Sunday, April 27, 2014

"Is Breast Truly Best" First Reader

Colen and Ramey’s study focused on whether or not breast-feeding has an effect on obesity, asthma, BMI, parental attachment, hyperactivity, and behavioral compliance on children in the United States. They looked at sibling pairs in which one sibling was breastfed and the other was given formula milk. What they found was that there wasn’t any protective effect of breastfeeding on any of the issues, which caused a media frenzy, even though their findings weren’t anything new. There had been studies in the past that had the same conclusions but Cohen and Ramey’s study caused such a media hype because of the way it was portrayed to the public, in which mothers could basically criticize each other on whether or not one breastfeeds their child or for how long they breastfed their child. Colen and Ramey made it seem as if there are no extra benefits of using breast milk versus regular formula milk, which is far from the truth. They failed to look at many early factors that are also very important such as the whether or not the mother was on paid maternity leave or the quality of day care that could have also influenced their findings .
            What I personally didn’t like about the Colen and Ramey study is that they completely ignored the benefits of breast milk and instead focused its effects on asthma, which had already been shown in the past that there were no protective effects on it.  Breast milk has been evolving along with humans, and I think there needs to be more studies done on the components in breast milk that influence immune function, metabolism, infant growth, infectious disease risk, and physiological, emotional, and cognitive development.  

The Breastfeeding Argument

The need for further research into the composition of breast milk, its physiological effects on the development of infants, and its potential long-term health benefits seems to be the overarching theme of this week’s readings.

The authors of these blogs make clear this necessity for more research by addressing a study by Colen and Ramey that was a bit too presumptuous in its conclusion that the benefits of breastfeeding are overstated. The problem with that conclusion (besides the fact that crucial data was left out of the study altogether) is that it was made based on a fairly small subset of their sample made up of sibling pairs in which one was breastfed and the other was not.  Using their entire sample, there actually was a positive correlation between breastfeeding and the health outcomes they measured.

It seems that the literature on the subject of breastfeeding/breast milk and the way these studies are reported in the media is only effectively confusing mothers who are trying to make the healthiest, most educated decisions possible for their babies.  On the one hand, there are women who may no longer see the need for breastfeeding because of  studies like Colen and Ramey’s that devalue the possible long term benefits of breastfeeding without even mentioning its well-established short term benefits.  On the other hand, there may be women who go to such extremes as to purchase breast milk online from an unknown donor because of enthusiastic reporting on the advantages of breastfeeding.  I agree with all of these authors in that more research is needed in order to move past the argument of whether or not breastfeeding has health benefits for babies and mothers (because it does) and learn more about how variation in its composition, its synthesis, and the volume that is consumed by infants produces variation in physiological functioning.

Breastfeeding Concerns

I have to say that the readings for this week completely blew me away. I knew that there has always been much controversy or even just talk over mother’s milk, but I never realized the full extent of the topic. What really struck me was Melanie’s picture comparison on the components present in breast milk versus formulas. I already knew that breast milk is almost always the better option when feeding infants, but the arguments presented in the readings made it obvious that formulas just don’t compete.

But the story doesn’t stop there. I say “almost always” because of today’s trend of acquiring breast milk via internet businesses that sell the stuff. Mothers donate to the sites and other mothers that, for whatever reason aren’t able to breastfeed, buy the milk. To me, this sounds downright sketchy. I’m glad that women understand the importance of breastfeeding, but buying mother’s milk off the internet is definitely not the ideal we should be striving towards.

At this point, I couldn’t help but research the ethical and biological concerns in more detail. I noticed the pressing issues that were addressed in multiple blogs were (1) the lack of knowledge we have on the complexity of breast milk’s composition and (2) how the components function and interact with infants. Instead of creating more online breast milk businesses and stressing the things that mother’s milk doesn’t benefit, there needs to be more funding towards the research of breast milk. Through this, we can improve upon formulas. Lastly, I feel like there needs to be less hate towards women that breast feed and those that don’t! It creates division and unwillingness to see things from a different perspective. All in all, fantastic posts!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Breastfeeding: Why the Debate Is (Or Should Be) Over (First Reader)

The breastfeeding debate—should you or shouldn’t you?—seems to crop up every few years and never answers the question definitively. Instead, what usually results is finger wagging in the direction of the “bad mothers” who do/don’t breastfeed (depending on whichever way the wind is blowing at the time). 

