Understanding The Stages Of Alzheimer's Disease

A person?s mental and physical abilities deteriorate as he progresses through various stages of Alzheimer?s disease. However, the way the disease manifests can vary quite widely from one person to another.

Knowing about Alzheimer?s stages can help the caregivers plan for and cope with the disease better. The following is based on Dr. Reisberg?s study which divides the disease into seven stages.

Stage 1: This is when no symptom of the disease is manifest and full mental and physical functions are retained.

Stage 2: At this stage, there is some loss of memory and the person may forget names of friends and family at times. The person is full aware that his mental functions are declining. This is often mistaken to be the result of normal ageing processes rather than as the beginning of Alzheimer?s disease.

Stage 3: This is still an early stage of the disease, but the symptoms are more noticeable now. The sufferer may go into denial. There is an inability to concentrate on tasks and performance at work may deteriorate.

The person becomes more anxious. They get lost quite easily in unfamiliar territory. Misplacing objects is quite common at this stage. Their ability to remember recently acquired information deteriorates.

Stage 4: At this stage, the person can?t perform complex tasks on his own. Examples include filing tax returns or handling finances in general. As a way out, they may want to avoid such situations altogether.

The ability to concentrate deteriorates further and so does memory. They may not be able to remember some events in their lives. Mood swings are common.

Stage 5: Now the patients will need assistance in ordinary tasks like picking appropriate clothes to wear. They may be unable to remember parts of their lives, although they will still remember basic information about themselves, their family and some friends.

Their sense of time begins to deteriorate as well.

Stage 6: This is a moderate to severe stage of Alzheimer?s disease. Forgetfulness accelerates and they may not even remember the name of their spouse. Large chunks of their lives are forgotten.

They definitely need help to cope with routine activities like bathing, dressing, etc. Incontinence may set in at this stage. Their sleep patterns may be disturbed.

Their personality will likely undergo a complete change. They may become violent or exhibit obsessive behaviour.

Stage 7: This is severe Alzheimer?s disease. The ability to speak is limited to less than a dozen words. They may lose the ability to walk, sit up or even hold their head up. This is a stage where the brain is apparently incapable of directing the body.

These stages of Alzheimer?s disease may occur differently in various individuals. What is described above is a composite picture that can help to understand how a person?s faculties diminish with the progress of Alzheimer?s disease.

Jane Peters is a researcher and has written on several topics. For must-have articles on Alzheimer's stages and other facts on Alzheimer's syndrome, see the foregoing links.

Embarrassed By The Dirty Talk? The Importance of Maintaining a Clean Colon

Americans have the highest rate of colon-rectal cancer of any nation in the world. It is now accounted for more deaths of Americans than ever before in history. Many people think it's a dirty subject and some think it's embarrassing, but cancer and death are worse. Maintaining the health of your colon can help to significantly improve your overall health and limit the occurrence of constipation and diarrhea.

What Is The Colon?

In anatomy of the human body's digestive system, the colon, also called the large intestine or large bowel, is the part of the intestine from the cecum to the rectum. It plays an important role in the body, because it rids our system of toxins, fecal matter and waste while absorbing water and nutrients. One will find a very delicate balance of bacteria in the colon, which assist it in its processes. If this balance is disturbed out of sorts, normal colon functioning can be inhibited.

Health Issues Promoted By Slow Digestive Transit Time

Reports show that the food we ingest should have a transit time through our body of less than twenty-four hours. Under active bowels create a disease-friendly environment in the colon. The slower transit time allows toxins to penetrate the bowel wall and pass to the blood system, eventually spreading throughout the body. This can cause a weakened immune state, which leads to quicker development of major diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many others. Even with one bowel movement per day, you will still have at least three meals worth of waste matter putrefying in your colon at all times. Even worse, your digestive system can also become continuously self-polluting cauldron of poisonous gases that are caused by foods you can't tolerate. Think about the potential ill effects that wait someone with an under active colon! These poisonous gases can enter your bloodstream, irritating your organs and joints. Certainly this is a prospect not any of us want to have to deal with.

Why Is Your Colon Under Functioning?

Many factors lead to an under functioning colon, such as diet, stress, drugs and chemicals. When the colon is irritated, it produces mucus to protect itself, which can bind with food residues and become hardened, sticking to colon walls. Symptoms associated with a clogged colon include diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, headache, spots, poor skin, muscle and joint aches, and depression or emotional instability. Food trapped in the colon breeds bacteria and other parasites.

Improving Your Health

A regular colon cleansing is practiced by millions of people for different reasons. Many people choose to proactively clean their colons because of lifestyle factors (past and present), such as eating red meat, drinking alcohol, coffee or soda, eating too many dairy products or junk food, smoking, or not exercising. Others choose to clean their colons because they are overweight. While others cleanse their colon as an effective means to preventative care.

Reported benefits of cleaning the colon include weight loss, better mental health, improved digestion and nutrient absorption, better memory, regular bowel movements, reduced gas and food sensitivities, a reduction of toxins, increased energy. Additional Benefits of Colon Cleansing:

?Increased energy levels
?Clearer skin
?Improved concentration
?Better absorption of vitamins and minerals from foods
?Overall healthful feeling

Methods To Cleansing Your Colon

There are several methods that you can use to cleanse the colon, such as colon hydrotherapy, laxatives, colonic fasting diets, and nutritional supplements. One very popular herbal colon cleansing system is Colpurin?. The product is unique in that it is an oxygen-based formula that will soften and remove toxins and hardened fecal matter from the system. Clinical studies have shown that Colpurin? may decrease the risks of developing certain health problems by boosting the body's immune system. Why is this important? The body's immune system is the first line of defense against almost all infections and diseases. If your body has a strong immune system you will be less prone to infection. Pretty astonishing news for those with an under functioning colon.

The purpose of the cleanse is to remove the toxins from the fat, muscle, blood, and internal organs, that have accumulated naturally over a period of years. This is how you prevent disease. When you do a cleanse, you loosen up and flush out this accumulated waste and poison, and it has to flow out of the elimination channels, especially the colon and kidneys. Clean organs means good health and the bowel is the best place to begin.

Jill Steiger is a health writer and published author. Many of her articles can be found at: http://www.homeopathyhome.com/

Diet Support How To Find A Weight Loss Buddy Online

Making a conscious effort to lose weight and to keep it off takes an incredible amount of will power and focus, especially in today?s times where expediency is king and immediate results are to be wrongly expected. Luckily, there is now hope for those that feel that a successful and sustainable weight loss is just too hard to tackle alone. Weight loss buddies are becoming increasingly more common in today?s fitness community. Weight loss buddies are typically motivators that are extremely dedicated to losing weight as well and they make sure that when you have your defeated moments, that you stick with it. This could be your closest friend or someone you found via the internet with similar goals that is willing to help. The bottom line is support and teamwork, not passing judgment. Go to any legitimate weight loss forum and you?ll see threads leading members to weight loss buddies in their area. However, you could start your very own weight loss support group, so consider that an option of none of the other outlets look too promising.

