Category Archives: Uncategorized

For How Long Did Neanderthals Breast-Feed?

For 5-6 months.

Now aren’t you glad you read this blog? Where else you gonna get this vital info?

The discovery is based on dental analysis of a whopping three Neanderthals found in Italy.

The early onset of weaning in modern humans has been linked to the high nutritional demand of brain development that is intimately connected with infant physiology and growth rate. In Neanderthals, ontogenetic patterns in early life are still debated, with some studies suggesting an accelerated development and others indicating only subtle differences vs. modern humans. Here we report the onset of weaning and rates of enamel growth using an unprecedented sample set of three late (∼70 to 50 ka) Neanderthals and one Upper Paleolithic modern human from northeastern Italy via spatially resolved chemical/isotopic analyses and histomorphometry of deciduous teeth. Our results reveal that the modern human nursing strategy, with onset of weaning at 5 to 6 mo, was present among these Neanderthals. This evidence, combined with dental development akin to modern humans, highlights their similar metabolic constraints during early life and excludes late weaning as a factor contributing to Neanderthals’ demise.

Source: Early life of Neanderthals – PubMed

Steve Parker, M.D.

Managing Diabetes on Sick Days

home glucose monitor, diabetes
How old is this device?

For folks taking insulin, Diabetes Daily has a good article by endocrinologist Dr Francine Kaufman. An excerpt:

Everyone with diabetes who takes insulin needs to have a sick day plan. This is something you develop with your healthcare professional to help you manage the high and low sugar levels that can be associated with an illness. The following advice applies to people with type 1 diabetes and people with type 2 diabetes who take insulin – the advice may be different if you have type 2 diabetes and do not take insulin.

Here’s what’s covered in the article:

  • Track your important numbers in a sick log
  • Glucose levels
  • Ketone levels
  • Temperature
  • Fluid intake
  • Urination
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration
  • Insulin, amount and time
  • Medications

Key messages from Dr. Kaufman

When you get sick, you are at risk of becoming dehydrated from poor intake or from excessive loss of fluids due to nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever (your body may lose more water when you have a high temperature). In addition, dehydration is common in diabetes because high glucose levels (above 180-200 mg/dL) cause sugar to enter your urine, dragging an excess amount of fluid with it. Illness also puts you at risk of developing ketones, which when coupled with high glucose levels can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a very serious condition. How do you know if you have ketones? Good question, click here!

The purpose of your sick day plan is to try to keep your glucose levels in a safe range – to avoid dehydration and to prevent ketones from rising to a dangerous level.

Source: Zoning in on Sick Day Management: Practical Tips, Strategies, and Advice – Diabetes Daily

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: Avoid the medical-industrial complex by getting and staying as healthy as possible. Let me help:

Are We Eff’d Up Due to Electric Light at Night?

No electricity

From the Journal of Pineal Research:

Key to the transition of humans from nomadic hunting-gathering groups to industrialized and highly urbanized societies was the creation of protected and artificially lit environments that extended the natural daylight hours and consolidated sleep away from nocturnal threats. These conditions isolated humans from the natural regulators of sleep and exposed them higher levels of light during the evening, which are associated with a later sleep onset. Here we investigated the extent to which this delayed timing of sleep is due to a delayed circadian system. We studied two communities of Toba/Qom Argentina, one with and the other without access to electricity. These communities have recently transitioned from a hunting-gathering subsistence to mixed subsistence systems and represent a unique model in which to study the potential effects of the access to artificial light on sleep physiology. We have previously shown that participants in the community with access to electricity had, compared to participants in the community without electricity, later sleep onsets and shorter sleep bouts. Here we show they also have a delayed dim light melatonin onset (DLMO). This difference is present during the winter but not during the spring when the influence of evening artificial light is likely less relevant. Our results support the notion that the human transition into artificially lit environments had a major impact on physiological systems that regulate sleep timing, including the phase of the master circadian clock.

Source: Access to electric light is associated with delays of the dim light melatonin onset in a traditionally hunter-gatherer Toba/Qom community – PubMed

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Steve Cooksey Returns to Full Carnivore Diet for Diabetes

Carnivore diet, but not raw

At Diabetes Warrior:

In this post I will be discussing my latest experiment. I am calling it “Diabetic Carnivore 2.0”. It’s 2.0 because I went ‘full-carnivore’ in 2017 for about three years, before tapering off earlier in 2020.

I’ll answer these questions in this post:

1) What is a carnivore in the context of this dietary experiment?
2) Why am I going ‘full-carnivore’ again?

*  *  *

Had we only grown lower carb, leafy green vegetables in our garden, I’d still be eating them probably … but we didn’t. We also grew higher carb vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, beets, turnips, onions and carrots.

We started out eating collards, chard and turnip green salads … all was well. Then I began easing turnips, carrots, beets, and tomatoes into our slaw. Small portions at first… but then the ‘carb creep’ happened. I would add more and more of the sugary, starchy veggies and fruits to the slaw, as well as eat more and more of them.