The Colen and Ramey article under consideration doesn’t appear to add anything new to the debate. The associations they drew between the protective significance of breast milk against such factors as obesity and hyperactivity were already documented in the literature. What makes their article slightly different from previous ones were the conclusions they drew from comparisons between siblings, which essentially negated these protective factors—a conclusion that is likely overblown.

I’m not much surprised that the article was “pitched” in this way. In the same way that so-called pageview journalism has become a means of attracting an abundance of online readers (usually at the cost of quality reporting), so Colen and Ramey’s addition to the literature on breastfeeding has largely been disseminated to the public in the most headline-grabbing means as possible. It’s similar to the way genetics studies used to be reported when every minor linkage of a gene to a behavior would be front-page news. The genetics community has gotten smarter about the way they present their findings, emphasizing the combined effects of genes rather a single gene for every behavior. Melanie Martin’s blog post suggests a similar solution. Studying the composition of breast milk and the additive effects of breastfeeding for both the baby and the mother’s health would be more beneficial than the endless debate over whether or not mothers should breastfeed at all. The information available now only serves to muddy the waters for mothers when it should be helping them to make informed decisions. 

The Benefits of Breast Milk? -First Responder

Until recently, I had never given a second thought to the difference between using formula and breast milk. I have always thought that breast milk was better than formula, because of all the good things it passes between mom and baby, only some of which include: immune factors, growth agents, and beneficial bacteria. In class, we've already spoken about how beneficial good bacteria is, and how much it can help fight off bad bacteria.

Even after saying all of this, I am very, very hesitant to begin praising the sale of donor milk. Most of my concern comes from the lack of moderation and oversight that is currently used in the sale of breast milk. There is no way of contacting or removing a women for selling bad breast milk, and the harm that it could do to a baby could be potentially fatal. HIV, viruses, bad bacteria, toxins, and even drugs can be passed through milk to a baby. If a baby already is lacking a comprehensive immune system, giving them a dose of bad bacteria or a virus could kill them.

If the correct precautions were made, I would more than welcome the idea of donor breast milk, as it could help thousands of babies, like it already is in NICUs all across the United States. This would also be a wonderful program to help impoverished babies born in struggling parts around the world, like in some third-world nations.

The one thing I struggle with, though, is the idea that scientists studying breast milk and trying to prove something about it are ignoring the wonderful benefits it gives to newborns, and instead, they are focusing on the fact that it doesn't help protect babies against asthma. Should we be demonizing breast milk because it doesn't do something that would just be an added benefit? And if we decide to demonize breast milk, what would we replace it with? Currently, formulas cannot offer the same nutrients and benefits for newborns as breast milk, so they still fall behind there. If there is only one good resource available to feed newborns, why should we be trying to prove that it isn't good for them?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sexual Health, First Responder

In most of my blog posts I think I tend to be a bit over-idealistic. I'll do that again here, but try to follow a rational thought process. From reading the article regarding HPV vaccinations, I do see the possibility of almost if not completely eradicating HPV (assuming the vaccine works) similar to the eradication of small pox. Logically, this would require that every person eventually be vaccinated. To reach that stage, there would have to be a willingness of the majority to pass a law making this vaccine mandatory, or a mass effort using the tactics described in this article. These tactics to reach underserved high-risk populations are very well considered. It completely makes sense to target these populations in order to bring down the disparity. As this new vaccination becomes more mainstream, mainstream populations will probably adopt the norm of getting vaccinated against HPV, leaving behind members of the populations described in the article. So, this would, of course, make the disparity even wider. If this does happen down the road, it could at least lead to attention being brought to the issue.

Unfortunately, I worry that this may be the case and this problem may need to worsen in order for the proper attention to be given to it. The author's methods of working with members of at-risk populations and religious leaders to spread awareness and the sense of urgency to get the vaccination is a lot like the method of spreading breast cancer awareness that we have discussed. This means that the effectiveness of the breast cancer awareness campaign can be an indicator for the effectiveness of a campaign to promote this vaccine. The biggest problem I see is the lack of mass attention, effort and funding. Other issues like smallpox, tobacco use, and breast cancer prevention have had significant effect because of the attention and resources put into them.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Week 12 Searcher