Even Dr. Phil McGraw?s messageboard provides visitors to his site with information on how to find weight loss buddies in the area. Some sites, such as the highly recommended ?Weightlossbuddy.com? break down their approach three-way. First, over the course of three months the adherent will receive 12 weekly activities based upon the ideas found in the critically acclaimed book, Changing For Good by Drs. J. Prochaska, J. Norcross, and C. DiClemente. Many of the prescribed activities deal with behavioral control, which many believe needs to be addressed in order for a permanent and healthful change to occur. Secondly, the site gives you your own private ?Personal Page? where you can be away from your teammates in order to ask an expert a question or add entries to your own diary. Lastly, one is given a ?Team Page? when you form a team, which, in turn, only those within the team can access.

Another route to take would be to simply ?google? terms such as ?how to find a weight loss buddy? or just ?weight loss buddy?. The results came up incredibly positive; 2,850,000 and 3,830,000 hits respectively. So, realize that you are not alone in this journey. There are messageboards and online support groups for pay sites or free sites. I would be surprised if gyms like the YMCA or Curves didn?t have any knowledge of a weight loss buddy system either within their own gym or outside in the community. It?s worth investigating. So, essentially the synergy between group members is what keeps everyone on the right path, because once a lackluster member stops doing their part then it slows down the rest in the group, at least psychologically. In other words, only surround yourself with people that are just as committed to change as you are, otherwise your buddies will only be bringing you down. All that?s left to do now is to start networking and searching weight loss forums. Post on messageboards, call those friends you?ve been meaning to call. The ball is in your court now, so quit entertaining the idea of getting fit and do it.

Ian Robertson has interests that range anywhere between playing drums to kayaking and kickboxing. Ian is a Certified Personal Trainer and a Certified Advanced Weight Training Specialist, as well as a Certified Nutritionist. He emphasizes functional and innovative training techniques to add variety and interest to his shockingly effective workouts.

Find out how to lose your extra weight forever when you visit the weight loss support group and phentermine support forum at PhenForum.com. Heck, if nothing else, subscribe to their free newsletter for some weight loss tips to help you lose weight without hurting your body like most people do!

So You Think It's Cool to Flake Out on the Beach?

Have you had difficulty choosing the right shampoo or conditioner? Whenever you go into the drugstore or shopping center, there are literally hundreds of shampoos and conditioners on the market. Here are some important key points to remember before you make your purchase. Many people ask, is there really a difference between a $2-dollar bottle of shampoo and a $20 bottle from your salon?

Because of the wide variation available, you could say partly yes and partly no. Some cheaper shampoos contain foaming agents which can dry out your hair, but are actually good for oily or limp hair. If you've been on the beach for a while your hair can become sun-damaged, or chlorine damaged so you should definitely consider a more expensive shampoo. The only way to be sure if inexpensive shampoos or conditioners work for you is to try them. If they don't or your hair still appears limp or damaged, definitely consider purchasing a salon product.

When you look at all of the ingredients on bottles, it can be confusing. The old saying goes, ?You get what you pay for?, and this applies when it comes to purchasing the right shampoo. Rather than paying attention to the names on the bottles, pay more attention to the ingredients. Ask yourself if the shampoo includes a mild cleanser like sodium laureth sulfate or an even stronger one like ammonium lauryl sulfate. Sometimes those cute bottles and pretty colors cover up an inferior product. Try and stay away from too much coloring or fragrance, as these ingredients are not cleansers. Remember to remain skeptical of product claims. Just because a product claims to be mild doesn't mean it is so.

If you have dandruff, one great remedy is as follows: rotate three over-the-counter dandruff shampoos, one to exfoliate, one to soothe, and the other to be used as an anti-inflammatory. This trio of treatments is important and most effective when mixed with your regular shampoo. If you decide to use only one of the three, your hair fungus could actually adapt to it and become immune to it.

In conclusion, if you have colored hair remember to purchase a shampoo specially designed for colored hair as these are made to be more gentle, and will contain ingredients to preserve your color.

By Terry Price- Remember to visit- http://www.laser-hair-removal-discount.com/botox.html for more important information on botox treatments!

Take a Sauna: Lose Weight Lose Toxins Gain Health Gain Happiness and Feel Great!

The sauna is nothing new, in fact it has been around for generations and is known for relaxing muscles, and even easing tension. Taking a sauna is an enjoyable experience for most, but it appears as though saunas can actually do away with excess fat and toxins in the body to accelerate weight loss. Many people are finding that taking a sauna every day for a week can result in ten pounds of weight loss, and this isn't just water loss, this is true fat loss like nothing else! The sauna has been used therapeutically for years, but no one has really known what the health benefits are, it turns out all along it was enabling us to lose fat, rid our bodies of toxins, and simply feet great inside and out.

Enjoy the Sauna and Lose Weight!

Could weight loss really be as simple as turning on your sauna heater and sitting back and relaxing? Many people truly believe that saunas are the answer to rapid, healthy weight loss. Of course, if you want to keep this weight off you will have to continue to take a sauna every day! That's right! If you want to lose weight in a sauna you don't have to stick to any silly diet for the rest of your life and deprive yourself of the foods that you love, instead you are sentenced to a life where you step inside a room that is 104 temperatures so that you can relax, and lose weight!

It's Not Just About Weight Loss

An infrared sauna is not just about weight loss, it's also about ridding the body of the toxins from the foods we eat so that we can lead happier, healthier lives than we have been living. Unfortunately, a lot of the foods we enjoy are toxic to our body and our bodies have no way of metabolizing these toxins. When you step inside an appropriately heated and installed home sauna you can sweat these toxins out quickly and effectively so that you can lose weight and even prevent disease.

The infrared sauna is not new; in fact saunas have been around for a long time. Many doctors and medical researchers are just putting two and two together, though. And the use of an infrared sauna in the United States is just catching on as more and more people reject the idea of taking yet another medication to control their health problems. Instead, more and more people are buying a sauna kit and putting one up in their home to lose weight and feel great. There is actually a portable sauna that can be taken down and moved from home to home, as you see fit. This is a great idea if you have a summer home and a winter home, so that consumers can benefit from a far infrared sauna no matter where they are located.

You can find a sauna at your local gym, but this may not be an infrared sauna that will help you lose weight. You can purchase the correct type of infrared sauna and have in installed in your home so that you can sit back, relax, and lose weight in the comfort of your own home sauna. Who could think of a better way to rid the body of toxins than to sit in a comfortably hot room for awhile and actually watch the weight and toxins sweat right off of your body? You can order your sauna online right now, and have it delivered to your home soon so that you can start losing weight, and be many pounds lighter in just a week, and a new person in six months!

Chris Robertson is an author of Majon International, one of the worlds MOST popular internet marketing companies on the web. Learn more about Sauna for Weight Loss or Majon's Health and Beauty directory.

AntiAging Skin Care Supplements

Turn back your skin clock and defy aging with anti-aging skin care supplements that provide life to your dry skin! Get back your youth with these anti-aging skin care supplements that is an all natural, no surgery and painless procedure to regain your eternal beauty! Anti-aging supplements dramatically improve how you look by nourishing you from inside out! Anti-aging skin care supplements will drastically change the way you look and feel! Look and feel young and fabulous forever with anti-aging skin care supplements!

You can very well stall the process of ageing for a few more years with anti-aging skin care supplements and enjoy the thrills and excitement of youthful life full of energy and vitality! Don?t let those fine lines bog you down!

How anti-aging skin care supplements rejuvenate your dull and dry skin?

