Uruguay
Updated 29 May 2015

Chapter Leader: Dr. Nelly Mañay, Dept of Toxicology and Environmental Hygiene, University of the Republic (Facultad de Química- Gral.), Flores 2124 Montevideo CP 11800, Uruguay
E-mail: nmanay@fq.edu.uy

The IMGA Local Chapter in Uruguay was established in 2010.


2014

In this period, the Chapter leader developed several activities (lectures, round tables and workshops) to promote Medical Geology discipline and the International Medical Geology Association in Regional Scientific Events such as Toxilatin in Porto Alegre-Brazil, Arsenic 2014 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the Brazilian Congress of Geology in Salvador, Brazil.

Individual members gave lectures in curricular courses and presented projects and published their research advances in several Congresses and Scientific Journals:

Lectures on Medical Geology fundamentals and Arsenic environmental issues in a workshop and  training  course for the Geosciences Master Degree students from the University of the Republic of Uruguay were given by IMGA members, Profs Pistón and Mañay.

IMGA Uruguay was also invited to join the 8th Client/Supplier Business Workshop - ICCA Latinoamérica 2, 3  September 2014 in Viña del Mar, Chile to learn about  regional organization of Congresses and Symposiums that would be suitable for IMGA.

A "Workshop on Review of Good Practice Guidelines on Mining in Uruguay" was held in Montevideo and organized by the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Environment Programme and the United Nations Educational, Science and Culture and was attended by several delegates of our Chapter.

2012

Medical Geology in Uruguay has developed a highly qualified team to carry out research work, teaching, human resources training and extension. Some studies of trace elements that impact on health such as arsenic and fluoride in water, selenium in food, silica and asbestos in the air, deficiencies of essential elements such as copper in animals, among others, have already been initiated.

In 2011, Uruguay was very well represented in the 4th International Conference on Medical Geology held in Bari, Italy by 6 colleagues (Cousillas, Adriana; Heller, Teresa; Mañay, Nelly; Pereira, Laura; Kremer, Eduardo; Noguera, Ana Lía).

This was a practical demonstration of interest and hard work regarding Medical Geology in our country.

Also in 2011, we created a Research Group on Medical Geology in the University of the Republic, with researchers from the Faculties of Chemistry, Sciences and Veterinary (chemists, toxicologists, geologists and veterinarians respectively), who worked together in order to create a framework for the presentation of future projects. Website: http://darwin.csic.edu.uy/grupos/grupos?tipo=unoro&id=798725.

Furthermore, in November 2011, we applied for funds with a project for the creation of an Interdisciplinary Nucleus of Medical Geology within the University of the Republic, of which there is still no official resolution. The leaders of this nucleus are Nelly Mañay, Maria Torre, Mariela Pistón, Cesar Goso, Adriana Cousillas and Luis Barros, all professors from the University of the Republic. The formation of an Interdisciplinary Nucleus on Medical Geology consolidates a multidisciplinary team to approach the impact of geological factors on human health and animals that have no systematic research in the country. The aim of this Interdisciplinary Nucleus is to strengthen Medical Geology research teams, and the specialization or training of human resources so as to integrate the different services from the University involved in this line of work, into their respective graduate and post graduate curricular programs.

In addition, the elective course of "Environmental Toxicology and Medical Geology" held in our Faculty of Chemistry since 2005, reaches also students from other Faculties and in 2011, this 3-month course was successfully conducted, with growing interest and enthusiastic participation, both of students, and lecturers. This course was also included last year, as an elective in the Master in Geosciences programs. In addition, one of the PhD studies going on in our Faculty, is analysing Medical Geology as one part of the history and contribution of Toxicology to Environmental Education for Chemical Sciences students.

In early 2011 Dr. Centeno was going to visit us and give a short course on Arsenic issues so as to plan more activities on Medical Geology in Uruguay, but unfortunately he was not able to come, owing to his new job position. This course will be organised for April 2013.

Finally, our aim is to motivate and include more colleagues involved in Medical Geology in Uruguay, because we have many interesting initiatives in sight. At the same time, we are willing to integrate Uruguay to proposals coming from IMGA.

The following are the lists of abstracts and papers produced by our Chapter members.

Presentations in GEOMED 2011, Bari, Italy:

Publications

Medical Geology in Uruguay has been continuing with the development of research work, teaching training and extension carried out with its Chapter’s highly qualified members. As it was mentioned in our last report, studies on trace elements that impact on health such as arsenic and fluoride in water, selenium in food, silica and asbestos in the air, deficiencies of essential elements such as copper in animals, and child environmental lead exposure among other issues, are being carried out currently.

In 2012, Nelly Mañay and Mariela Pistón, applied for a call of interdisciplinary activities with a proposal for holding a regional Medical Geology scientific activity under the framework of the Program of Development of Basic Sciences of the Ministry of Education of Uruguay. This proposal was approved and financial support was got to cover Latin-American experts travel expenses as well as to fund logistical issues necessary for these kind of activities, such as the conference room, coffee breaks, and support materials (CD, folders, certificates, brochures, etc). This Interdisciplinary Medical Geology Seminar was held in Montevideo on 17th October with the participation of 23 students and 27 junior/senior researchers and various professionals (physicians, veterinarians, geologists, chemists, and biologists). We presented 10 lectures, three of them held by colleagues from Brazil, México and Chile and the others were from our Uruguayan Chapter. Below is a photo and program. More information (in Spanish) is available on the website: http://de.amiando.com/LPGXSUD.html.