This is the World Health Organization (WHO) website and it describes the current antimicrobial resistance problem that is facing the world. It talks specifically about what antimicrobial resistance is, some of the current illnesses that are antimicrobial resistant, what the effects of this are and how they are working to counteract this. What this expands upon is the fact that if antibiotics don’t work it will cause people to be in the hospital longer, which can lead to more suffering and higher bills and could potentially put us back in the pre-antibiotic era. This can also further complicate other areas where the medical community has made advances such as organ transplants, major surgeries and chemotherapy, making it so these are not as safe to perform. Another unsettling thought is how this can cause a problem in controlling disease since people will be sick longer allowing for it to spread more and with globalization many of these strands that are antibiotic resistant can be spread to other places. This article matches chapter 10 by saying that while this is a natural occurring phenomenon there are some human actions that cause the increase of these resistant strands. Two of these actions are using antibiotics in animals to prevent them from getting sick and losing animals to sell, and the misuse of antibiotics by them being prescribed to patients who don’t need it. It seems this is a very serious problem that definitely needs to be looked into. The WHO recognizes that this is not one single item that needs to be fixed but has multiple causes and is trying to foster collaboration. It does seem to be lacking any concrete ideas of what people are doing to try and solve this problem, which is disturbing and appears we desperately need these ideas as more and more diseases are becoming resistant. 

Searcher -Antibiotic Resistance-

In class, we discussed ways to fight against unicellular organisms. One way was with antibiotics. We said that a big problem with using antibiotics to combat some types of diseases was that bacteria eventually form a resistance and the antibiotic becomes less and less effective.  That got me thinking, “can we somehow work around the bacteria’s ability to resist antibiotics?” Turns out, according to the study, “A Population Model Evaluating the Consequences of the Evolution of Double-Resistance and Tradeoffs on the Benefits of Two-Drug Antibiotic Treatments,” (phew, that’s a mouthful) there are ways to work around unicellular organisms’ ability to form resistances by using more than one antibiotic at once.

The study compares the effectiveness measured in patient recovery time and the bacteria’s formation of resistance of different methods of administrating antibiotics to patients. The methods that were tested were cocktail, when two antibiotics are taken together at the same time; cycling, which is taking one antibiotic and then switching to another after a set amount of time; mixing, which is taking one antibiotic and then switching back and forth; and single, which is taking only one antibiotic. More information on definitions can be found on page 4. What I found most intriguing was that “the two-drug combined COCKTAIL treatment, even when facing single- and double-resistance, can outperform a single drug treatment in the absence of resistance (cf. CONTROL).” (Cambell, 6)

--Here is the link to the study--

--If the first one does not work, here is another link that might--

This article that I found talks about how the increase in allergies is not from being too clean, basically over doing hygiene, but from losing touch with "old friends." The idea this article brings up of "old friends" is the loss of microbes our immune systems evolved with. This article also points out to say that microbial exposure is important and that it is not saying other wise. This is the last thing we discussed in class on Monday the 16th. In the article this hypothesis disproves the hygiene hypothesis.The hypothesis goes to say that challenges of urban living are what connect inflammatory disease. I think this hypothesis seems reasonable.  Changing from a rural environment to an urban one would definitely have some effect on people. Either a negative or positive effect is likely to rise or both. Our diet has also changed quite a bit and the population has increased, which I guess also explains why our diets have changed so much. I was a little confused though, we discussed in class how an inbalance in Th1 and Th2 where the Th1 skew might lead to allergies, asthma, and eczema. This was a very helpful article to read, it really explained everything well, I just feel in needed to have a little bit more to it.

Searcher Microbiomes

Learning about Microbiome’s in class this week really interested me. I have never learned much about them and I thought that it was interesting that they are helpful bacteria to us, yet many people still try to kill them off. This week I found an article about antibiotics and their effect on Mircobiomes. Reading “Good for the Gut” at the end I looked at the comments and someone commented about the affect of antibiotics so I looked more into it.

This article stated that not only the use of antibodies, but also operations such as C-sections have put us in what they referred to as “The Danger Zone”. This relates back to the movie we watched about the low amount of home births in the U.S. The main point of this article was the theory of the head of NYUs Human Microbiome Program. He states “the one reason is the changing microbiome; that we evolved a certain stable situation with our microbiome and with the modern advances of modern life, including modern medical practices, we have been disrupting the microbiome.” This relates back to the mismatch theory.  

