Evolving Health

Monthly Archives: May 2011

Aché man hunting. Credit: Wiki “So the bottom line is that foragers are often in good shape and they look it. They sprint, jog, climb, carry, jump, etc all day long but are not specialists.” The quote above is excerpted from a description given by anthropologist Kim Hill (whose work I’ve previously written about here) of his experience observing the behaviors of the Aché of Paraguay and the Hiwi of Venezuela. The ASU professor,… Read More

This Discovery Channel series “Neanderthal” presents a wonderful re-enactment of how Neandertals lived in small groups, how they hunted together, and how they ate. I was especially taken by how much we know about the way they used tools to butcher meat, scraped animal hides (by holding the hides in their teeth and face as a tool to spread the stress around the skull) for use in making clothing (shown in Part… Read More

An extra shot of espresso can surely help wake you up in the morning, but what does it mean for your blood pressure? It is well known that coffee’s caffeine content can raise blood pressure temporarily, especially in people who have hypertension. Could habitually drinking high amounts have long-term effects on blood pressure too? Java lovers will rejoice in a large study’s findings that more cups daily isn’t associated with increased risk… Read More

Charles Darwin (Credit: Wikimedia) Throughout most of Charles Darwin’s adult life, the famed author of On the Origin of Species struggled with repeated episodes of severe abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting that could last for hours at a time, often occurring about three hours after breakfast, and thought to have been brought on by times of emotional stress. England’s physicians of the time could not properly diagnose the syndrome of cyclic vomiting, although… Read More

My stand-up desk As bipedal apes, our bodies are meant for walking and running, which may have even been a catalyst for eventually bringing about the means of evolving larger brains. Physical activity is strongly linked to brain performance. The exercise boosts blood flow in the brain and improves our memory and cognitive function. Exercise acts like a trigger for the brain saying, “It’s time to be alert, find food, survive.” Exercise… Read More

In the United States, the number of obese older adults has reached disturbing heights—now affecting approximately 20 percent of those ages 65 and older—and is only expected to rise as more Baby Boomers become senior citizens. Weight loss through calories reduction or exercise are generally good for most people as an intervention in obesity, although the appropriateness of these methods has historically been a matter of controversy in older, obese adults. A… Read More

Advances in medicine are allowing us to live longer than ever, but with our older age comes a greater risk that our organs will fail us. In fact, the shortage of organs available for transplant increases by the day, according to Anthony Atala who spoke at TEDMED. In his talk, posted in March, Atala presents developments in regenerative medicine including new devices that use the same technology of scanners, fax, copy machines… Read More

Photosimulation montages of “Nutcracker Man’s” dental microwear. Reference: Ungar et al. PLoS One 2008.  Because of a huge jaw and large, flat molars, Paranthrapus boisei was nicknamed Nutcracker Man and thought to have eaten a diet comprised largely of hard nuts and seeds. But, it turns out, the hominin species who in evolutionary terms has been likened to our great uncle was more likely to have eaten soft fruits, leaves and grass, according to carbon stable isotope data… Read More

Michael Ruse Why were the great Greek philosophers (including Plato and Aristotle) firmly set against the idea of natural origins? Why were they so adamant that natural origins were impossible? According to Michael Ruse, a philosopher of biology at Florida State University, the reason is the problem of “final causes.” Aristotle, for example, “could not see how something like this could come about through blind law,” said Ruse in a lecture given… Read More

Low-dose supplementation of resveratrol daily may reduce oxidative stress and improve the body’s sensitivity to insulin, a study from University of Pecs in Hungary suggests. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, Hungarian researchers report observations that people with type 2 diabetes who take 5 milligrams of resveratrol twice daily improved their sensitivity to insulin after only our weeks. “The present study shows for the first time… Read More