I only tracked my daily intake of carbs from the vegetables and fruits once. That one day, my carb totals were in the 70 gram range! Not a lot compared to ‘Standard American Diet’ but a lot compared to my typical ‘near zero carb’ meal plan.

Just like a previous high carb experiment (see this post, “Very Low Fat (and high carb) Experiment“), my body handled the sugar and starches from the vegetables pretty well at first but then the fasting blood sugars began to creep up.

Read on to see the connection to COVID-19.

In case you’re wondering, a carnivore diet is not a typical paleo diet.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Multiple Sclerosis and the Paleo Diet

Not Dr Terry Wahls

From a recent scientific article:

Preliminary studies suggest that a modified Paleolithic diet may benefit symptoms of fatigue in progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). However, this diet restricts the consumption of eggs, dairy, and gluten-containing grains, which may increase the risk of micronutrient deficiencies. Therefore, we evaluated the nutritional safety of this diet among people with progressive MS. Three nonconsecutive 24-h dietary recalls were collected from (n = 19) progressive MS participants in the final months of a diet intervention study and analyzed using Nutrition Data System for Research (NDSR) software. Food group intake was calculated, and intake of micronutrients was evaluated and compared to individual recommendations using Nutrient Adequacy Ratios (NARs). Blood was drawn at baseline and the end of the study to evaluate biomarker changes. Mean intake of fruits and vegetables exceeded nine servings/day and most participants excluded food groups. The intake of all micronutrients from food were above 100% NAR except for vitamin D (29.6 ± 34.6%), choline (73.2 ± 27.2%), and calcium (60.3 ± 22.8%), and one participant (1/19) exceeded the Tolerable Upper Limit (UL) for zinc, one (1/19) for vitamin A, and 37% (7/19) exceeded the chronic disease risk reduction (CDRR) for sodium. When intake from supplements was included in the analysis, several individuals exceeded ULs for magnesium (5/19), zinc (2/19), sodium (7/19), and vitamins A (2/19), D (9/19), C (1/19), B6 (3/19), and niacin (10/19). Serum values of vitamins D, B12, K1, K2, and folate significantly increased compared to respective baseline values, while homocysteine and magnesium values were significantly lower at 12 months. Calcium and vitamin A serum levels did not change. This modified Paleolithic diet is associated with minimal nutritional risks. However, excessive intake from supplements may be of concern

Source: Eating Pattern and Nutritional Risks Among People With Multiple Sclerosis Following a Modified Paleolithic Diet – PubMed

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How Did Paleolithic Man Trim His Nails?

He had no modern shoe, gloves, or paring knives.

From Science ABC:

Before humans developed blades or social expectations of hygiene, how did we handle the inexorably growing nails at the ends of our fingers?

The answer to this question is quite simple… the fingernails probably took care of themselves. Fingernails are largely made up of keratin, a hardened protein that is also found in the skin and hair. While keratin is hardy and durable, it is far from unbreakable, as any woman with a chipped nail will attest. Similarly, when you clip your nails with any of the clippers explained above, there is some resistance, but they are relatively easy to snip off.

Now, think back 100,000 years, when early humans behaved as hunter-gatherers, engaging in physically demanding activities to survive. Over the course of their normal days, they may have been digging tubers out of the ground, sharpening a rudimentary spear, carrying temporary shelters or trying to start a fire. With all of this manual labor, it is believed that the fingernails would have naturally been worn down and chipped away. The daily demands of survival would have kept the fingernails from growing to unruly or unmanageable lengths. As mentioned above, we see this passive maintenance in other species as well, such as dogs that are often walked on pavement, which gradually wears down their nails, thus requiring fewer nail trimmings at the vet.If the fingernails of these early humans did break or chip, they likely solved the problem as we do today—giving them a nibble and maybe tugging off the occasional irritating hangnail. Again, we see this same behavior in other species who lick at, soften, and bite their nails when they grow too long.

The tribal elites probably didn’t to as much physical labor as the proletarians. so I imaging they and others could have used flat rocks as nail files.

The linked article covers nail trimming over the last 10,000 years, too.

Source: How did ancient people cut their nails before the nail clipper was invented?

Steve Parker, M.D.

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For Type 2 Diabetes, Gastric Bypass May Improve Cardiac and Renal Outcomes

Steve Parker MD, bariatric surgery, gastric bypass

Band Gastric Bypass Surgery

From a recent Diabetes Care article:

Our data suggest robust benefits for renal outcomes, heart failure, and CV [cardiovascular] mortality after GBP [gastric bypass] in individuals with obesity and T2DM. These results suggest that marked weight loss yields important benefits, particularly on the cardiorenal axis (including slowing progression to end-stage renal disease), whatever the baseline renal function status.

Source: Renal and Cardiovascular Outcomes After Weight Loss From Gastric Bypass Surgery in Type 2 Diabetes: Cardiorenal Risk Reductions Exceed Atherosclerotic Benefits | Diabetes Care

Because of the risk of surgery, I’d make sure first that diet modification was seriously tried and failed.