This article also discussed what we discussed in class about how babies who are birthed a C-section miss out on the bacteria they would have gotten if they had been born vaginally. There was a study done that compared babies born vaginally and by C-section and they found that babies born my C-section often times did not even have microbiome from their mom on them, it was mostly from other people in the room. This showed how different microbiome is for babies right when they are born. This article was very interesting and discussed a lot of what we have been discussing in class.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

First Respondent

One of my colleagues made a post highlighting the potential benefits of using helminths in treatment of diseases such as ulcerative colitis. I too, look at this optimistically, but as another of my colleagues mentioned, this is only a case study and not a proper random sample. The article mentioned that the helminths used would normally have some negative side-affects, but it did not mention whether or not Loke experienced these. If he did, I suppose they probably weren't nearly as bad as the effects of ulcerative colitis. If not, Loke stumbled onto something wonderful. These articles touched on the idea of modern sanitation and the overkill of hygiene causing more allergies and vulnerabilities in children. These tendencies manifest themselves in more urban areas.
I bring this up because with the urbanization of the population, we may at some point see such a high number of allergies, there may be a demand for prevention rather than treatment. Will we then turn to microorganisms and some sort of artificial exposure, hoping to have the same effect of a vaccine? I see this as a possible direction for the future

Week 12 Searcher

This week our focus is on the immune system and infectious diseases. Although we may not cover it entirely, I decided to research articles on "cures" for diseases, as the "For the Good of the Gut" article inspired me. Oftentimes doctors are pushed to pedal pharmaceuticals on patients as in previous times, these have diminished diseases. However, what did the human body do before large drug corporations? The answer: natural solutions.

Therefore, I found an article about a Chinese herb that lessens the severity of Rheumatoid Arthritis. This is an autoimmune disease which causes inflammation in the joints. Specifically, inflammation is found in the hands and feet of individual's with this disease.
The article can be referenced here:

Similar to "For the Good of the Gut", other populations have been exposed to a natural element such as this for years. It is a natural solution to a difficult problem. Taking the herb called the thunder god vine, lessens the swelling in joints of patients which also helps relieve pain. Like the helminth worms used as a treatment for ulcerative colitis, this herb proves to be a natural solution for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Nature has already created a remedy; so why aren't we using it?

Monday, April 14, 2014

First Reader

­I found the article “Good for the Gut” interesting because I was aware of individuals purposely infecting themselves with parasites such as tapeworms for aesthetic reasons, but never heard of such a symbiotic relationship for medical reasons. The subject of P’ng Loke’s study suffered from ulcerative colitis and would intentionally infect himself with hundreds to thousands of whipworm eggs and allow them to burrow in his intestinal tract. Within months, the pain and inflammation from his ulcers would subside, but over time as the worms were evacuated, symptoms would resume. It turns out, the worms’ presence in the body caused immune cells to produce more mucus than regular, which in turn provided a barrier between E.coli and other beneficial bacteria in the stomach, keeping them from stimulating inflammation of the tract. Further tests have been done in which patients with similar autoimmune diseases ingested worms, where an overwhelming 72.4% showed improvement. What was once thought to be a parasitic relationship has become a symbiotic one in special circumstances such as these. Despite the disturbing nature of this treatment, it may very well prove to be a promising and available form of therapy in the future.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

First Respondent

The article “A Darwinian View of the Hygiene or ‘Old Friends’ Hypothesis” by Graham A.W Rook details the specific outcomes of research that supports the hygiene hypothesis. This hypothesis states that some autoimmune diseases are becoming more prevalent in developed areas due to the lack of exposure to pathogens at a young age. This is due as the lack of pathogen exposure suppresses the natural progression of the immune system and causes a lower degree of immune tolerance. The article “For the Good of the Gut: Can Parasitic Worms Treat Autoimmune Diseases?” by Ferris Jabr elaborates on a specific field of research that is associated with the hygiene hypothesis.  Jabr focuses on the ingestion of parasitic worms to decrease the symptoms associated with gastrointestinal diseases.
In the article by Jabr, it was mentioned that the use of whipworms completely treated the symptoms of a man’s colitis. The article then continues with additional data that supports the use of helminthic therapy without listing any of its’ drawbacks. When reading the article, I initially believed that the whipworm parasite was just a benign worm that probably just hung around in the intestines for a little bit before being passed out without causing any symptoms. However, a quick online search shows that while light infestations of less that 100 worms are usually symptomless (the examples of helminthic therapies in the article used up from 1000-3000 worms), anything more than that number may cause additional GI symptoms such as abdominal pain, bloody diarrhea, and even bacterial infections from the worms penetrating the intestinal lining. These symptoms are for acute expose to the worms only, but seeing as the worm eggs in helminthic therapy need to be reintroduced continually in order to remain symptom free (from the autoimmune disease), it is possible that more serious chronic symptoms can occur. This is why I don’t think helminthic therapy will be a viable option in the future mainly because the costs outweigh the benefits.
However, in the article by Rook he states that the GI microbiota also exert a degree of immunoregulatory control. Because the bacteria in the gut flora is so numerous and has a great deal of diversity/ variation from person to person, it presents a better target in developing therapies against autoimmune diseases. Specifically in determining which species of bacteria are helpful in reducing the symptoms of certain diseases and which species exacerbate the symptoms.    