Dry skin is extremely prone to pre-mature ageing! Want to know the 3 key factors that cause dryness of skin? Here they are mainly accumulation of toxin in the skin, dearth of water within the skin and inadequate oil/sebum secretion from the sebaceous glands! All these factors coercively dry out your skin and then you discover the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines that drives you nuts!

So those of you with dry and stretched skin start pampering your skin with lots and lots of hydrating skin care products and anti-aging skin care supplements that will help your parched and lifeless skin regain moisture and exude that healthy and youthful glow! You are able to detoxify your skin and maintain a healthy and youthful glow with anti-aging skin care supplements! Anti-aging skin care supplements will rectify the health of your internal system as well as take proper care of your sensitive and wrinkle-prone dry skin! Anti-aging skin care supplements usually contain active anti-aging components that support the body?s natural ability to help remove age spots, free radicals and chemical toxins that impede healthy skin, help improve skin elasticity and suppleness, help reduce skin wrinkling and sagging. Anti-aging skin care supplements works in complete synchronization with the body, complementing and supplying the necessary anti-aging nutritive requirements that the skin needs to remove wastes and repair itself, allowing it to maintain its elasticity and reduce the possibility of premature aging.

What are anti- aging skin care supplements usually composed of?

Want to play hide and seek with your age? Why not? How about trying out the variety of anti-aging skin care supplements that are now available to help you combat dry skin related anti-aging problems! Most of the anti-aging skin care supplements contain a mixed bag of natural ingredients that help to revitalize your dry skin and provide the necessary moisture to firm up and tone up your skin texture! Anti-aging skin care supplements are diet supplements that you are recommended to take in addition to your daily nutrition! Anti-aging skin care supplements contain a mixture of herbs; minerals and vitamins that are essential to slow the aging of your dry and dull skin and retain its youthfulness forever! Some of the most common ingredients that constitute these anti-aging skin care supplements are as follows: Vitamins A, C, E and D; biotin, choline, inositol; calcium, copper, iodine, zinc, phosphorous; hyaluronic acid; Gingko biloba, Siberian ginseng, lecithin, DNA, RNA, anti-oxidants, protein, fiber, essential fatty acids, food grade collagen, amino acids and many other such active anti-aging ingredients! Anti-aging supplements are totally natural and have no side effects unless you take an overdose of them!

Jerrick Foo has been researching and developing all dry skin care the purpose of offering men and women safe, dry skin care tips. He have created Dry Skin Care Guide to share his 10 years of combined expertise with you. Visit http://www.dry-skin-care-guide.com for essential skin care tips.

Laser Hair Removal FAQ?

If you have been looking for permanent hair removal, laser hair removal may sound very enticing. However, you?ve probably seen this technology heavily advertised, little is known about how it works. Here are some things you should know before you decide whether or not laser hair removal is right for you.

1. What is laser hair removal?

Laser hair removal is a procedure in which hair is removed from the body using a long pulse laser. Light at a specified wavelength is delivered from a handpiece into the skin. The laser targets dark material, which is usually the pigment in the hair. The laser then disables hairs that are in their growth cycle at the time of treatment. Because other hairs will enter their growth cycle at different times, several treatments are necessary for optimal results.

2. What are the benefits of laser hair removal?

Many patients have experienced long-lasting hair removal or permanent hair reduction due to their treatments. Although laser hair removal can be very effective, you should expect some re-growth. However, many patients have indicated that hair regrowth is often lighter in color or finer in texture.

3. Who is a candidate for laser hair removal?

Not everyone is an ideal candidate for laser hair removal. It works best on people with light skin and dark, coarse hair. However, if you do not have this exact skin type, don?t give up hope. Visit a couple of clinics and see what they have to say. Technology is quickly advancing and many lasers are now able to work with a variety of skin types. For example, the Alexandrite long pulse and diode types of lasers work best on light-colored skin, while ND:YAG long pulse lasers work better on darker skin. It is best to consult a certified laser hair removal technician to see what options are available to you.

4. Is laser hair removal permanent?

Many people think that laser hair removal is a permanent solution. However, this simply isn?t true. Some re-growth is natural and expected. You shouldn?t expect laser hair removal to remove every single hair from an area. However, it can make significant reductions.

A set of at least 6-8 treatments is often necessary to achieve significant hair removal. Many factors come into play here, including the size of the area being treated, the texture of the hair, skin type, and the frequency of treatments. After your treatments, you will probably also want to do some touch-up treatments to maintain smooth skin.

5. Are the treatments painful?

You will often find claims that laser hair removal is painless but this is not true. Laser hair removal is very tolerable, but not painless. Many people compare it to being snapped with a rubber band. Everyone has different pain tolerance, but generally laser hair removal is not much more painful than waxing. It?s just different.

6. I s laser hair removal right for me?

In order to make the best decision for you, it is important to get multiple opinions. Find a reputable clinic with a doctor that is experienced. Laser hair removal treatments must be individualized for each person. Because of this, you will need to find a clinic that is professional and has a trained, caring staff that is dedicated to getting you optimal results.

If you are tired of waxing, shaving, and tweezing, laser hair removal may be the perfect solution for you. For a complete guide to laser hair removal, visit http://www.laserhairportal.com

Why Should People Exercise?

These days more and more people are taking a renewed interest in physical fitness and exercise. This is due to a number of factors not least of which is a heightened interest in celebrities and famous people who have been placing a lot of emphasis on their own eating and exercise routines. Some have even started coming out with diets and similar products to help us all stay looking young and beautiful for ever.

However, the chances are that if you ask people why they personally exercise, it is highly unlikely that the answer they give you is that they want to look like Madonna or Geri Hallowell.

People exercise for a variety of reasons. The most basic reason is that they enjoy exercise. Many sports and other forms of exercise such as swimming are enjoyable ways for people to take a little bit of time out of their busy schedule and simply let their mind wonder. Some people enjoy spending time with their family so they go for a bike ride together on the weekend, others have friends in a sports team or club that they regularly exercise with.

Many people also exercise because they are very conscious of the health benefits. The simple fact of the matter is that everyone needs exercise and everyone wants good health. No matter what kind of shape you are in, a little exercise will go a long way. This advice does not only apply to young people who want to look good in the summer when they take their top off at the beach. Nor however, does this advice only apply to people with heart conditions and serious health concerns.

It applies to everyone. Exercise does not only mean weight loss. There are many people who do not need to lose weight, and as a result they feel that they don?t need to exercise. You will be surprised at the benefits you can get out of exercise apart from simply enjoying the exercise itself. If you are having trouble then a little exercise during the day and you should find that you are sleeping more soundly at night time. Likewise if you are under a lot of stress or pressure, exercise is a good way of getting to grips with whatever is troubling you, or simply getting a break from it. If you have recently undergone a major change in your life, exercise can also give you a sense of control. As you can see, exercising is beneficial on so many levels. As the slogan for Nike reads ?Just Do It?.

Visit http://www.my-fitness-online.com/ to read articles about precor recumbent bike and stamina magnetic recumbent bike.

Beauty Tip: Perfect Eyebrows

Eyebrows are a natural frame for the eyes and should be in proportion to the face. Perfectly shaped eyebrows will enhance the look of your eyes, your face and will accentuate your makeup while; ill kept, unruly eyebrows will hide the beauty of your eyes.

