Mey Akashah’s Harvard doctoral dissertation uploaded to SlideShare and WordPress

Mey Akashah’s Harvard thesis online at Slideshare and WordPress 

Mey Akashah Harvard thesis front page

Mey Akashah’s Harvard School of Public Health doctoral dissertation, Fish Consumption, Mercury Intake, and the Associated Risks to the Kuwaiti Population, can now be found online at Mey’s Slideshare page and the Publication page of her blog.


Topic and background

Mey’s dissertation addresses health risks factors associated with mercury intake as a consequence of fish consumption among the Kuwaiti population.  Mercury is neurotoxic, and some studies have shown that it may also contribute to cardiovascular disease (Harada 1995Grandjean 1998). As Kuwaitis eat more fish than many other nationalities, it is important to better understand how much fish Kuwaitis consume, how much mercury is in the fish being eaten, and the physiological factors affecting how much mercury is absorbed into the body. The three papers in the dissertation address each of these areas, individually.


The first paper, “Fish Consumption among Kuwaiti Nationals,” addresses the consumption patterns of the Kuwait population, including the types of fish eaten, how frequently they are consumed, and average consumption among various age, sex, and ethnic groups. “Human Health Risks from Mercury in Fish” investigates the potential health effects to the Kuwaiti population as a result of current fish consumption patterns. The third paper, “Fish Consumption as a Determinant of Hair Mercury Levels among Kuwaiti Nationals,” relates this consumption to overall body burden of mercury, allowing a better understanding of the relationship between intake of fish and mercury levels found in hair samples.



It is hoped that the dissertation’s three studies will inform future work in the areas of risk reduction and risk management, so that more accurate risk assessments may be undertaken in the future. The research may also be used to create fish consumption advisories for the Kuwaiti population and other countries in the region.


Access, download, and share

To access or download a pdf copy of Mey Akashah’s Harvard School of Public Health doctoral thesis, please visit Mey at Slideshare or the Publication page of her blog – and please share and/or like the page if you believe it is important and useful!


– Mey Akashah


Upcoming post: Climate change, microclimates, and the importance of biodiversity to human health

I’m currently in Costa Rica, marveling at the depth and diversity of both the culture and natural environment. Costa Rica has designated a significant proportion of its territory as national parks, preserving its beauty for years to come. Tourism is thus a major source of national revenue, as people like me journey to the rain forests, cloud forests, beaches and other natural wonders simply to admire them.

The biodiversity found in Costa Rica also offers a potential bounty for human health – as noted by my colleague, Aaron Bernstein, during our course at the Harvard School of Public Health last semester, the majority of our medicines are derived from natural sources — most especially from those plants and animals found in rain forests and coral reefs, as they offer the greatest biodiversity densities.

What is also amazing about Costa Rica is the myriad microclimates, and the unique plants and animals found in each ecosystem, offering countless possibilities for improving human health. Of concern, however, is the fact that these microclimates are so very susceptible to small environmental changes.  The creatures within these microclimates have become specialized over time to develop a microclimate-specific ecology. In the face of global environmental change, generally, and climate change, specifically, three questions immediately spring to mind:

  1. How resilient will these microclimate ecosystems be to climate and other environmental change?
  2. What potential benefits to human health will be lost when these stresses overcome such ecosystem’s ability to withstand them?
  3. What interventions can be made in the short- to medium-term to protect and preserve these environments in the face of such challenges?

Obviously, this is a short prelude to a larger post and discussion, but any thoughts you might have before I write said post would be warmly welcomed.

Mey Akashah


Welcome to my new blog, where you will find thoughts and analysis of major environmental, social, and political trends affecting our futures and those of the voiceless billions around the world. I’ll do my best to keep it current and new, and I hope that you share (or will share) my belief that intractable problems can only be solved with creative, collaborative, and bold new ideas – and I would also love to hear yours.

Welcome again, and looking forward to learning your thoughts and perspectives as I share mine,

Mey Akashah


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