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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review

Studying ancient man to learn to prevent disease

By Faye Flam




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | (MCT) You walk into your bathroom, and the toilet paper roller is empty.

Health care as we know it didn't exist 3,000 years ago. But along the Georgia coast, the Pacific Northwest, and coastal Brazil, people grew tall and strong and lived relatively free of disease. They ate game, fish, shellfish and wild plants.

But as corn farming spread through various regions of the Americas, people got shorter. Many became prone to anemia and began dying of tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.

"It's counterintuitive — with agriculture, people should have been better nourished," said Emory University anthropologist George Armelagos. But a different story is emerging from studies of ancient bones and teeth as well as blood samples from isolated hunters and farmers.

Hunters, of course, were not exactly invulnerable. Their skeletons showed many fell prey to violence. But new evidence may overturn what we understood about the diseases that killed humans over the centuries and how those threats have changed in the modern world.

With prevention now being touted as a strategy to counter crushing health care costs, insights from the past could help us better understand whether we can really prevent disease and how to best go about it.

The latest effort is mapping health over at least the last 3,000 years across the globe. Although that study is just gearing up, the results are backing up earlier work showing that people were probably healthier 3,000 years ago than they were 300 years ago.

In Europe and America, health started to improve only recently — about 150 years ago — with safer food and better sanitation, and the rise of modern medicine.

"Our health conditions didn't pop out of nowhere," said Clark Spencer Larsen, an anthropologist at Ohio State University. "Our interest is in looking at the context for our health today."

Emory's Armelagos said this work might help settle debates over the so-called Paleolithic diets, which periodically become trendy, advocating little more than wild meat, seafood, a few nuts, and vegetables.

Did humans really evolve to eat this way, or has our species adapted to dairy products, domestic animals and grain?

A surprising amount of information can be gleaned from skeletons, said Larsen, so he and colleagues are studying 17,000 of them as part of the Global History of Health Project. They unveiled their first results, which covered Europe, this year.

The global project followed a similar one that compared different populations living in the Americas over the last 3,000 years.

That project showed that the rise of farming often came along with a fall in health. One common measure of health is height, said project leader Richard Steckel of Ohio State University. This can be approximated by thighbone length when researchers don't have complete skeletons. When people are poorly nourished, their children fail to grow to their full potential height.

People got shorter through most of the last 3,000 years, reaching the lowest point between the 1600s and late 1800s, Steckel said. That's when British philosopher Thomas Hobbes coined the phrase "nasty, brutish and short" to describe life before civilization.

Several other telltale signs on the bones show that farming populations often suffered from anemia and Vitamin B-12 deficiency. There was also more infectious disease — TB, for example.

Armelagos, who was not in the project, said it was not that surprising that infectious diseases would rise with farming since it allowed denser centers of populations. Humans have certainly always gotten sick, but disease was less likely to spread into epidemics when populations were sparse, he said.

With the rise of cities, crowding and exposure to human waste allowed disease to spread as never before. Raising animals also allowed new pathogens to jump to humans. Livestock hosted influenza, allowing the viruses to mutate and evolve, leading to ever more deadly pandemics.

And when farming of grains brought about greater quantities of food, he said, what people ate lacked certain nutrients — iron and Vitamin B-12, for example, whose effects show up in the bones and teeth.

The only health measure that was generally worse for hunter-gatherers was violence, said Ohio State's Steckel. Many of their skeletons had signs of injuries inflicted by other humans. Otzi, the 5,300-year-old "ice man" discovered frozen in the Alps, may have been typical. An analysis shows he was 45 years old and the cause of death was an arrow lodged in his shoulder.

Longevity will be harder to estimate — but more research may eventually reveal whether hunter-gatherers who avoided spears in the back lived longer than their farming counterparts.

Some clues may come from isolated pockets of modern people who still live more ancient lifestyles. This month, for example, a collaboration of gerontologists and anthropologists published a study on a remote group in Bolivia called the Tsimane.

These indigenous people got most of their food from growing rice and a starchy vegetable called manioc, with some added protein from game and fish.

They live in groups of 50 to 100 people with no sanitation, running water, electricity or modern medical care.

"This population lives in conditions as close to those of a historical population as we can get in the real world today," said team member Eileen Crimmins, a gerontologist from the University of Southern California.

For this study, the researchers focused on the concept of inflammation as an agent of our deterioration and aging. Though inflammation can help the body clear infections, it's also been associated with heart disease as well as cancer and Alzheimer's. One common signpost of inflammation is a substance called C-reactive protein or CRP.

The Tsimane CRP was so high that they appeared to be suffering sky-high inflammation levels — enough that they should be dropping dead from heart attacks. And yet they had very little evidence of heart disease or the sort of deterioration of the vascular system that appears to be almost inevitable among Western populations.

Working in their favor, most Tsimane had low body fat and low cholesterol, though they had unusually low levels of the "good" HDL cholesterol.

Their overall life expectancy is in the 40s, but the average is brought down by a high infant mortality rate, said collaborator Hillard Kaplan of the University of New Mexico. Those who reach adulthood usually live into their 60s or early 70s.

"What's really fascinating is that as different as our environments are, the schedule of life isn't all that different from ours," Kaplan said. "A 65-year-old Tsimane looks and acts pretty similar to a 65-year-old American."

But instead of dying from heart disease, the Tsimane die from infections. Kaplan suspects that fighting a relentless onslaught of infection eventually breaks down their immune systems by the time they reach 70.

Thomas McDade, an anthropologist from Northwestern University, recently discovered that Tsimane of the past may have benefited from traditional medicine. He found parents with the greatest traditional knowledge of local medicinal plants had the healthiest children. The sickest children belonged to those who had lost this knowledge.

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© 2009, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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