1.Pluck only from the underside of the brow in the direction that the hair grows. Don't pluck from the top of the brow and chance plucking too much and losing the shape of the brow. You may also want to pluck any stray hairs between the brows. If you find it painful apply a lubricant before you pluck, preferably one that had a dulling effect like oral gel.

2.If you find your eyebrows are starting to thin use a brow color to fill them in using feather strokes, do not draw on lines in place of eyebrows.

3.Brows should be the same color as your hair or a shade lighter.

4.Your brow should start right above the inner corner of your eye. To determine where the eyebrow should start place a pencil against the nostril and line it up with the inner corner of your eye. Your eyebrow should end at a diagonal with the outer corner of your eye. To determine this, place a pencil at the side of your nose ending at the outer corner of your eye. The eyebrow should arch above the outer rim of the iris.

Be careful when you tweeze and if you are unsure go to a professional. Incorrect tweezing can ruin the look of your eyebrows and after a certain time the eyebrow will not grow back. If you do use a professional, keep regular appointments and don't let your eyebrows get too unruly between appointments. Or, after you have had a professional do your eyebrows keep them in shape by plucking the stray hairs as they grow.

Sheila Dicks is an Image and Wardrobe consultant who teaches women how to dress to suit their body type and look slimmer. You can visit her at http://www.sheilasfashionsense.com to download her ebook 'Image Makeovers' and get 'How to Build a Wardrobe' free.

Green Tea The Secret To Good Health

Green tea has been around for 1000s of years, and the Chinese have always known about the many health benefits of green tea. Now the rest world is catching up and jumping on the green tea bandwagon.

What makes green tea so healthy? Antioxidants, green tea is loaded with antioxidants that support your bodies immune system and helps eliminate harmful toxins from your body. These powerful antioxidants are so potent that research is showing that they might even be able to cure cancer.

In addition to being healthy green tea can also help you lose weight. Green tea has what is called a thermogenic effect on your body meaning that it makes your body burn more calories there by causing you to lose weight. In addition many people feel they get a natural energy boost, and also that they can think better when taking green tea.

Promoting good health and weight loss are great, but perhaps the best part is that green tea tastes wonderful. It doesn?t give you that insulin crash that soda does, and it?s not hard on your stomach like coffee. You can find green tea in many different flavors, but stay away from bottled tea because most of the time it?s filled with sugar or artificial sweeteners. The best way to buy green tea is in bulk loose leaf form, or if that?s not available in your area you can substitute it with bagged tea, but keep in mind that bagged tea is typically lower in quality than loose tea.

By simply replacing soda, coffee, or any other sugar filled beverages with green tea you?ll be doing yourself a huge favor and you will notice a positive change within days.

The author has been involved in the health and fitness field for over 10 years, and is passionate about natural remedies. A wonderful site about green tea is TeaBenefitsPlus.com

Acne What Is It?

Acne is spots or papules found on the face, neck, back, chest and shoulders. These spots may develop into pustules with a white or yellowy head that can sometimes be painful. The occurrence of whiteheads and blackheads is quite common.

In puberty the level of sex hormones in the body rises and causes the sebaceous glands in the skin to produce too much sebum (oil). Sebum is produced in the hair follicles. There occurs an overproduction of the top layer of skin and the pores leading to the sebaceous glands become blocked with plugs of keratin. This causes blackheads and allows the bacteria that love sebum to multiply. The surrounding skin becomes inflamed, while the blood vessels expand to allow more infection-fighting cells to the blocked pore. This is usually accompanied by the production of pus.

Vigorous washing and scrubbing are not recommended as this can actually stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Do not use alcohol based astringent cleaners, as it can dry out your skin. Do not touch or squeeze the pimples, as this spreads the infection even more.

Acne is an extremely common condition in adolescence and has affected most people, even mildly, at some stage in their lives. Adolescent boys and girls can suffer severe psychological effects from even mild cases of acne. Treatment today is successful in the most severe cases, but skin results are gradual and can take up to two months to show an improvement. Perseverance and patience with treatment will eventually produce positive results. Unfortunately, acne won't clear up on its own without some form of treatment. Treatment could possibly become ongoing, as new spots will continue to appear, leaving the teenager without a clear complexion. The initial step to follow is to try over-the-counter medications. These contain substances to dry the skin antibacterial properties to promote healing. If these do not produce results then take your teenager to the pharmacy and ask the pharmacist to suggest a range of creams, gels and lotions. It is important that all skin treatments are applied over the entire affected area and not just the spots.

If scars develop or the acne is on the back, then it is better to see your doctor who may prescribe antibiotics with benzoyl peroxide or and antibiotic cream. It is important to persist with the treatment given for at least two months. If there is no improvement discuss other options with your doctor. If the acne persists or causes great distress to the teenager, because of their appearance, then the doctor may refer you to a dermatologist.

Diet does not appear to be an important factor at this stage. It is worth noting that eating sweets and fatty foods depress the immune function, possibly making the condition worse. Nutritional deficiencies, particularly zinc and vitamin A should be eradicated, by eating foods rich in these minerals and vitamins. Monthly visits to a qualified beauty therapist will also prove effective, in long-term treatment of acne. Essential oils with antiseptic properties, such as Tea Tree oil, will reduce the build up of bacteria on the skin.

Michael Russell

Your Independent guide to Acne

Cholesterol Prescription Medications Can Kill You

While there are numerous options for people to lower cholesterol naturally, thousands and thousands of people are taking prescription medication to lower cholesterol ? risking some very dangerous side effects.

These side effects can include:

?An increase in cancer risk
?Elevated liver enzymes (causing liver damage)
?Yellow skin / yellow eyes
?Rhabdomyolysis (degenerative muscle tissue condition)
?Impaired kidney function
?Muscle weakness and pain
?Heartburn or indigestion
?Nausea or vomiting

Crestor, a prescription medication to lower cholesterol, has been linked to the death of a patient who developed a suspected case of severe muscle wasting. Company spokesman Steve Brown said ?the death may have been due to a condition known as Rhabdomyolysis and the incident had been reported to regulators worldwide.? Brown declined to say where the death occurred or what dose of Crestor the patient had been taking

For people that are looking for supplements to help lower cholesterol levels, there are many natural supplements available that can lower cholesterol and some of these can even be more effective than the prescription medications ? with the added benefit of zero side effects.

A new product and website just released can show you many natural ways to lower your cholesterol, including over 35 natural supplements that will help to melt away high cholesterol levels. You can also find plenty of information on how to naturally lower cholesterol levels without any supplements whatsoever.

This is what one person had to say ??and on behalf of my wife I?d like to say thank you. Her cholesterol is down, her weight is down and her blood pressure is down (after a 7 year struggle) and the best part was that it was pretty easy to do?
Peter Bezant ? USA

The above statistic about the death of a patient should serve as a warning. There really is no reason for anyone to be taking prescription medication to lower cholesterol. The side effects are just too dangerous. And when you consider the numerous natural options, including foods and supplements, that are readily available to lower cholesterol, prescription medication should not be an option.

For additional information on how to lower cholesterol naturally visit http://www.lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast.com

Lower Cholesterol Naturally Fast was developed specifically to educate and offer people with high cholesterol, natural options to lower their cholesterol ? natural options that don?t have any dangerous side effects

Ramzi Abboud is a recognized authority on the subject of lowering cholesterol. His website, http://www.lower-cholesterol-naturally-fast.com provides a wealth of information on every thing you?ll ever need to know about lowering cholesterol, including information on over 40 natural supplements that can help to melt away your high cholesterol levels.

