Saturday, March 8, 2014

Benjamin Cabrera: A Filipino Scientist (Individual Project)

Filariasis is a parasitic disease (an infectious tropical disease) that is initiated by thread-like roundworms. It is an infection that affects mostly the lower extremities, while the ears, mucous membranes, and amputation stumps are affected less frequently. These are transmitted from host to host by blood-feeding arthropods, mainly black flies and mosquitoes. One of the Filipino Scientist, Doctor Benjamin Cabrera’s best known studies is about Filariasis. Because of his work regarding the disease, Doctor Cabrera was honoured the Philippine Legion of Honor, a presidential award in 1966.

Cabrera has more than a hundred scientific publications concerning medical parasitology and public vigour. Born March 20 of the year 1920, Cabrera finished his degree in the University of the Philippines in 1945. He continued his education in Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. He got his Master’s degree in in Public Health major in Medical Parasitology and Public Health in the said university and graduated in the year of 1950.

Doctor Cabrera’s works are mostly about innovations in cures and treatments for diseases caused by mosquitos and agricultural soil. One of his best works is about a research regarding the tropical disease, Filariasis. Filariasis is caused by small roundworms transmitted by mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. Doctor Cabrera studied the life cycles of these roundworms. He also studied the different ways of how the Filariasis is being transmitted to humans. Because of this research, a cure for Filariasis was innovated. Doctor Cabrera was even given an award from the president of the country for this work.

Doctor Cabrera not only worked on researches for Filariasis. He also did a research for Ascariasis. Filariasis is caused by small roundworms transmitted by mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects. Like Filariasis, Ascariasis is a tropical disease caused by insects. Symptoms increase with the number of worms present and may include shortness of breath and fever in the beginning of the disease. These may be followed by symptoms of abdominal swelling, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Children are most commonly affected and in this age group the infection may also cause poor weight gain, malnutrition and learning problems. And with the model that Doctor Cabrera proposed, the hazards produced by the soil-transmitted helminths were reduced. Precautionary measures in the method of drug treatments of human cases as well as measure in contradiction of the mosquito vectors can be instigated because of the explication or clarification of the epidemiology. Also in 1961, Doctor Cabrera collaborated with Lee M. Howard. Lee M. Howard is a regent’s professor of Physics in the University of Georgia. Together, they discovered they created the first field study of Simian Malaria in the Philippines. They found out that only malaria occurred just 8.6% of all the animals tested. Even though the study was very inadequate, the statement recommended that the simian reservoir of malaria is probably of limited importance for the human population in the Philippines.

Benjamin Cabrera may not be as famous as other Filipino scientists but he surely is a hardworking one. He had a hundred scientific publications and had helped a lot in the exploration in his own field. It is quite rare for someone to choose a field as unique as parasitology. And indeed, Doctor Benjamin Cabrera’s works are really of great help and contribution. 

Joana Marie Garcia | 2013 16420 | STS THX | Individual Project


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  • What Are the Achievements and Biography of Benjamin Cabrera?
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