First Respondent

     First of all, wow. I would never ever willingly consume stomach parasites as a form of therapy or treatment. For me it is likened to that of leeching as a barbaric form of treatment. However, the results of Loke’s study are shocking and bizarre. He found that ulcerative colitis symptoms can be significantly reduced with helminths infection because the worms stimulate mucus production and prevent bad bacteria from spreading. Although the results of his experiment are compelling, the article from Scientific American makes a great point that the sample size is just one. I am not sure a big enough sample size can be achieved because not many people would be willing to submit their bodies to parasitic infection, and even so it would risk bias because it could not be a double blind study. I am surprised that enough people were willing to participate in the trials that the article describes! As for the Microbe magazine article and the chapters we read for this week, I am convinced. When we are exposed to more germs are immune system functions better, when we are not exposed to germs our immune system is not going to be able to handle germs when we eventually run into them. It makes sense. In a past anthropology class I learned that obsessive hygiene around new borns and younger children, parents who attack their children with wet wipes, those children have been shown to have lesser immune systems than their dirty counterparts. The microbe article described that in rural farming areas significantly less children have hay fever and allergy disorders, and I for one would like to take this moment to scold my parents for living in an urban area since my severe seasonal allergies are such a pain in my neck. The section on vaccinations in Chapter 8 made me cringe, I would be absolutely terrified to receive an active vaccination or to be around someone who has received it. As we discussed in class and as mentioned in the text, when the majority of school children are vaccinated some who go unvaccinated can coast by. When not enough are vaccinated diseases and infections can be life threatening to those unvaccinated. When parents today are unwilling to vaccinate due to falsified myths this can be a huge problem for their children and others. After reading these texts, especially after the information on helminth therapy, I have a psycho somatic stomach ache! 

These Old Friends of Ours (Respondent)

One of the first readers makes a good point about the increased prevalence of certain autoimmune disease and inflammatory disorders in urban centers: our current problems are the result result of a tradeoff. The elimination of harmful bacteria through antibiotics was a game-changer. While the grave problems the misuse of antibiotics has caused in treating what should be easily-curable infections should makes us critical, the fact is that implementing good hygiene practices along with the occasional use of antibiotics has drastically reduced mortality rates everywhere.

What I think scientists who are advocating for the “old friend hypothesis,” including Jabr and Rook, are stressing is that our germ-phobic culture has swung too far to one extreme: all germs are bad and must be killed. Our thinking is simply wrong. Instead of viewing bacteria and helminthes as creatures to be avoided at all costs, we must instead think of them as we would any other animal: some are dangerous and should be avoided and others we can live in harmony with and even use to our benefit. The same paradigm shift can be seen in scientists studying the microbiome. The unpleasantly named practice of “fecal transplants” has quickly been recognized as a viable means of treating Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), and its success rests on the notion that we need bacteria in order to be healthy.

Continued research into these “old friends” of ours and a shift in our thinking may be what is necessary to maintain a healthy society in the near future, and I think Rook and Jabr do an excellent job in outlining why this field is so promising and so critical to the future of medicine.  

First Response 4/12

This weeks topic of bacteria and parasite exposure in order to treat or prevent diseases both interested me as well as left me feeling doubtful. The data that was presented by Jabr article on stomach parasites as well as the Rook reading on bacteria exposure and it's effect on autoimmune function and development were both fairly strong points and made a lot of sense. I completely believe that a lack of exposure to traditionally prevalent bacterias and organisms in our environment is constricting our auto immune growth and our resistance to allergy and disease. However, Rook continually called on the boom in urbanization as well as the developed societies hygienic practices as being at fault for an increasing vulnerability to illness and allergy. He frames the cleanliness and the elimination of certain bacterias in a seemingly negative and harmful light to modern society, completely disregarding the amounts of serious illness that has receded in members of developed societies and cultures. The article completely failed to hit on the amount of trade off that is experienced between diseases that hit underdeveloped and less hygienic cultures with the disease vulnerability that is now being felt in more structured and hygienic societies. When actually looking into what we are gaining in terms of health and disease avoidance with a very clean urbanized society along with the increase in risk apparent with decreased exposure to traditional bacteria, the effects being felt by modern society must seem much less menacing than they are presented in Rook's article.

