Family Dinner – the best first step we can take to be healthy and have great kids

For millions of years, we sat around a fire and eat meals and told stories. Laurie David reminds us of the power of this process to get our health back and to restore the health of our families as social units.

At the heart of the food and health revolution is a real cooked meal that is shared with the family.

Posted in A New Vision, Ancestry, Diet, Environments | Tagged ,

“Cancering” – It’s all about systems not one thing

An exceptional piece that sheds light on the systemic issues related to Cancer. As Michael points out in the 55 is the flaw in how we approach science – reductionism – this video shows how different medicine will be. Dr David Agus is the lead person here.

Posted in A New Vision, Context, Environments, Physiology, Resources, The New Science, The Science, Theses | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Rose offers the scientific context/framework for Ancestral Health

Science is a mess today as is medicine. Every day we hear a new this or that. Many hold very strong beliefs based on what? What was missing was a context for health. This is what Michael has offered us. And this is the problem that he can help us with: (Snip from Rob Wolff) He starts with his frustration with many of the public pontificators of health such as Dr Oz and Dr Melina of CNN – this is how he sums up their position…

“The paleo way of eating has transformed my life, healed many an ill. There is tons of science to back it, but evolution is just bunk…”

That friends, is what made me seriously consider scrapping this whole project.

Here are the things we are up against:

  1. Modern refined foods are both damn tasty AND likely addictive. It takes a serious desire for change to bypass these foods.
  2. Billions of dollars are spent in the marketing and advertising of these foods. We are assailed from every direction, every day.
  3. Our “medical experts” have agendas far removed from health. General Mills, Monsanto, Farm subsidies are all playing the background music of “dollars from heaven” for those willing so sell out.
  4. It’s not likely you will get an audience with the media if you are selling legitimate health. Faith-healers and “nutrition” bars, yes. Remedy for Multiple Sclerosis, no.
  5. When I, or people like me try to take the fight to these “people” (a term of endearment ala Al Swearengen seems more appropriate here…) I can expect less than 16% of America to have my back in this fight.Folks may think paleo eating is just ducky, but man did not come from ape.
  6. Without a comprehensive, epistemological base to stand upon, the medical community, academia etc. will continue pushing the same erroneous bull-shit. Without this epistemology based approach, we are reduced to what is effectively urban warfare, clearing house to house (“their” study vs “our” study) with no hope of winning or really changing things.

I know I’m going to piss-off and alienate some people but…this is the same character flaw that got me bounced from CrossFit. I knew that smart CF + paleo eating was saving lives. I tried like crazy to get the leadership to acknowledge that fact but you know how that turned out. So…

Here are two interestingly similar quotes:

“One need not believe in God to receive help from God.”

And

“One need not believe in science for science to work in our lives.”

Both are obviously belief systems. Science tries to “have all the answers” but never will. One place that certain science oriented people miss the boat is trying to bring science to bear on the question of faith or religion. By definition this is the realm of the supernatural and science is not well suited to comment on this topic. On the other hand we have religious doctrine which appears to be at odds with certain scientific concepts. Likely the most prominent modern case, that evolution is not a fact. In the past, religion felt set upon by the teachings of Galileo which conflicted with the view that the earth was the center of the universe. Science has largely won this argument,  although there are still people who believe in a Flat Earth. Might evolution see the same vindication? Galileo was put on house arrest for his ideas in the 1600′s. He was formerly exonerated by the church in 2000. I guess we can expect broad acceptance of evolution sometime in the 2360′s if we can use the first example as a guide.

At the end of the day, I do not give two-shits about this stuff relative to the desire to simply help people. I’ve meet too many people whose lives have either been transformed by this paleo diet concept to just let it drop. Here is a funny thing: as a non-religious, non-spiritual guy I feel a MORAL IMPERATIVE to help as many people as I can because I’m pretty sure I have information rattling between my ears that can save lives. I by no means have all the answers but a firefighter does not need to know the ins and outs of thermodynamics to save a family in a burning house. I (and most all of you) know enough about this paleo shtick to literally transform the world as we know it.

As a scientist I am forced to constantly reevaluate my belief system. When someone shows me something that helps people better than an evolutionary biology oriented approach to health and medicine, I’ll be the first person in the pool. Until then I’m going to push what I’ve seen to be the most beneficial, be it evolutionary biology or Libertarian economic ideas. It’d be nice to have y’all on the team because we have a serious scrap ahead of us and I do not expect Dr’s Oz or Melina aiding our cause.

Posted in "Paleo", A New Vision, Ancestry, Context, Diet, Forces of Natural Selection, The New Science, Theses | Tagged | 1 Comment

Michael Rose’s New Scientist Article – Aging can stop

Aging isn’t cumulative process of progressive chemical damage — it can stop

By Michael R. Rose, Published: September 6

In 1939, British statisticians Major Greenwood and J.O. Irwin published a little-noticed article in the journal Human Biology that contained a profoundly unexpected discovery. Greenwood and Irwin were studying mortality figures for women 93 and older. They expected to see the death rate rising with age, as it does throughout adult life. But they did not. Instead, between age 93 and 100, the acceleration in death rates came to a screeching stop. Little old ladies who were 99 were no more likely to die than those who were 93.

The authors were dismayed. “At first sight this must seem a preposterous speculation,” they wrote. After all, like every other respectable biologist of the time, they assumed that “decay must surely continue.”

But what if it doesn’t? What if aging stops? And if it stops very late in our lives, is there any way we can make it stop earlier, when we are in better health?

Dropping like flies

The fact of aging has been well known to biology and medicine from their earliest days. Aristotle wrote on the topic more than 2,300 years ago. Like pretty much every biologist since then, he thought of aging as a remorseless process of falling apart, until death finally puts us out of our misery.