.. ....Program Summary:

Also in 2012, we continued working within the framework of the Research Group on Medical Geology of the University of the Republic, with researchers from the Faculties of Chemistry, Sciences, Veterinary and Medicine. Website: http://darwin.csic.edu.uy/grupos/grupos?tipo=unoro&id=798725.

Furthermore, in May 2012, we applied again for funds to conduct research with the creation of an Interdisciplinary Nucleus of Medical Geology within the University of the Republic, of which there is still no official resolution. The leaders of these nucleus are Nelly Mañay (Chemical Toxicologist), Maria Torre (Bioinorganic Chemist), Mariela Pistón (Analytical Chemist), Cesar Goso (Geologist), Adriana Cousillas (Chemical Toxi-cologist) , Luis Barros (Veterinary Clinician and Pathologist) and Amalia Laborde (Medical Toxicologist), all professors from the University of the Republic. The approval of an Interdisciplinary Nucleus on Medical Geology in our University will consolidate a multidisciplinary team to strengthen and expand Medical Geology research teams in Uruguay in order to approach human and animal health issues that are not being systematically investigated at present.

In addition, the elective course of "Environmental Toxicology and Medical Geology" held in our Faculty of Chemistry since 2005, reaches also students from other Faculties and Careers and in 2012, this 3-month course was successfully conducted, with growing interest and enthusiastic participation, both of students, and lecturers. This course is also included, in the Master in Geosciences programs. The PhD study by a member of our chapter is still going on in our Faculty, which is analysing Medical Geology as one part of the history and contribution of Toxicology to Environmental Education for Chemical Sciences students.

As we said before, the Uruguayan Chapter aims to incorporate more colleagues already working in Medical Geology in Uruguay, because we have many interesting initiatives in sight. At the same time, we are willing to integrate Uruguay to proposals coming from IMGA. 

Medical Geology in Uruguay

Uruguay has been involved in the emerging discipline of Medical Geology since 2002, studying metals and metalloids exposure and environment health impacts within the Medical Geology International group (IGCP project # 454) and IMGA.

Environmental Toxicology, Epidemiology, Human and Veterinary Health, as well as Geology, Bioinorganic and Analytical Chemistry studies, have been the basis for the development of Medical Geology in Uruguay. Knowledge and performance of these disciplines have been improved by the joining of research teams and experts from different institutions, together with community delegates, to face environmental health problems arising from metals and metalloids exposure. Medical Geology has also been a topic of discussion in Ecohealth symposiums, to understand the relationships between ecosystems and human health impacts, providing additional sociological studies. The main results of this new scientific approach in Uruguay have been the development of feasible technologies, diagnosis tools, health impairment, with social inclusion as well.

The 3rd Hemispheric Conference on Medical Geology held in Montevideo, 12-16th October, 2009 (www.geologiamedica.com), promoted interdisciplinary discussions and contributions from the geosciences and biosciences scientific communities to share recent advances on environmental and health problem studies in this part of the world, and was the basis of the IMGA Uruguayan Chapter organization.

IMGA Local Chapter in Uruguay

The IMGA Local Chapter in Uruguay was established in 2010. It currently has 18 members consisting of chemists (7), geologists (3), physicians (2), chemical engi-neers (2), veterinarians(3) and biologists (1). The first Uruguay IMGA Chapter formal meeting was held at the Faculty of Chemistry, with very interesting lectures on the research of working groups. These included: environmental surveillance with the development of analytical methodologies for metals and metalloids in biologic and environmental matrices, bioassays, validation and automatization of analytical methodologies, surveillance of toxic ions in aquifers of Uruguay including arsenic and fluorine, and developing technological studies of soils.

The future activities of this chapter will be focused on the addition of new members, with innovative strategies for multidisciplinary research in our country, academics, and on technological and educational activities where a Medical Geology approach is taken into account in the development of future action plans.

2011

The Uruguay Chapter is very active and has 16 members. These are a mixture of chemists, geologists, physicians, veterinarians and engineers. The Chapter members organised the very successful 3rd Hemispheric Conference on Medical Geology in October 2009 and the Chapter arose out of this meeting. Conference reports are available in the 2009 IMGA Newsletters 15 and 14. Since then the Chapter has had a first meeting and continues contact by e-mail. Most active scientists are researchers from the University of the Republic working together in subjects of common interest such as environmental Pb and As. A Medical Geology short course was planned with Dr. Centeno but it had to be cancelled for several reasons. It is proposed for next year.

Contact

Professor Nelly Mañay, Dept. of Toxicology and Environmental Hygiene, University of the Republic, Montevideo, Uruguay. NellyManay@gmail.com