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Concept: Indigenous Australians


Coastal Indigenous peoples rely on ocean resources and are highly vulnerable to ecosystem and economic change. Their challenges have been observed and recognized at local and regional scales, yet there are no global-scale analyses to inform international policies. We compile available data for over 1,900 coastal Indigenous communities around the world representing 27 million people across 87 countries. Based on available data at local and regional levels, we estimate a total global yearly seafood consumption of 2.1 million (1.5 million-2.8 million) metric tonnes by coastal Indigenous peoples, equal to around 2% of global yearly commercial fisheries catch. Results reflect the crucial role of seafood for these communities; on average, consumption per capita is 15 times higher than non-Indigenous country populations. These findings contribute to an urgently needed sense of scale to coastal Indigenous issues, and will hopefully prompt increased recognition and directed research regarding the marine knowledge and resource needs of Indigenous peoples. Marine resources are crucial to the continued existence of coastal Indigenous peoples, and their needs must be explicitly incorporated into management policies.

Concepts: Ethnic group, Kilogram, Overfishing, Indigenous Australians, Tonne, Indigenous peoples, Transformation of culture, Metric system


The population history of Aboriginal Australians remains largely uncharacterized. Here we generate high-coverage genomes for 83 Aboriginal Australians (speakers of Pama-Nyungan languages) and 25 Papuans from the New Guinea Highlands. We find that Papuan and Aboriginal Australian ancestors diversified 25-40 thousand years ago (kya), suggesting pre-Holocene population structure in the ancient continent of Sahul (Australia, New Guinea and Tasmania). However, all of the studied Aboriginal Australians descend from a single founding population that differentiated ~10-32 kya. We infer a population expansion in northeast Australia during the Holocene epoch (past 10,000 years) associated with limited gene flow from this region to the rest of Australia, consistent with the spread of the Pama-Nyungan languages. We estimate that Aboriginal Australians and Papuans diverged from Eurasians 51-72 kya, following a single out-of-Africa dispersal, and subsequently admixed with archaic populations. Finally, we report evidence of selection in Aboriginal Australians potentially associated with living in the desert.

Concepts: Southeast Asia, Continent, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Oceania, Indigenous Australian languages, Constitution of Australia, Indigenous Australians


Aboriginal Australians represent one of the longest continuous cultural complexes known. Archaeological evidence indicates that Australia and New Guinea were initially settled approximately 50 thousand years ago (ka); however, little is known about the processes underlying the enormous linguistic and phenotypic diversity within Australia. Here we report 111 mitochondrial genomes (mitogenomes) from historical Aboriginal Australian hair samples, whose origins enable us to reconstruct Australian phylogeographic history before European settlement. Marked geographic patterns and deep splits across the major mitochondrial haplogroups imply that the settlement of Australia comprised a single, rapid migration along the east and west coasts that reached southern Australia by 49-45 ka. After continent-wide colonization, strong regional patterns developed and these have survived despite substantial climatic and cultural change during the late Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. Remarkably, we find evidence for the continuous presence of populations in discrete geographic areas dating back to around 50 ka, in agreement with the notable Aboriginal Australian cultural attachment to their country.

Concepts: Pacific Ocean, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indigenous Australian languages, Constitution of Australia, Indigenous Australians, Archaeology, Indigenous peoples


ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL SIGNIFICANCE: Although no known medicinal use for Pittosporum undulatum Vent. (Pittosporaceae) has been recorded, anecdotal evidence suggests that Australian Aboriginal people used P. angustifolium Lodd., G.Lodd. & W.Lodd. topically for eczema, pruritis or to induce lactation in mothers following child-birth and internally for coughs, colds or cramps. AIMS OF THE STUDY: Essential oil composition and bioactivity as well as differential solvent extract antimicrobial activity from P. angustifolium is investigated here firstly, to partially describe the composition of volatiles released in traditional applications of P. angustifolium for colds or as a lactagogue, and secondly to investigate antibacterial activity related to topical applications. Essential oils were also investigated from P. undulatum Vent., firstly to enhance essential oil data produced in previous studies, and secondly as a comparison to P. angustifolium. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Essential oils were hydrodistilled from fruit and leaves of both species using a modified approach to lessen the negative (frothing) effect of saponins. This was achieved by floating pumice or pearlite obsidian over the mixture to crush the suds formed while boiling. Essential oil extracts were analysed using GC-MS, quantified using GC-FID then screened for antimicrobial activity using a micro-titre plate broth dilution assay (MIC). Using dichloromethane, methanol, hexane and H(2)O as solvents, extracts were produced from leaves and fruit of P. angustifolium and screened for antimicrobial activity and qualitative phytochemical character. RESULTS: Although the essential oil from leaves and fruit of P. undulatum demonstrated some component variation, the essential oil from fruits of P. angustifolium had major constituents that strongly varied according to the geographical location of collection, suggesting the existence of at least two chemotypes; one with high abundance of acetic acid decyl ester. This chemotype had high antimicrobial activity whilst the other chemotype had only moderate antimicrobial activity against the three microbial species investigated here. This result may support the occurrence of geographical specificity with regard to ethnopharmacological use. Antimicrobial activity screening of the solvent extracts from P. angustifolium revealed the leaves to be superior to fruit, with water being the most suitable extraction solvent. CONCLUSION: To the best of our knowledge, this study constitutes the first time essential oils, and solvent extracts from the fruits of P. angustifolium, have been examined employing comprehensive chemical and biological analysis. The essential oil composition presented in this paper, includes components with structural similarity as chemosemiotic compounds involved in mother-infant identification, which may have significance with regard to traditional applications as a lactagogue.

Concepts: Water, Ethanol, Petroleum, Acetic acid, Solvent, Essential oil, Oil, Indigenous Australians


AIM: The study aims to analyse clinical data and outcome in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children with cancer. METHODS: This is a retrospective case-note review of biological features, treatment outcome and survival in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children with a malignancy who were treated at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital, a tertiary referral hospital, from January 1997 through March 2011. Two separate analyses were performed: firstly, for each Aboriginal patient comparisons were made with two age, sex and diagnosis-matched control patients; then secondly, results for the Aboriginal group of patients were compared with the whole non-Aboriginal group of patients. RESULTS: In the first analysis, Aboriginal children had a significantly higher ‘remoteness index’ (6.14 vs. 0.95; P < 0.001) and were less likely to be enrolled on clinical trials. Survival analysis of the Aboriginal patients and their matched controls showed a trend towards inferior overall survival for the Indigenous children (P = 0.066). In the second analysis, Aboriginal children tended to have a higher proportion of leukaemias and lymphomas and had an overrepresentation of acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) (P = 0.009). The mean age among Aboriginal children with AML and lymphoma was lower (AML: 3.5 vs. 8 years, P = 0.065; lymphoma: 7.5 vs. 11.9 years, P = 0.01). A higher proportion of Aboriginal children died (P = 0.004). CONCLUSIONS: Aboriginal children present with a somewhat different pattern of cancer, are less likely to be enrolled on studies and seem to have increased mortality. There is a need for improvement in study enrolment, treatment delivery, care coordination and suitably supported residential facilities.

Concepts: Cancer, Hospital, Chemotherapy, Leukemia, Lymphoma, Acute myeloid leukemia, Blood disorders, Indigenous Australians


Little is known about Australian Aboriginal world views related to child rearing and child development. The aim of this qualitative study was to provide an opportunity for remote Aboriginal families in Central Australia to share what they felt was important for non-Aboriginal people, working in the same setting, to know about their parenting methods.

Concepts: Childhood, Developmental psychology, Parenting, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory, Parenting styles, Parenting practices


Trichomonas has been reported to be rare in Australia’s major cities while remaining very common in some extremely remote Aboriginal communities. This study examined the Trichomonas prevalence and relationship to remoteness among patients attending sexual health clinics in rural and remote areas of New South Wales, Australia.