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Why Does Body Size Vary Geographically?

Paleo diet proponents may be interested in the article below. I new that Norwegians tended to be very tall, but didn’t know that folks from the Netherlands and Balkan countries were taller.

I don’t know much about deer and elk hunting, but my impression is that colder climates tend to produce to larger animals.

Much larger than Coue’s deer we have in hot Arizona

Abstract:

Humans show marked variation in body size around the world, both within and among populations. At present, the tallest people in the world are from the Netherlands and the Balkan countries, while the shortest populations are central African Pygmies. There are genetic, genetic plasticity, developmental, and environmental bases for size variation in Homo sapiens from the recent past and the present. Early populations of Homo species also have shown considerable size variation. Populations from the present and the past are also marked by sexual dimorphism, which, itself, shows group variation. There is abundant evidence for the effects of limited food and disease on human growth and resultant adult body size. This environmental influence has been reflected in “secular trends” (over a span of years) in growth and adult size from socioeconomic prosperity or poverty (availability of resources). Selective and evolutionary advantages of small or large body size also have been documented. Heritability for human height is relatively great with current genome-wide association studies (GWAS) identifying hundreds of genes leading to causes of growth and adult size variation. There are also endocrinological pathways limiting growth. An example is the reduced tissue sensitivity to human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) in Philippine and African hunter-gatherer populations. In several short-statured hunter-gatherer populations (Asian, African, and South American), it has been hypothesized that short life expectancy has selected for early maturity and truncated growth to enhance fertility. Some island populations of humans and other mammals are thought to have been selected for small size because of limited resources, especially protein. The high-protein content of milk as a staple food may contribute to tall stature in East African pastoral peoples. These and other evolutionary questions linked to life history, male competition, reproduction, and mobility are explored in this paper.

Source: Evolutionary Strategies for Body Size. – PubMed – NCBI

Steve Parker, M.D.

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Would We Be Healthier If We Imitated the Resting Postures of Hunter-Gatherers?     #squatting

Should she be squatting instead? Is sitting the new smoking?

An abstract from Science Advances:

Recent work suggests human physiology is not well adapted to prolonged periods of inactivity, with time spent sitting increasing cardiovascular disease and mortality risk. Health risks from sitting are generally linked with reduced levels of muscle contractions in chair-sitting postures and associated reductions in muscle metabolism. These inactivity-associated health risks are somewhat paradoxical, since evolutionary pressures tend to favor energy-minimizing strategies, including rest. Here, we examined inactivity in a hunter-gatherer population (the Hadza of Tanzania) to understand how sedentary behaviors occur in a nonindustrial economic context more typical of humans’ evolutionary history. We tested the hypothesis that nonambulatory rest in hunter-gatherers involves increased muscle activity that is different from chair-sitting sedentary postures used in industrialized populations. Using a combination of objectively measured inactivity from thigh-worn accelerometers, observational data, and electromygraphic data, we show that hunter-gatherers have high levels of total nonambulatory time (mean ± SD = 9.90 ± 2.36 h/d), similar to those found in industrialized populations. However, nonambulatory time in Hadza adults often occurs in postures like squatting, and we show that these “active rest” postures require higher levels of lower limb muscle activity than chair sitting. Based on our results, we introduce the Inactivity Mismatch Hypothesis and propose that human physiology is likely adapted to more consistently active muscles derived from both physical activity and from nonambulatory postures with higher levels of muscle contraction. Interventions built on this model may help reduce the negative health impacts of inactivity in industrialized populations.

Source: Sitting, squatting, and the evolutionary biology of human inactivity. – PubMed – NCBI

Weight-Loss Pill Lorcaserin Linked to Cancer

From the U.S. Food and Drug Administration:

ISSUE: FDA has requested that the manufacturer of Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) voluntarily withdraw the weight-loss drug from the U.S. market because a safety clinical trial shows an increased occurrence of cancer. The drug manufacturer, Eisai Inc,. has submitted a request to voluntarily withdraw the drug. When FDA approved lorcaserin in 2012, we required the drug manufacturer to conduct a clinical trial to evaluate the risk of cardiovascular problems. A range of cancer types was reported, with several different types of cancers occurring more frequently in the lorcaserin group, including pancreatic, colorectal, and lung.

BACKGROUND: In January 2020, FDA announced we were reviewing clinical trial data and alerted the public about a possible risk of cancer associated with lorcaserin based on preliminary analysis of the data.

RECOMMENDATION: PatientsPatients should stop taking lorcaserin and talk to your health professionals about alternative weight-loss medicines and weight management programs.

Source: Belviq, Belviq XR (lorcaserin) by Eisai: Drug Safety Communication – FDA Requests Withdrawal of Weight-Loss Drug | FDA

Steve Parker, M.D.

PS: I think there are better alternatives to pills for weight loss.

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