Most People seem to agree that we cannot and do not want to go back to the past, but the reason given is often wrong; that time has moved on and what was can never be again. The truth is that we cannot go back to what we never left. Our home is the earth, our time the Pleistocene Ice Ages. The past is the formula for our being.
(Paul Shepard)

Monday, 16 April 2012

Excuses, excuses

I made the mistake of reading the Guardian newspaper and being rather more involved with mainstream thinking on nutrition this Easter. From the position I now hold on food it is a constant surprise to me to see how far from the "norm" I am and how much of mainstream knowledge is based on total gumpf.
Anyhow in amongst the vegetarian restaurants (we should be vegetarian for eco-political reasons apparently) and recipes for Easter chicken I found this gem...

"There are established studies that argue vegetarians are 50% less likely to contract certain common cancers than carnivores."

Read that to yourself it doesn't actually say anything beyond the fact that humans who eat meat are carnivores! " Established studies, argue , 50%" now to be fair the man who wrote that isn't a vegetarian (any more) but it is an astonishingly weak sentence written by one of Britain's finest cancer doctors. Meat is often associated with cancer which is interesting to me as far as I know it is only linked in epidemiological studies and despite several ward studies no toxic compound has been found in meat itself, a food we have been evovlving to eatin increasing quantities for millions of years . There are ward studies and metabolic pathways for the role of sugar in cancer but naturally everyones favourite food gets an all clear.
You can't avoid cancer in the modern world we are exposed to carcinogens all day every day but you can stack the deck in your favour. Obviously I'm not going to take our wonderful Government's advice.
In Paleopathology at the Origin of Agriculture the authors mentioned the first cancer being detected in a body from the bronze age. Cancer was of course known to the ancients (who named it) and there are pictures of it from the 17th century. Cancer has been around for a long time though at much lower rates than present. Cancer has not been described in any hunter gatherer population and indeed when cancer rates began their dramatic rise in the early 19th century the Inuit among others were studied because of their low cancer rates.
The first excuse is about detection, but this just means that the excuser is ignorant about late stage cancer, google it but be warned it's horrible, then remember that these are people who live by observing nature, they will notice the disease that turns you into a flesh cauliflower.
The second excuse is that cancer is a disease of old age, hunter gatherers died young which explains the lack of cancer in their societies. Acculturated HG people have higher life expectancies and consequently more cancer. This excuse is laid out in this risible BBC article.
As you know gentle reader many hunter gatherers (and horticulturalists who also have low to non-existent cancer rates) live well into their 80's but have a very high incidence of childhood deaths and accidental deaths. The fact is that these populations do have old people no matter how few and that none of them have cancer. Given that cancer affects one in three people we should ,if it is a disease of old age, see people over 65 with some cancer in fact we should see rates at least similar to ours, we don't there is none. Now the article states clearly that 35% of cancer affects those who are younger than 65 so it follows we should see some cancer among younger hunter gatherers but we don't.
So a third of cancers occur in younger people but cancer is a disease of old age but we have populations with no trace of cancer in either young or old but we can discount them because....they have a low mean age at death.
Now I don't have no fancy diploma like you egg heads from back East but if I was told about societies that showed no trace of a medical conditions that directly affects one third of the population I would want to know why. I certainly wouldn't start making excuses and that's what this article is an excuse got in first. Expect to see more.

No comments:

Post a Comment