Why we sleep the way we do

Who doesn’t love to sleep? The trouble is that some of us don’t do it very well, but perhaps that can be improved with a better understanding of sleep through evolution. If you’re lucky, you’ll spend a third of your life asleep. “That’s pretty incredible if you think about it, because when we’re asleep we’re not doingContinue reading “Why we sleep the way we do”

Why we should adopt a “zoobiquitous” approach to health

We are all animals. It’s a fact that may be unsettling for some, but for others it is a fountain of understanding and of inspiration. Since 1859, thanks to Charles Darwin, our place in the animal world has been firmly established. Yet, to this day, it is all too common within medicine (and nutrition) toContinue reading “Why we should adopt a “zoobiquitous” approach to health”

What a Komodo dragon can teach us about energy balance

Credit: San Diego Zoo Try telling a Komodo dragon that physical activity doesn’t matter and that all one needs to do to lose weight is eat a diet lower in carbohydrates. Meet Sunny, the obese Komodo dragon. Her San Diego Zoo keepers have put her on a strict diet based on her animal energy and metabolicContinue reading “What a Komodo dragon can teach us about energy balance”

Why lemurs get sick: A lesson for humans, too

Female blue-eyed lemur What lessons can humans learn from our far distant prosimian primate cousins about living well and eating a healthy diet? This was the question on my mind as I toured the Duke Lemur Center in Durham, North Carolina with colleagues attending Science Writers 2012. (Read Christie Wilcox’s full report about our tour overContinue reading “Why lemurs get sick: A lesson for humans, too”

Changes in genetic expression during weight loss and weight maintenance

by Amanda Jensen*  Losing weight is an ambition with no end. To get fit, live longer, reduce injury, look better, feel better and sleep better will pave the road toward your skinny. Yes, losing weight is known to help the heart and boost insulin sensitivity, but the question still asked is: how? There are differencesContinue reading “Changes in genetic expression during weight loss and weight maintenance”

Why a fat brain made us more vulnerable to heart disease

Natural selection granted us large brains. The evolutionary cost is having to feed them. The human brain’s high-energy demands led to development of a strong preference for fat. We consume more fat than any other primate on average. We are also adapted to more easily digest and metabolize fats. There are two major kinds ofContinue reading “Why a fat brain made us more vulnerable to heart disease”

Lindeberg: Focus on Food Choices, Bioactives, not Nutritionism

Dr. Lindeberg weighing a Kitavan man.  While training in family medicine, Staffan Lindeberg, M.D., Ph.D., read a paper (published in 1985) in the New England Journal of Medicine that would alter the course of his future research. It was entitled “Paleolithic Nutrition” and one of the authors was Boyd Eaton, M.D. It was about the same time Dr. Lindeberg had heard from a neighbor thatContinue reading “Lindeberg: Focus on Food Choices, Bioactives, not Nutritionism”

Wake up, Neo-evolution

What would you change about your own naturally evolved, naturally flawed body? Would you choose genetics to avoid diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer? Would you enhance your brain to increase memory and to boost creativity? Would you choose more fast-twitch muscle fibers to run faster or longer? Would you live longer? These are theContinue reading “Wake up, Neo-evolution”

Pornography in the Primordial Soup

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, andContinue reading “Pornography in the Primordial Soup”

Evolution of Lactose Tolerance in Africa

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 toleranceContinue reading “Evolution of Lactose Tolerance in Africa”