Similar sentiments remain with me after reading Jabr's article on the use of stomach parasites to treat the symptoms of bowel and colon diseases. The idea of infecting a patient with stomach worms to lessen painful symptoms of these illnesses is backed with strong biological and scientific support, with the increased production of mucus. Furthermore, the tested statistics of those with stomach illness infected with parasites against those not infected measuring experienced symptoms saw overwhelming support for the infection of worms to treat the negative effects of illnesses as being a successful treatment method. However, I remained skeptical of this theory due to the negative effects that are often associated with tapeworms and other parasites in the human body. In the Jabr article, many of the side effects that came with the infection of parasites in humans were comparable to the symptoms experienced by patients with serious stomach illnesses. I think that the idea of parasite treatment has great potential and is also very helpful in aiding our understanding of what fights the symptoms of those with stomach illness. However, I would need to see more data on parasites treating the symptoms successfully with only a negative downside experienced by patients before I would consider it a truly viable treatment option. I also believe that a less harmful cure must continually be strode for in the medical field.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Grandmother hypothesis applies to whales too!

This article actually helped me to understand the grandmother hypothesis a little more. Whales are similar to humans in that females live long past menopause. I know we had discussed it in class, but it now makes sense to me that females would be the ones to aid fitness as a trade off from losing fertility. It is also very interesting to see such a similar social environment in whales as exists in great apes. This leads me to ask what other species see patterns of grandmothering and fitness. Surely they would be species that live beyond reproduction and are also very social. This is a very narrow category and I cannot think of another species that might see this phenomenon.

Searcher: Aubrey de Grey - 8 years later

I had watched Aubrey de Grey’s TedTalk at least twice before we watched it in class on Monday.  I found it fascinating.  Could an unlimited extension of the human lifespan really be possible? And within my lifetime?  Although I certainly was not (and still am not) banking on this happening, the thought was, admittedly, slightly comforting.  People were actually doing research on how to overcome the apparent biological inevitability of growing old, something I and undoubtedly many others are not looking forward to.

Searching around for something worthwhile to write a blog post about, I stumbled upon a presentation at TedxDanubia that de Grey gave in 2013.

While the 2005 TedTalk seemed to be mostly just theory, this talk delves further into the actual research de Grey is doing, much of which has been done in the years since 2005.  What he hopes to accomplish overall seems like the stuff of a utopian (or possibly dystopian..) fiction.  His goal is to provide a rejuvenation treatment that will reverse or cure the accumulation of damage that happens to our bodies before it leads to disease, essentially allowing us to remain at peak health indefinitely.  He described in an interview what this treatment might look like: go to the hospital to get your treatment, stay for a day/week/month, and come out good as new.  However idealistic or great such a treatment might sound, there are serious social implications that would need to be considered.  There would certainly be a social stratification in who could obtain these sorts of treatments.  And, like we said in class, a population overload is a real concern.  Humanity in its entirety is not going to make a collective decision to stop having children, and an extension of the reproductive years could possibly lead to an exponential increase in the number of children that are born.   

That being said, I don’t think de Grey’s research should be wholeheartedly dismissed as foolish or too idealistic to actually work.  Maybe small steps towards his ultimate goal could lead to insights, and possible treatments, for debilitating diseases of the elderly.

Searcher How Grandmothers Gave Us Longer Lives

This week in class we have been exploring the question of why we age, and one of the proximate reasons that we looked at was the grandmother hypothesis. This states that the behaviors that grandmothers exhibit, such as providing the mother support with childcare and provision increases longevity. The grandmother hypothesis is interesting because humans are the only primates that live long after menopause and humans are also the only primates in which the grandmother provides support in taking care of the child. Rebecca Jacobson goes into some of the reasons as to why having grandmothers around has helped our longevity. One of the reasons as to why humans live past the years of menopause is that the more grandchildren a grandmother has the more genes that she will pass on. Grand mothering might have also been one of the factors that caused us humans to be so social.  Peter Kim made a mathematical model to see you long it would take our lifespan to change from that of our ape ancestors to that of modern hunter gather groups by adding grandmothers that were one percent of the female adult population and could take care of any child over the age of two. What he found was that the number of grandmothers in that population rose to more than forty percent in less than 60,000 years and the human life expectancy doubled (Jacobson, 2012). Grandmothers are very important to society but I think there are also other factors that increased human longevity.