Improving the Health of Fragile Tribes in Malaysia

Investigations into the health of indigenous Orang Asli peoples in Malaysia suggest that changes of lifestyle and modernization have increased their risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Genetic analyses also show that they have a lower metabolic capacity, requiring lower doses of many common painkillers. Taken together, researchers believe that better prevention and education programs are needed, along with the implementation of precision
medicine in the Orang Asli.

The Orang Asli, or ’first people’ of Peninsular Malaysia, comprise less than 1% of the Malaysian population. Despite some snapshots of their health, there is not a great deal of medical information on these tribes, several of which are categorized as fragile....