Do Intestinal Parasites Help Prevent Atherosclerosis?

A trio of Indian researchers suggest a new hypothesis to explain the modern pandemic of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). They repeat the notion that atherosclerosis is uncommon in modern hunter-gatherers. But why?

Reviewing evolution-linked risk factors suggests that there are four aspects to the etiology of atherosclerosis namely, decreased intestinal parasitism, oversensitivity of evolutionarily redundant mast cells, chronic underactivation of AMPK (cellular energy sensor) and a deficiency of vitamin D. A combination of these four causes appear to have precipitated the atherosclerosis pandemic in modern times.

Click for the abstract. Pretty far out stuff. I haven’t read the full article. The authors are in the Departments of Pharmacology and Pharmacy Practice.

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