Evolving Health

Monthly Archives: February 2011

Panel of scientists debate on “What is Life?” Sometime between 4 and 3.5 billion years ago, the emergence of life had intense beginnings on a young planet in the midst of a so-called primordial soup—consisting of water vapor, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and ammonia and shaped by strong winds, electrical storms, volcanic eruptions, and ultraviolet radiation. In 1953, Stanley Miller and Harold Urey put Earth’s primitive conditions to test for the… Read More

Sarah Tishkoff Most African populations have lactose intolerance, but as recently as 3 kya a few pastoral populations have gained the ability to digest milk, which provides evidence of yet another example of ongoing evolution in human population since the time of their origins. Sarah Tishkoff has been studying this phenomenon of recent lactose tolerance in African pastoralist populations. She shared her findings on Sunday morning at #AAASmtg in Washington DC. The… Read More

Nina Jablonsky On Sunday morning at #AAASmtg in Washington DC, Nina Jablonski talked to use about human skin pigmentation as an example of natural selection. “Human skin is colorful, it’s mostly naked, it’s sweaty, and it’s tough yet sensitive,” Jablonski said. The gradient of human skin pigmentation is very clear in the old world, as it’s lighter in the northern countries and darker in Africa. But why did human skin pigmentation evolve as it… Read More

Photo credit: Sara Fulcher on Flickr Where can we find a cure for cancer, new semiconductor technology, or the solution for turning waste plant materials into biofuels? The answer is enzymes that are produced through “directed evolution,” according to Frances H. Arnold, professor of chemical engineering and biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Arnold’s lab doesn’t synthesize enzymes as other labs do. She and her team “evolve them” toward a certain… Read More

Anna Di Rienzo Humans originated in Africa and then dispersed all over the world to environments that differ in terms of climate, biodiversity, etc, which has brought selective pressures on different populations. At #AAASmtg in Washington DC on Saturday, Anna Di Rienzo presented her research on the how this dispersal has left signatures of adaptation to the pressures. Here are my notes from the talk. The “Out of Africa” theory has it that… Read More

Note: Vitamin C is fascinating topic and there’s no better way to understand it than through the eyes of my boss, Dr. Rockway. I’m glad I had the pleasure of editing her article and posting it here. David By Susie Rockway, Ph.D. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid (ascorbate), is the most frequently taken dietary supplement in North America. Yet, despite its widespread use, national surveys report that 15 percent of the population still doesn’t get… Read More

Listen up, men! On this Valentine’s Day, why not surprise your special lady with chocolates that are healthier for her heart? Dark chocolate eaten in moderate amounts weekly is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness in women, research suggests. Scientists are only beginning to understand why dark chocolate is heart healthy, but a new study offers this explanation—its rich content of cocoa antioxidant compounds, called polyphenols, could enhance activity of special proteins called… Read More