Concepts: New Zealand, Australia, Indigenous Australians, New South Wales, Trichomonas vaginalis, History of Australia, Great Dividing Range, Sydney


BACKGROUND: Otitis media is endemic in remote Indigenous communities of Australia’s Northern Territory. Alloiococcus otitidis is an outer ear commensal and putative middle ear pathogen that has not previously been described in acute otitis media (AOM) in this population. The aims of this study were to determine the presence, antibiotic susceptibility and bacterial load of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs collected from Indigenous Australian children with AOM with perforation. METHODS: Paired nasopharyngeal and ear discharge swabs from 27 children with AOM with perforation were tested by A. otitidis quantitative PCR (qPCR). Positive swabs were cultured for 21 days. Total and respiratory pathogen bacterial loads in A. otitidis-positive swabs were determined by qPCR. RESULTS: A. otitidis was detected by qPCR in 11 ear discharge swabs from 10 of 27 (37%) children, but was not detected in paired nasopharyngeal swabs. A. otitidis was cultured from 5 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs from four children. All A. otitidis isolates had minimum inhibitory concentrations consistent with macrolide resistance. All A. otitidis qPCR-positive swabs were culture-positive for other bacteria. A. otitidis bacterial load ranged from 2.2 x 104-1.1 x 108 cells/swab (median 1.8 x 105 cells/swab). The relative abundance of A. otitidis ranged from 0.01% to 34% of the total bacterial load (median 0.7%). In 6 of 11 qPCR-positive swabs the A. otitidis relative abundance was <1% and in 5 of 11 it was between 2% and 34%. The A. otitidis bacterial load and relative abundance measures were comparable to that of Haemophilus influenzae. CONCLUSIONS: A. otitidis can be a dominant species in the bacterial communities present in the ear discharge of Indigenous children with AOM with perforation. The absence of A. otitidis in nasopharyngeal swabs suggests the ear canal as the likely primary reservoir. The significance of A. otitidis at low relative abundance is unclear; however, at higher relative abundance it may be contributing to the associated inflammation. Further studies to better understand A. otitidis as a secondary otopathogen are warranted, particularly in populations at high-risk of progression to chronic suppurative otitis media and where macrolide therapies are being used.

Concepts: Auditory system, Eustachian tube, Otitis media, Ear, Haemophilus influenzae, Otitis externa, Indigenous Australians, Northern Territory


In this article, we consider how the broad context of Aboriginal people’s lives can shape their experience and understanding of their HIV diagnosis. We conducted interviews across Canada with 72 Aboriginal people living with HIV who also reported feelings of depression. Consistent with what has been found in previous studies, participants responded to their HIV diagnosis with shock, disbelief, and often anger. Prior depression, drug and alcohol use, multiple losses, stigma, and social isolation also shaped how participants experienced their diagnosis. We consider how the history of colonization of Aboriginal communities in Canada relates to the experience of HIV diagnosis, and end with a discussion of the service implications of our findings.

Concepts: HIV, AIDS, Experience, South Africa, Knowledge, Perspective, Indigenous Australians, Shape


Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples (who comprise the indigenous people or the original inhabitants of Australia before colonization) are more likely to experience cancers with poorer prognoses, are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at a later stage of disease progression, are less likely to receive adequate cancer treatment and are more likely to pass away due to cancer, compared with other Australians. Cancer and biomedical therapies for cancer often have significant, ongoing effects on patient health-related quality of life (HRQL). Therefore, consideration of HRQL for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with experience of cancer in Australia is imperative. This article examines the literature for HRQL issues self-reported by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people with experience of cancer in Australia.

Concepts: Disease, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Indigenous Australians, Queensland, Indigenous peoples, Torres Strait Islands, Torres Strait Islanders