Purchasing The Right Home Gym For A Fitter You

Exercise is an activity many of us want to or mean to do but do not get around to, due to lack of time, self-defeating negativity or just plain laziness. But all is not lost -- solution is at hand if you invest in a good home gym.

The most important thing when buying a home gym is for you to first decide on your workout goals and requirements. There are different training methods for the various areas of your body, such as for your legs, calves, shoulders, chest, arms, back or abs etc. Some people exercise for overall fitness while others prefer to focus on toning and strengthening specific areas of their body. Depending on your focus and requirements your home gym equipment may be as simple as comprising of only barbells, weight-plates and racks, to more complex multi home gyms.

Simple home gym equipments such as power racks are suitable mainly for simple weight training exercises but they lack versatility. Multi home gyms allow variety in your fitness regimen. A good home gym lets you perform many types of exercises from bench press and leg curls to sit-ups and butterfly.

Another thing to consider is that home gyms are usually used by more than one user in the household, so it is more cost effective to purchase one that best meets all the users' requirements. It is more practical if the home gym provides more than one workstation with two or more weight stacks so that more than one user can workout at the same time.

Home gym equipments nowadays include frames, cables, pulleys and weight-plates. To ensure you purchase a good quality home gym, check that the frames are made of rustproof steel, and test the cables for strength and durability. It should have a good combination of weight-plates to suit different needs. The bench should be adjustable for perfect body positioning for different exercises. Also check whether the individual components come with a lifetime warranty.

Home gym costs can range from $350 to more than $3,500 depending on the complexities of your home gym equipment. You could also buy your home gym equipment in parts, and some brands even offer options for various additions. Buying home gyms can be mind-boggling so it is recommended that you go read up on home gym reviews by health and fitness experts to learn about the pros and cons of different home gym brands available on the market.

For a more in-depth look at home gyms visit Affordable Home Gym and Discount Home Gym, and also Shopping and Society.

The Inuit: Lessons from the Arctic

The Inuit (also called Eskimo) are a group of hunter-gatherer cultures who inhabit the arctic regions of Alaska, Canada and Greenland. They are a true testament to the toughness, adaptability and ingenuity of the human species. Their unique lifestyle has a lot of information to offer us about the boundaries of the human ecological niche. Weston Price was fascinated by their excellent teeth, good nature and overall robust health. Here's an excerpt from Nutrition and Physical Degeneration:
"In his primitive state he has provided an example of physical excellence and dental perfection such as has seldom been excelled by any race in the past or present...we are also deeply concerned to know the formula of his nutrition in order that we may learn from it the secrets that will not only aid in the unfortunate modern or so-called civilized races, but will also, if possible, provide means for assisting in their preservation."
The Inuit are cold-hardy hunters whose traditional diet consists of a variety of sea mammals, fish, land mammals and birds. They invented some very sophisticated tools, including the kayak, whose basic design has remained essentially unchanged to this day. Most groups ate virtually no plant food. Their calories came primarily from fat, up to 75%, with almost no calories coming from carbohydrate. Children were breast-fed for about three years, and had solid food in their diet almost from birth. As with most hunter-gatherer groups, they were free from chronic disease while living a traditional lifestyle, even in old age. Here's a quote from Observations on the Western Eskimo and the Country they Inhabit; from Notes taken During two Years [1852-54] at Point Barrow, by Dr. John Simpson:
These people [the Inuit] are robust, muscular and active, inclining rather to spareness [leanness] than corpulence [overweight], presenting a markedly healthy appearance. The expression of the countenance is one of habitual good humor. The physical constitution of both sexes is strong. Extreme longevity is probably not unknown among them; but as they take no heed to number the years as they pass they can form no guess of their own ages.
One of the common counterpoints I hear to the idea that high-fat hunter-gatherer diets are healthy, is that exercise protects them from the ravages of fat. The Inuit can help us get to the bottom of this debate. Here's a quote from Cancer, Disease of Civilization (1960, Vilhjalmur Stefansson):
"They are large eaters, some of them, especially the women, eating all the time..." ...during the winter the Barrow women stirred around very little, did little heavy work, and yet "inclined more to be sparse than corpulent" [quotes are the anthropologist Dr. John Murdoch, reproduced by Stefansson].
Another argument I sometimes hear is that the Inuit are genetically adapted to their high-fat diet, and the same food would kill a European. This appears not to be the case. The anthropologist and arctic explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson spent several years living with the Inuit in the early 20th century. He and his fellow Europeans and Americans thrived on the Inuit diet. American doctors were so incredulous that they defied him and a fellow explorer to live on a diet of fatty meat only for one year, under the supervision of the American Medical Association. To the doctors' dismay, they remained healthy, showing no signs of scurvy or any other deficiency (JAMA 1929;93:20–2).

Yet another amazing thing about the Inuit was their social structure. Here's Dr. John Murdoch again (quoted from Cancer, Disease of Civilization):
The women appear to stand on a footing of perfect equality with the men, both in the family and the community. The wife is the constant and trusted companion of the man in everything except the hunt, and her opinion is sought in every bargain or other important undertaking... The affection of parents for their children is extreme, and the children seem to be thoroughly worthy of it. They show hardly a trace of fretfulness or petulance so common among civilized children, and though indulged to an extreme extent are remarkably obedient. Corporal punishment appears to be absolutely unknown, and children are rarely chided or punished in any way.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone. Since adopting a modern processed-food diet, the health and social structure of the Inuit has deteriorated dramatically. This had already happened to most groups by Weston Price's time, and is virtually complete today. Here's Price:
In the various groups in the lower Kuskokwim seventy-two individuals who were living exclusively on native foods had in their 2,138 teeth only two teeth or 0.09 per cent that had ever been attacked by tooth decay. In this district eighty-one individuals were studied who had been living in part or in considerable part on modern foods, and of their 2, 254 teeth 394 or 13 per cent had been attacked by dental caries. This represents an increase in dental caries of 144 fold.... When these adult Eskimos exchange their foods for our modern foods..., they often have very extensive tooth decay and suffer severely.... Their plight often becomes tragic since there are no dentists in these districts.
Modern Inuit also suffer from very high rates of diabetes and overweight. This has been linked to changes in diet, particularly the use of white flour, sugar and processed oils.

Overall, the unique lifestyle and diet of the Inuit have a lot to teach us. First, that some humans are capable of being healthy eating mostly animal foods. Second, that some humans are able to thrive on a high-fat diet. Third, that humans are capable of living well in extremely harsh and diverse environments. Fourth, that the shift from natural foods to processed foods, rather than changes in macronutrient composition, is the true cause of the diseases of civilization.

Book Review: "The Human Diet: Its Origins and Evolution"

I recently read this book after discovering it on another health site. It's a compilation of chapters written by several researchers in the fields of comparative biology, paleontology, archaeology and zoology. It's sometimes used as a textbook.

