Malaria kills more than 400,000 people annually, according to the World Health Organization.
But most studies about fighting malaria focus on the mosquito-borne parasite that causes the illness while ignoring the impact of the disease on the body, says Marco Brotto, the George W. and Hazel M. Jay Professor at UTA's College of Nursing and Health Innovation.
Early in 2017, Dr. Brotto co-authored a study in the Malaria Journal that shows how the right amount of diet and exercise can help lessen damage to the heart and skeletal muscles for those afflicted by the disease. The study's other co-author was Mauro Marrelli, an internationally renowned entomologist, parasitologist, and molecular biologist who was a visiting professor at the college in 2016.
Their study shows that people with moderate or high levels of malarial infection who maintain healthy diets and exercise regularly will be in a stronger position to vanquish the disease. They also will return to wellness sooner.
"People would not feel so tired and weak if they have targeted intervention," Brotto says. "The better shape you're in, the more prepared you are to fight infection."