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jerryking : hunter-gatherers   4

Stone Age cave dwellers had healthier mouths than we do - The Globe and Mail
PAUL TAYLOR

The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Feb. 21 2013

Think of your mouth as being in a constant state of disease..."There is a very low diversity of bacterial species and a high prevalence of disease-causing pathogens."...In fact, our teeth and gums are generally in worse shape than our cave-dwelling ancestors....What's to blame? Our shift to a carbohydrate-rich diet – especially the increased consumption of processed sugar – fostered the growth of certain bacteria that cause gum disease and dental decay, "Hunter-gatherers in general had really good teeth. You see quite a bit of wear because of the highly abrasive nature of their diet, but you see almost no signs of pathology," said Cooper.

"That all changes with farming and the increased consumption of domesticated cereals," added Cooper.

The DNA analysis revealed that as agriculture took hold, there was a marked decrease in bacterial diversity and certain disease-causing microbes became more prevalent, including Porphyromonas gingivalis which contributes to gum disease.The composition of oral bacteria underwent another dramatic shift with the industrial revolution and the introduction of processed sugar and flour. There was a further decrease in diversity, and a rise in bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans, which causes dental caries commonly known as cavities......Diet has influenced the bacteria that inhabit the human body "and we can see that in the oral cavity," said Cooper. "One can pretty safely deduce that same thing has happened in the gastrointestinal system, which is arguably even more important in terms of the role of bacteria in human health."

Indeed, a growing body of medical research suggests that the loss of beneficial bacteria is associated with a range of modern systemic diseases, from diabetes and heart disease, to obesity and autism. And perhaps most important of all, a diverse gut bacteria is necessary to train the immune systems of young children.
evolution  bacteria  diets  dental  guts  disease  pathogens  digestive_systems  microbes  microbiome  gums  gastrointestinal  hunter-gatherers  immune_system  human_evolution 
february 2013 by jerryking
Can we just relax about our breasts? - The Globe and Mail
MARGARET WENTE

The Globe and Mail

Last updated Wednesday, Oct. 31 2012

the real problem isn’t jet fuel in our breasts. It’s chemophobia – a fear so rampant that it has infected an entire generation of women. Ms. Williams is right that our bodies contain trace amounts of pretty much everything that’s in our environment. But toxicity is a matter of degree. And technology is so advanced that we can measure trace amounts in parts per trillion. As yet, research has found no trace of harm. For example, after a comprehensive review of environmental causes and risk factors for breast cancer, the U.S. Institute of Medicine found no conclusive link between any of these chemicals and an increased risk of breast cancer. According to Scientific American, “some research shows the toxic load in breast milk to be smaller than that in the air most city dwellers breathe inside their homes.”

So what are the biggest risks for breast cancer? Getting old, and being female. “If you parse out all the things that cause breast cancer, about 75 per cent of it is living,” Harvey Schipper, one of Canada’s leading breast cancer doctors, told me. Much of the rest is hereditary. Other risk factors are bound up with our Western lifestyle – high-protein diets, early puberty, later and less frequent childbearing. “Societies with poor nutrition don’t get breast cancer,” he says.

This is not to say there’s no impact from environmental factors. But these effects are small and uncertain. To eliminate them all, we’d have to eliminate modernity and return to being hunter-gatherers again.

But I’m afraid chemophobia is here to stay. Fear sells. Fear of chemicals manufactured by rapacious, greedy, money-sucking capitalist enterprises sells even better.
ageing  cancers  chemicals  fear  hunter-gatherers  Margaret_Wente  medical_communication  rapaciousness  risk_factors  toxicity 
february 2013 by jerryking
"The Hidden River of Knowledge"
May 21, 2007 | New York Times | Commencement address by David Brooks.

In short, things are about to change big time. And one of my messages today is that you know that uncertainty you feel today? It never goes away. The question is, do you know how to make uncertainty your friend?....here's one other thing I've noticed that separates the really great people from the merely famous ones. They talk to dead people.

Merely famous people have pictures of themselves on the wall. Really great people have pictures of dead people on the wall, and on their desks. It's one of the first things I look for when I go into somebody's office...And they talk about these dead people....
The dead were alive to them, and looking over their shoulder....The Greeks used to say we suffer our way to wisdom...Success is not something that we do or that happens to us. Success is something that happens through us....We inherit, starting even before we are born, a great river of knowledge, a great flow from many ages and many sources. The information that comes from millions of years ago, we call brain chemistry. The information that comes from hundreds of thousands of years ago from our hunter and gatherer ancestors we call genes. The information that was handed down thousands of years ago we call religion. The information passed along hundreds of years ago we call culture. The information passed along from decades ago we call family. The information you absorbed over the past few years at Wake Forest we call education....We exist as creatures within this hidden river of knowledge the way a trout exists in a stream or a river. We are formed by the river. It is the medium in which we live and the guide about how to live.

The great people I've seen talking to the dead do so because they want to connect with the highest and most inspiring parts of the river. When people make mistakes, often it is not because they are evil. It's because they don't have an ideal to live up to.

These great people also talk to the dead because they want a voice from outside their selves....the best people I've met don't feel that smart or that special. They have powerful jobs, but they don't feel powerful. They don't feel like architects building these great projects from scratch. They feel instead like river boat captains negotiating the currents around them.

They want to step outside their egotism and understand the river of events. They want to feel how people in the past have negotiated its channels. They want other voices in their heads so they can possess the ultimate power, which is the power of facing unpleasant truths.

Finally, I think they talk to the dead because they want to widen their time horizons....Think hard about who you marry. It's the most important decision you will ever make. Devote yourself to your kids. Nothing else is guaranteed to make you happy. The only thing I'd add is, create a posse of dead people. Create an entourage of heroes. Put their pictures on your wall, and keep them in your mind.

They will remind you of your place in the hidden river of wisdom. They'll serve as models. They'll give you an honest perspective on how you're doing. They'll remind you that your blessings don't come from you but from those who came before you.
advice  affirmations  ancestry  blog  brain_chemistry  career  cognitive_skills  commencement  culture  cultural_transmission  David_Brooks  education  family  genes  Greek  hidden  happiness  heroes  humility  hunter-gatherers  ideas  inspiration  Managing_Your_Career  marriage  perspectives  role_models  sense_of_proportion  speeches  success  suffering  the_counsel_of_the_dead  time_horizons  transcendental  uncertainty  Wake_Forest  wide-framing  wisdom 
november 2009 by jerryking

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