I've learned some interesting things, but overall it was pretty disappointing. The format is disjointed, with no logical flow between chapters. I also would not call it comprehensive, which is one of the things I look for in a textbook.
Here are some of the interesting points:
  • Humans in industrial societies are the only mammals to commonly develop hypertension, and are the only free-living primates to become overweight.
  • The adoption of grains as a primary source of calories correlated with a major decrease in stature, decrease in oral health, decrease in bone density, and other problems. This is true for wheat, rice, corn and other grains.
  • Cranial capacity has also declined 11% since the late paleolithic, correlating with a decrease in the consumption of animal foods and an increase in grains.
  • According to carbon isotope ratios of teeth, corn did not play a major role in the diet of native Americans until 800 AD. Over 15% of the teeth of post-corn South American cultures showed tooth decay, compared with less than 5% for pre-corn cultures (many of which were already agricultural, just not eating corn).
  • Childhood mortality seems to be similar among hunter-gatherers and non-industrial agriculturists and pastoralists.
  • Women may have played a key role in food procurement through foraging. This is illustrated by a group of modern hunter-gatherers called the Hadza. While men most often hunt, which supplies important nutrients intermittently, women provide a steady stream of calories by foraging for tubers.
  • We have probably been eating starchy tubers for between 1.5 and 2 million years, which precedes our species. Around that time, digging tools, (controversial) evidence of controlled fire and changes in digestive anatomy all point to use of tubers and cooked food in general. Tubers make sense because they are a source of calories that is much more easily exploited than wild grains in most places.
  • Our trajectory as a species has been to consume a diet with more calories per unit fiber. As compared to chimps, who eat leaves and fruit all day and thus eat a lot of fiber to get enough calories, our species and its recent ancestors ate a diet much lower in fiber.
  • Homo sapiens has always eaten meat.
The downside is that some chapters have a distinct low-fat slant. One chapter attempted to determine the optimal diet for humans by comparing ours to the diets of wild chimps and other primates. Of course, we eat more fat than a chimp, but I don't think that gets us anywhere. Especially since one of our closest relatives, the neanderthal, was practically a carnivore.
They consider the diet composition of modern hunter-gatherers that eat low-fat diets, but don't include data on others with high-fat diets like the Inuit.

There's some good information in the book, if you're willing to dig through a lot of esoteric data on the isotope ratios of extinct hominids and that sort of thing.

Sunscreen and Melanoma

Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, accounting for most skin cancer deaths in the US. As Ross pointed out in the comments section of the last post, there is an association between severe sunburn at a young age and later development of melanoma. Darker-skinned people are also more resistant to melanoma. The association isn't complete, however, since melanoma sometimes occurs on the soles of the feet and even in the intestine. This may be due to the fact that there are several types of melanoma, potentially with different causes.

Another thing that associates with melanoma is the use of sunscreen above a latitude of 40 degrees from the equator. In the Northern hemisphere, 40 degrees draws a line between New York city and Beijing. A recent
meta-analysis found consistently that sunscreen users above 40 degrees are at a higher risk of melanoma than people who don't use sunscreen, even when differences in skin color are taken into account. Wearing sunscreen decreased melanoma risk in studies closer to the equator. It sounds confusing, but it makes sense once you know a little bit more about UV rays, sunscreen and the biology of melanoma.

The UV light that reaches the Earth's surface is composed of UVA (longer) and UVB (shorter) wavelengths. UVB causes sunburn, while they both cause tanning. Sunscreen blocks UVB, preventing burns, but most brands only weakly block UVA. Sunscreen allows a person to spend more time in the sun than they would otherwise, and attenuates tanning. Tanning is a protective response (among several) by the skin that protects it against both UVA and UVB. Burning is a protective response that tells you to get out of the sun. The result of diminishing both is that sunblock tends to increase a person's exposure to UVA rays.

It turns out that UVA rays are more
closely associated with melanoma than UVB rays, and typical sunscreen fails to prevent melanoma in laboratory animals. It's also worth mentioning that sunscreen does prevent more common (and less lethal) types of skin cancer.

Modern tanning beds produce a lot of UVA and not much UVB, in an attempt to deliver the maximum tan without causing a burn. Putting on sunscreen essentially does the same thing: gives you a large dose of UVA without much UVB.

The authors of the meta-analysis suggest an explanation for the fact that the association changes at 40 degrees of latitude: populations further from the equator tend to have lighter skin. Melanin blocks UVA very effectively, and the pre-tan melanin of someone with olive skin is enough to block most of the UVA that sunscreen lets through. The fair-skinned among us don't have that luxury, so our melanocytes get bombarded by UVA, leading to melanoma. This may explain the incredible rise in melanoma incidence in the US in the last 35 years, as people have also increased the use of sunscreen. It may also have to do with tanning beds, since melanoma incidence has risen particularly in women.

In my opinion, the best way to treat your skin is to tan gradually, without burning. Use clothing and a wide-brimmed hat if you think you'll be in the sun past your burn threshold. If you want to use sunscreen, make sure it blocks UVA effectively. Don't rely on the manufacturer's word; look at the ingredients list. It should contain at least one of the following: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, avobenzone (Parsol 1789), Mexoryl SX (Tinosorb). It's best if it's also paraben-free.

Fortunately, as an external cancer, melanoma is easy to diagnose. If caught early, it can be removed without any trouble. If caught a bit later, surgeons may have to remove lymph nodes, which makes your face look like John McCain's. Later than that and you're probably a goner. If you have any questions about a growth, especially one with irregular borders that's getting larger, ask your doctor about it immediately!

Melanoma and Sunblock

A report came out recently showing that melanoma incidence has increased dramatically in the US since 1973, particularly among women. The authors suggested the rise could be due to increasing sun exposure, which I am highly skeptical of. The data he cites to support that idea are quite weak. I think the prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in this country suggests otherwise.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer, and the only type that is commonly life-threatening. Its link to sun exposure is tenuous at best. For example, it often occurs on the least sun-exposed parts of the body, and its incidence is lower in outdoor workers.

What is the solution to rising melanoma incidence? Sunblock! Slather it on, ladies and gentlemen! No matter that we evolved outdoors! No matter that it may do nothing for melanoma incidence or mortality! No matter that you'll be vitamin D deficient! No matter that it contains known carcinogens! 30+ SPF, the more the better. Don't let one single deadly UV photon through.

Grains and Human Evolution

You've heard me say that I believe grains aren't an ideal food for humans. Part of the reason rests on the assertion that we have not been eating grains for long enough to have adapted to them. In this post, I'll go over what I know about the human diet before and after agriculture, and the timeline of our shift to a grain-based diet. I'm not an archaeologist so I won't claim that all these numbers are exact, but I think they are close enough to make my point.

As hunter-gatherers, we ate some combination of the following: land mammals (including organs, fat and marrow), cooked tubers, seafood (fish, mammals, shellfish, seaweed), eggs, nuts, fruit, honey, "vegetables" (stems, leaves, etc.), mushrooms, assorted land animals, birds and insects. The proportion of each food varied widely between groups and even seasons. This is pretty much what we've been living on since we evolved as a species, and even before, for a total of 1.5 million years or so (this number is controversial but is supported by multiple lines of evidence). There are minor exceptions, including the use of wild grains in a few areas, but for the most part, that's it.

The first evidence of a calorically important domesticated crop I'm aware of was about 11,500 years ago in the fertile crescent. They were cultivating an early ancestor of wheat called emmer. Other grains popped up independently in what is now China (rice; ~10,000 years ago), and central America (corn; ~9,000 years ago). That's why people say humans have been eating grains for about 10,000 years.

