We applied multivariate analyses to the bedrock compositions of a large set of cases from an online database in an effort to identify underlying patterns or combinations of relative element abundances associated with podoconiosis-endemic regions. Using a combination of principal component analysis, discriminant function analysis, and ANOVA, we analyzed ten oxides from five regions on the African continent known to be associated with podoconiosis. The Hawaiian Islands were included as a control group since they are not known to have cases of podoconiosis despite similarity in geology and agricultural practices. Our analyses suggest that a unique alkaline- and silicon-rich geochemistry underlies regions associated with podoconiosis. Our results also imply that minerals enriched in incompatible elements, such as Ca, K, Mg, and Na, may be stronger predictors of the presence of the disease than either silicon or aluminum.Show more [+] Less [-]