Evolving Health

Monthly Archives: December 2010

I’ve had friends of mine try to get me into hydroponics before, but I haven’t ever been truly interested until today, when @TheEconomist tweeted links to these videos on “vertical farming,” the brainchild of Dickson Despommier, professor of public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia University. The magazine reports mainly on this urban-type agriculture as a way to bring local, sustainable food to places like New York City, the logistical problems,… Read More

Anyone who is keenly interested in having a better understanding of why we eat what we eat as human beings should take an hour or so to watch this introductory talk given by anthropologist Teresa Steele, of UC Davis, given at the California Academy of Sciences on the topic of evolution of the human diet. I found her talk fascinating, especially because I’ve been highly interested in how the use of fire and aquatic animals… Read More

Maintaining a healthy body mass index, or BMI, is one of the most important ways to help you live longer, according to a new study published in the December issue of New England Journal of Medicine. BMI is not a perfect measure, but it is one of the simplest for estimating body weight. It is calculated by weight in pounds divided by height in inches squared and multiplying the number by 703,… Read More

Gale Prince Food safety pioneer Gale Prince, the “Dean of safety recalls,” addressed a room full of food scientists at our local Cactus International Food Technologists (Cactus IFT) chapter dinner at the Fiesta Resort conference center in Tempe, Arizona. He spoke about food recall trends, how to enhance food safety progam, and gave us some details on the proposed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. He began his talk by introducing us to the growing number… Read More

Aubrey de Grey Next up at H+ @Caltech this afternoon was the famous and fast-talking Aubrey de Grey, who provided a response to previous talks by Michael Rose and Stephen Coles. This is my take as how I understood the arguments. It was, admittedly, a bit hard to follow. What we heard from Rose and Coles, explained de Grey, was that we have an exponential rise in deaths and then, we have what… Read More

Michael Rose, evolutionary biologist Michael Rose is an evolutionary biologist, of University of California at Irvine, who knows how to sum up the complexity of aging. He told us at H+ @ Caltech that aging is just a normal process of natural selection. It’s obviously a “big picture” view versus a cellular or molecular view. But to prove his point, he decided to trick natural selection and produce fruitflies that live five times… Read More

Stephen Coles “Death is an imposition on the human race and can no longer be tolerated” – Alan Harrington With Harrington’s quote, Stephen Coles opened his talk on whether or not there is a maximum limit to human lifespan at H+ @ Caltech in Los Angeles. As a biogerontologist, Coles studies old people, as well as old yeast, microscopic worms, flies and primates. Each of these species have lifespan limits, and, indeed, he answers, there is a maximum… Read More

Natasha Vita-More There have been quite a few interesting subjects discussed at H+ @ Caltech today regarding the future of the human experience in light of exponential increases of information, artificial intelligence and medical breakthroughs. But what’s to become of humanity’s long tradition of creating art and design that is used to express ourselves, as a way to communicate who we are, that exists as a projection of our own personas? This… Read More

Robert Tercek At H+ at Caltech (#hplus) this morning, Robert Tercek gave us an introduction to humanity as we know it and how a sudden increase of information will transform it forever. “The process of improving human life has always been governed by information,” Tercek said. Now we’re in this new information transformation age, or what he calls living in the era of B.S., or “before singularity.” Just as electricity, vaccines and plumbing once radically changed… Read More

Over the past decade, there has been tremendous excitement in the world of nutrition centered around the “sunshine vitamin” for its association with reducing risk of influenza, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, heart disease, and even some cancers such as prostate and breast cancer. However, this morning, the Institute of Medicine, of the National Academy of Sciences released new guidelines for vitamin D (and calcium) that will come as a disappointment to several researchers who consider the report too conservative to deal with a… Read More