The story is more complicated than the dates suggest, however. Although wheat had its origin 11,500 years ago, it didn't become widespread in Western Europe for another 4,500 years. So if you're of European descent, your ancestors have been eating grains for roughly 7,000 years. Corn was domesticated 9,000 years ago, but according to the carbon ratios of human teeth, it didn't become a major source of calories until about 1,200 years ago! Many American groups did not adopt a grain-based diet until 100-300 years ago, and in a few cases they still have not. If you are of African descent, your ancestors have been eating grains for 9,000 to 0 years, depending on your heritage. The change to grains was accompanied by a marked decrease in dental health that shows up clearly in the archaeological record.

Practically every plant food contains some kind of toxin, but grains produce a number of nasty ones that humans are not well adapted to. Grains contain a large amount of phytic acid for example, which strongly inhibits the absorption of a number of important minerals. Tubers, which were our main carbohydrate source for about 1.5 million years before agriculture, contain less of it. This may have been a major reason why stature decreased when humans adopted grain-based agriculture. There are a number of toxins that occur in grains but not in tubers, such as certain heat-resistant lectins.

Non-industrial cultures often treated their seeds, including grains, differently than we do today. They used soaking, sprouting and long fermentation to decrease the amount of toxins found in grains, making them more nutritious and digestible. Most grain staples are not treated in this way today, and so we bear the brunt of their toxins even more than our ancestors did.

From an evolutionary standpoint, even 11,500 years is the blink of an eye. Add to that the fact that many people descend from groups that have been eating grains for far less time than that, and you begin to see the problem. There is no doubt that we have begun adapting genetically to grains. All you have to do to understand this is look back at the archaeological record, to see the severe selective pressure (read: disease) that grains placed on its early adopters. But the question is, have we had time to adapt sufficiently to make it a healthy food? I would argue the answer is no.

There are a few genetic adaptations I'm aware of that might pertain to grains: the duplication of the salivary amylase gene, and polymorphisms in the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and apolipoprotein B genes. Some groups duplicated a gene that secretes the enzyme amylase into the saliva, increasing its production. Amylase breaks down starch, indicating a possible increase in its consumption. The problem is that we were getting starch from tubers before we got it from grains, so it doesn't really argue for either side in my opinion. The ACE and apolipoprotein B genes may be more pertinent, because they relate to blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Blood pressure and blood cholesterol are both factors that respond well to low-carbohydrate (and thus low-grain) diets, suggesting that the polymorphisms may be a protective adaptation against the cardiovascular effects of grains.

The fact that up to 1% of people of European descent may have full-blown celiac disease attests to the fact that 7,000 years have not been enough time to fully adapt to wheat on a population level. Add to that the fact that nearly half of genetic Europeans carry genes that are associated with celiac, and you can see that we haven't been weeded out thoroughly enough to tolerate wheat, the oldest grain!

Based on my reading, discussions and observations, I believe that rice is the least problematic grain, wheat is the worst, and everything else is somewhere in between. If you want to eat grains, it's best to soak, sprout or ferment them. This activates enzymes that break down most of the toxins. You can soak rice, barley and other grains overnight before cooking them. Sourdough bread is better than normal white bread. Unfermented, unsprouted whole wheat bread may actually be the worst of all. 

[Update 8/2011: as I've learned more about human genetics and evolution, I've come to appreciate that many Europeans actually descend from early adopters of agriculture more than they descend from the hunter-gatherers that previously occupied Europe.  Also, 10,000 years has been long enough for significant genetic adaptation.  Read The 10,000 Year Explosion for more information].

Another China Tidbit

A final note about the Chinese study in the previous post: the overweight vegetable-eaters (read: wheat eaters) exercised more than their non-vegetable-eating, thin neighbors. So although their average calorie intake was a bit higher, their expenditure was as well. 

Although I speculated in the last post that affluent people might be eating more wheat and fresh vegetables, the data don't support that. Participants with the highest income level actually adhered to the wheat and vegetable-rich pattern the least, while low-income participants were most likely to eat this way.

Interestingly, education showed a (weaker) trend in the opposite direction. More educated participants were more likely to eat the wheat-vegetable pattern, while the opposite was true of less educated participants. Thus, it looks like wheat makes people more educated. Just kidding, that's exactly the logic we have to avoid when interpreting this type of study!

Wheat in China

Dr. Michael Eades linked to an interesting study yesterday on his Health and Nutrition blog. It's entitled "Vegetable-Rich Food Pattern is Related to Obesity in China."

It's one of these epidemiological studies where they try to divide subjects into different categories of eating patterns and see how health problems associate with each one. They identified four patterns: the 'macho' diet high in meat and alcohol; the 'traditional' diet high in rice and vegetables; the 'sweet tooth' pattern high in cake, dairy and various drinks; and the 'vegetable rich' diet high in wheat, vegetables, fruit and tofu. The only pattern that associated with obesity was the vegetable-rich diet. The 25% of people eating closest to the vegetable-rich pattern were more than twice as likely to be obese as the 25% adhering the least.

The authors of the paper try to blame the increased obesity on a higher intake of vegetable oil from stir-frying the vegetables, but that explanation is misleading. A cursory glance at table 3 reveals that the vegetable-eaters weren't eating any more fat than their thinner neighbors. Dr. Eades suggests that their higher carbohydrate intake (+10%) was partially responsible for the weight gain, but I wasn't satisfied with that explanation so I took a closer look.  Dr. Eades also pointed to their higher calorie intake (+120 kcal/day), which makes sense to me.

One of the most striking elements of the 'vegetable-rich' food pattern is its replacement of rice with wheat flour. The 25% of the study population that adhered the least to the vegetable-rich food pattern ate 7.3 times more rice than wheat, whereas the 25% sticking most closely to the vegetable-rich pattern ate 1.2 times more wheat than rice! In other words, wheat flour rather than rice was their single largest source of calories. This association was much stronger than the increase in vegetable consumption itself!

All of a sudden, the data make more sense. Wheat seems to associate with health problems in many contexts. Perhaps the reason we don't see the same type of association in American epidemiological studies is that everyone eats wheat. Only in a culture that has a true diversity of diet can you find a robust association like this. The replacement of rice with wheat may have caused the increase in calorie intake as well. Clinical trials of low-carbohydrate diets as well as 'paleolithic diets' have shown good metabolic outcomes from wheat avoidance, although one can't be sure what role wheat plays from those data.

I don't think the vegetables had anything to do with the weight gain, they were just incidentally associated with wheat consumption. But I do think these data are difficult to reconcile with the idea that vegetables protect against overweight.

Cancer in Other Non-Industrialized Cultures

In Cancer, Disease of Civilization (1960), Wilhjalmur Stefansson mentions a few cultures besides the Inuit in which large-scale searches never turned up cancer. Dr. Albert Schweitzer examined over 10,000 traditionally-living natives in Gabon (West Africa) in 1913 and did not find cancer. Later, it became common in the same population as they began "living more and more after the manner of the whites."

In Cancer, its Nature, Cause and Cure (1957), Dr. Alexander Berglas describes the search for cancer among natives in Brazil and Ecuador by Dr. Eugene Payne. He examined approximately 60,000 people over 25 years and found no evidence of cancer.

