Friday, 1 August 2014

Dairy Farming 2500BC

Looks like dairy farming is much older than previously thought according to the Proceedings of the Royal Society B,
  • "By analysing the traces of food left caked in ancient pottery, researchers have revealed that Neolithic settlers in Finland may have been consuming dairy foods as early as 2500 BC.
    Since the end of the last Ice Age 12000 years ago northern latitudes have been settled by humans. For millennia these people survived on fishing, hunting and gathering. Early Neolithic settlers in Northern Europe had begun establishing farming economies across Britain and southern Norway, thanks to the warming effect of the Gulf Stream. However, some researchers doubt whether further North in Finland, where the climate was more extreme, farming was being practised as early.

    The researchers behind this paper set out to establish the diets of early Finnish cultures by analysing preserved lipid molecules caked onto pottery recovered from sites in Finland. The pottery includes piece of Comb Ware pots from around 3900-3300 BC, Corded Ware vessels from around 2500 BC, Kiukainen ceramics from between 1500 and 2300 BC and Early Metal Age pottery from 1200-500 BC. By analysing food residues left embedded in the pottery the team can determine what sorts of diets these Neolithic cultures may have had."
 I certainly don't shy away from it, enjoying goats cheese in particular in an episodic faschion, and some milk in coffee most days.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Food Unwrapped

I've not been following the 'Food Unwrapped' series, but I did catch this episode (series 4, episode3), featuring black pudding.
  • One of Jimmy's old favourites is black pudding. He learns about the amazing properties of blood and discovers how it's becoming trendy in gastronomy. Could desserts like pavlova be made from no-egg blood meringues?

I am a big fan of black pudding but what I found rather inspiring is the news that blood can be used as a substitute for egg!  The possibilities are endless (and distinctly 'faleo', but damn, if you are going to eat junk, what a way to do it).

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Researchers Recommend Carb Restriction as Primary Method of Diabetes Control

Researchers recommend carb restriction as primary method of diabetes control:
  • A multinational team of researchers has put forward a comprehensive case for recommending dietary carbohydrate restriction as the default intervention in managing diabetes mellitus.

    The critical review, which has been published online by the Nutrition Journal, presents 12 points to support the use of a low carbohydrate diet in people with type 2 and type 1 diabetes. In people with type 2 diabetes, the review recommends a low carbohydrate diet as the first intervention. In type 1 diabetes, a low carb diet is advised as the default diet in addition to taking insulin.
You have to appreciate this simply from the positon of a non-pharmacological, medicinal intervention!

Friday, 25 July 2014

After-Work Wild Swim

After a hot week in the office, a little detour en route home to swim in a river!

I only seems a short time since I last posted about this fantastic swimming location. Time flies eh? 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Overtreatment and Waste

Aseem Malhotra has written a good piece in today's Observer on Stressful Hospital Syndrome and waste and over-treatment in medicine,
  • As a profession we have also been guilty – unwittingly or otherwise – of exaggerating the benefits of medications often perceived as magic pills by patients when their benefits are often modest at best. This also detracts from more meaningful lifestyle interventions by giving the public the illusion of protection.
He is quite stinging in his criticism (and in my opinion, accurate).  He also offers a source of solution,
  • In an effort to curb the unsustainable healthcare costs, estimated to reach a staggering $4.6trn by 2020, a campaign known as Choosing Wisely is gaining momentum in the US. Part of the campaign involves communicating with patients that more expensive medicine doesn't necessarily mean better medicine. And this is reflected by the evidence that four fifths of new drugs are later found to be copies of old onesnot surprising perhaps when pharmaceutical companies spend twice as much on marketing new medications as on research.
 As always, follow the money, especially when YOU are the source of the gain for others!

"Stressful Hospital" Syndrome

What is  interesting in this article is that many of the drivers are arguably endemic in the daily life of many of us:
  • Nearly one fifth of Medicare patients discharged from a hospital — approximately 2.6 million seniors — have an acute medical problem within the subsequent 30 days that necessitates another hospitalization. These recently discharged patients have heightened risks of myriad conditions, many of which appear to have little in common with the initial diagnosis. For example, among patients admitted for treatment of heart failure, pneumonia, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the cause of readmission is the same as that of the index admission for only 37%, 29%, and 36%, respectively.1 The causes of readmission, regardless of the original admitting diagnosis, commonly include heart failure, pneumonia, COPD, infection, gastrointestinal conditions, mental illness, metabolic derangements, and trauma Proportions of Rehospitalizations for Causes Other Than the Condition at Initial Discharge.). The breadth of these readmission diagnoses has been shown in studies using administrative claims and those using chart reviews. Thus, this observation is not likely to be merely the result of variation in coding. Further evidence of the distinctiveness of this syndrome is that information about the severity of the original acute illness predicts poorly which patients will have an adverse medical event soon after discharge and require readmission.

    How might the post-hospital syndrome emerge? Hospitalized patients are not only enduring an acute illness, which can markedly perturb physiological systems, but are experiencing substantial stress. During hospitalization, patients are commonly deprived of sleep, experience disruption of normal circadian rhythms, are nourished poorly, have pain and discomfort, confront a baffling array of mentally challenging situations, receive medications that can alter cognition and physical function, and become deconditioned by bed rest or inactivity. Each of these perturbations can adversely affect health and contribute to substantial impairments during the early recovery period, an inability to fend off disease, and susceptibility to mental error.
These drivers will be familiar to those who hang around the paleosphere.  Think 'resilience' when attempting to improve your health (adaptability trumps 'adapted'), the foundations of which are laid down by attention to sleep, nutrition, exercise and stress levels.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Obesity; More Than Just 'Calories'?

It would appear that simply cutting out 'calories in' via radical surgery isn't properly understood.  It is premised on a naive 'mechanical' model and the results/success achieved are inconsistent.  But now,
  • ...a slew of high-profile animal studies is identifying potential mechanisms in how the gut adapts to its strange new configuration: with sweeping changes in bacterial populations, bile acids, hormone secretions and tissue growth. The hope is that more research on what happens after bariatric surgery will enable physicians to identify who will respond best — and even lead to ways of altering metabolism without resorting to the knife.

Get a load of that last line!  Who'da thunk it?

When we look after/keep animals and plants, no one questions the wisdom of subjecting them to conditions similar to their 'ancestral' past.  Yet we assume our own inherent adaptability means we can subject ourselves to incredibly novel foods and physical environments with little detriment to our health.