Present molecular and cell theories of aging assume that aging is a physiological process involving some type of cumulative damage, disrepair or disharmony. The theories differ only over which kind of cumulative breakdown happens. Evolutionary biologists such as myself who work on aging likewise used to think that we were studying how natural selection might allow the cumulative damage to happen.

All that started to change in 1992, when the labs of Jim Carey at the University of California at Davis and Jim Curtsinger at the University of Minnesota independently published landmark articles in the journal Science.

Carey and Curtsinger studied not humans but those stalwarts of the lab, flies — hundreds of thousands of them. They kept groups of thousands of flies of the same age in carefully controlled conditions and meticulously recorded the death of every fly until the whole group was dead.

Amazingly, they found the same thing as Greenwood and Irwin. At first, the mortality rate increased exponentially. But after a few weeks, death rates stopped rising. Some of Carey’s results were breathtaking: Once death rates leveled off, there were months of stable or even declining death rates. It looked as if a relatively brief period of aging was followed by a long plateau when aging stopped. This time, everybody noticed.

Soon, other biologists were looking for signs of life after aging. To our collective astonishment, they were found in every laboratory experiment of sufficient size, whether flies, nematode worms or beetles. Admittedly, there aren’t many studies that have used large-enough cohorts to see the effect, and nobody has studied it in mice or other mammals. But that merely showed why we hadn’t noticed it before: Almost no one had thought to keep large enough cohorts to measure death rates at later ages accurately. Once we started doing experiments on the right scale, it was obvious that what Greenwood and Irwin found in their old ladies was generally true: Look late enough in the aging process and it seems to stop.

Changing hypotheses

For me, as an evolutionary biologist who had been working on aging for 15 years before 1992, confronting the Carey and Curtsinger results was like a near-death experience. My mind reeled.

At the time, my view of aging was informed by the work of the great evolutionary theorist William Hamilton. Hamilton reasoned that, in early life, any gene that kills an organism before it can reproduce will be ruthlessly weeded out by natural selection, since that individual will fail to leave offspring. But genes that kill later in life are not weeded out as rigorously, so they can hang around in the population. By this reckoning, aging evolved as a result of “declining forces of natural selection” as individuals get older.

Evolutionists universally interpreted this as proof that unrelenting aging was inevitable. Yet here we were with evidence that aging actually stopped.

I spent two uneasy years thinking about the problem. Then I had an idea; a hopeful speculation. What if our interpretation of Hamilton’s work was wrong? What if aging was actually caused by the declining forces of natural selection? If so, once these forces bottomed out, the aging process too would stop.

I did not have a full explanation — it was just an intuition. But I knew how to test it.

My colleague Larry Mueller is a gifted computer modeler and statistician, as well as an evolutionist. Plus, his office is next to mine. I asked him to run some computer models of the aging process incorporating this new interpretation of Hamilton’s mathematics. My hope was that under some circumstances, evolution might allow aging to stop late in life, at least theoretically.

In every case we ran, aging came to a stop.

So we decided to push the idea further. Could we predict the evolution of different stopping points for aging? Again, the answer was yes. It turned out that the last age at which a population is allowed to reproduce over many generations is key. If reproduction stops earlier, so too does aging. Stop reproduction later, and aging follows suit. So not only did we have a theory of why aging could stop, we could test it experimentally.

Now the burden was on me and my lab. Fortunately, I already had dozens of fly populations in which we had tightly controlled last ages of reproduction for hundreds of generations. We compared the aging patterns of these different populations in extremely large experiments featuring months of daily observations of many thousands of flies by hundreds of students.

The results were striking. Exactly as the models predicted, populations with an earlier last age of reproduction stopped aging earlier and lived longer, and vice versa.

A Superman effect?

That was encouraging, but it did not rule out another interpretation that Greenwood and Irwin offered in 1939. Perhaps the end of aging is an illusion caused by individual differences in robustness. In each population of flies, there are a few Supermen, a few Woody Allens and everything in between. The feeble die off first, leaving only the super-robust. These would be the sole survivors at later ages, making it look as if aging has sharply decelerated.

Biologists have been looking for this “lifelong heterogeneity” for years but have yet to find it. My doctoral student, Cassie Rauser, did a series of experiments but found only evidence against it. For now, only the model that Mueller and I proposed has significant experimental support.

We still don’t have a full explanation of the underlying genetics of the cessation of aging. One possibility is that there are genes that are advantageous early on but damaging to health later in life — an effect called “antagonistic pleiotropy.” We are making progress on this, but in any case the fruit fly experiments tell us that the effect is real.

We now understand that aging is not a cumulative process of progressive chemical damage, like rust. It is a pattern of declining function produced by evolution. Aristotle was wrong, and so are all the present-day biologists who try to explain aging in terms of biochemistry or cell biology alone.

Rose is a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of California, Irvine and a co-author of “Does Aging Stop?” This article was excerpted from a longer version published by New Scientist magazine, which can be found atwww.newscientist.com.

Posted in A New Vision, Aging, The New Science, The Science, Theses | Tagged , | 2 Comments

The Link between what we eat and our health

We are what we eat – a great film on this link

Posted in Diet, Environments, Evolutionary Novelty | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The Town of Allopath – a parable of the 55

Is Michael the wise man in the forest? Who are you in this story?

Posted in A New Vision

What foods did we evolve to eat?

“Great Apes and the Evolution of Human Diet” by Craig Stanford, PhD from Ancestry on Vimeo.

Here is Craig Stanford Director of the Goodall Institute talking about primate diets as a context for what our Paleo diet might have been like.

Posted in "Paleo", Context, Diet, Environments | Tagged