Sir Robert McCarrison conducted a seven year medical survey among the Hunza, in what is now Northern Pakistan. Among 11,000 people, he did not find a single case of cancer. Their diet consisted of soaked and sprouted grains and beans, fruit, vegetables, grass-fed dairy and a small amount of meat (including organs of course).

Mortality and Lifespan of the Inuit

One of the classic counter-arguments that's used to discredit accounts of healthy hunter-gatherers is the fallacy that they were short-lived, and thus did not have time to develop diseases of old age like cancer. While the life expectancy of hunter-gatherers was not as high as ours today, most groups had a significant number of elderly individuals, who sometimes lived to 80 years and beyond. Mortality came mostly from accidents, warfare and infectious disease rather than chronic disease.

I found a a mortality table from the records of a Russian mission in Alaska (compiled by Veniaminov, taken from Cancer, Disease of Civilization), which recorded the ages of death of a traditionally-living Inuit population during the years 1822 to 1836. Here's a plot of the raw data:

Here's the data re-plotted in another way. I changed the "bin size" of the bars to 10 year spans each (rather than the bins above, which vary from 3 to 20 years). This allows us to get a better picture of the number of deaths over time. I took some liberties with the data to do this, breaking up a large bin equally into two smaller bins. I also left out the infant mortality data, which are interesting but not relevant to this post:

Excluding infant mortality, about 25% of their population lived past 60. Based on these data, the approximate life expectancy (excluding infant mortality) of this Inuit population was 43.5 years. It's possible that life expectancy would have been higher before contact with the Russians, since they introduced a number of nasty diseases to which the Inuit were not resistant. Keep in mind that the Westerners who were developing cancer alongside them probably had a similar life expectancy at the time. Here's the data plotted in yet another way, showing the number of individuals surviving at each age, out of the total deaths recorded:

It's remarkably linear. Here's the percent chance of death at each age:

In the next post, I'll briefly summarize cancer data from several traditionally-living cultures other than the Inuit.

Cancer Among the Inuit

I remember coming across a table in the book Eat, Drink and Be Healthy (by Dr. Walter Willett) a few years back. Included were data taken from Dr. Ancel Keys' "Seven Countries Study". It showed the cancer rates for three industrialized nations: the US, Greece and Japan. Although specific cancers differed, the overall rate was remarkably similar for all three: about 90 cancers per 100,000 people per year. Life expectancy was also similar, with Greece leading the pack by 4 years (the data are from the 60s).

The conclusion I drew at the time was that lifestyle did not affect the likelihood of developing cancer. It was easy to see from the same table that heart disease was largely preventable, since the US had a rate of 189 per 100,000 per year, compared to Japan's 34. Especially since I also knew that Japanese-Americans who eat an American diet get heart disease just like European-Americans.

I fell prey to the same logic that is so pervasive today: the idea that you will eventually die of cancer if no other disease gets you first. It's easy to believe, since the epidemiology seems to tell us that lifestyle doesn't affect overall cancer rates very much. There's only one little glitch... those epidemiological studies compare the sick to the sicker.

Here's the critical fact that modern medicine seems to have forgotten: hunter-gatherers and numerous non-industrial populations throughout the world have unusually low cancer rates. This idea was widely accepted in the 19th century and the early 20th, but has somehow managed to fade into obscurity.  Allow me to explain.

I recently read Cancer, Disease of Civilization by Vilhjalmur Stefansson (thanks Peter). Stefansson was an anthropologist and arctic explorer who participated in the search for cancer among the Canadian and Alaskan Inuit. Traditionally, most Inuit groups were mostly carnivorous, eating a diet of raw and cooked meat and fish almost exclusively. Their calories came primarily from fat. They alternated between seasons of low and high physical activity, typically enjoyed an abundant food supply yet also periodically faced famines.

Field physicians in the arctic noted that the Inuit were a remarkably healthy people. While they suffered from a tragic susceptibility to European communicable diseases, they did not develop the chronic diseases we now view as part of being human: tooth decay, overweight, heart attacks, appendicitis, constipation, diabetes and cancer. When word reached American and European physicians that the Inuit did not develop cancer, a number of them decided to mount an active search for it. This search began in the 1850s and tapered off in the 1920s, as traditionally-living Inuit became difficult to find.

One of these physicians was captain George B. Leavitt. He actively searched for cancer among the traditionally-living Inuit from 1885 to 1907. Along with his staff, he claims to have performed tens of thousands of examinations. He did not find a single case of cancer. At the same time, he was regularly diagnosing cancers among the crews of whaling ships and other Westernized populations. It's important to note two relevant facts about Inuit culture: first, their habit of going shirtless indoors. This would make visual inspection for external cancers very easy. Second, the Inuit generally had great faith in Western doctors and would consult them even for minor problems. Therefore, doctors in the arctic had ample opportunity to inspect them for cancer.

A study was published in 1934 by F.S. Fellows in the US Treasury's Public Health Reports entitled "Mortality in the Native Races of the Territory of Alaska, With Special Reference to Tuberculosis". It contained a table of cancer mortality deaths for several Alaskan regions, all of them Westernized to some degree. However, some were more Westernized than others. In descending order of Westernization, the percent of deaths from cancer were as follows:

Keep in mind that all four of the Inuit populations in this table were somewhat Westernized. It's clear that cancer incidence tracks well with Westernization, although other factors could be involved in producing this result (such as poorer diagnosis in less Westernized regions). By "Westernization", what I mean mostly is the adoption of European food habits, including wheat flour, sugar, canned goods and vegetable oil. Later, most groups also adopted Western-style houses, which incidentally were not at all suited to their harsh climate.

In the next post, I'll address the classic counter-argument that hunter-gatherers were free of cancer because they didn't live long enough to develop it.

Cancer and the Immune System

My understanding of cancer has changed radically over the past few months. I used to think of it as an inevitable consequence of aging, a stochastic certainty. The human body is made of about 50 trillion cells, many of which replicate their DNA and divide regularly. It's only a matter of time until one of those cells randomly accumulates the wrong set of mutations, and loses the molecular brakes that restrict uncontrolled growth.

Strictly speaking, the idea is correct. That is how cancer begins. However, there's another check in place that operates outside the cancer cell itself: the immune system. A properly functioning immune system can recognize and destroy cancerous cells before they become dangerous to the organism. In fact, your immune system has probably already controlled or destroyed a number of them in your lifetime.

I recently read a fascinating account of some preliminary findings from the lab of Dr. Zheng Cui at Wake Forest university. His group took blood samples from 100 people and purified a type of immune cell called the granulocyte. They then evaluated the granulocytes' ability to kill cervical cancer cells in a cell culture dish. They found that it varied dramatically from one individual to another. One person's granulocytes killed 97% of the cancer cells in 24 hours, while another person's killed 2%.

They found some important trends. Granulocytes from people over 50 years old had a reduced ability to kill cancer cells, as did granulocytes from people with cancer. This raises the possibility that cancer is not simply the result of getting too old, but a very specific weakening of the immune system.

The most important finding, however, was that the granulocytes' kung-fu grip declined dramatically during the winter months. Here's Dr. Cui:

Nobody seems to have any cancer-killing ability during the
winter months from November to April.

Hmm, I wonder why that could be?? Vitamin D anyone??