Neanderthal Study Argues The Original Paleo Diet Included Flavorful Herbs

As you’ve surely figured out by now, especially if you’re Facebook friends with any Crossfit enthusiasts, the fastest-growing diet of the past few years is the Paleo diet. It restricts adherents’ food intake to ingredients that were — at least theoretically — consumed by hominids in the Paleolithic Age, which ended sometime around 10,000 B.C.E. That means no wheat, no sugar, no alcohol and certainly no artificial additives.

Paleo is surely one of the most imaginatively daring diets ever devised. The underpinning idea is that the key to ideal health is to return, as much as possible, to the way our ancestors ate in some Edenic past before agriculture, urban life or written history, when our dietary choices were governed by inborn animalistic impulses rather than societal morays. By connecting the waning of man’s health and vigor with the waxing of agriculture, Paleo’s supporters tap into beliefs about human history so fundamental that they’re encoded in the Book of Genesis. It may be the true source of Paleo’s popularity isn’t so much its demonstrated health benefits as the near-universal potency of the story of the fall.

But the more scientists learn about our distant ancestors, the less basic this pre-historic idyll seems. The latest salvo comes in the form of an article about the dietary habits of Neanderthals, published in the April issue of the journal Antiquity.

The study’s authors, led by French anthropologist Sabrina Krief, draw on a 2012 study of a cache of 50,000-year-old Neanderthal remains found in a cave in northern Spain. The team behind the earlier study, which was led by Spanish archeologist Karen Hardy, found traces of chemicals embedded in the Spanish Neanderthal’s teeth that derive from two herbs, chamomile and yarrow. Because chamomile and yarrow are known to —> Read More

Having Both Depression And Type 2 Diabetes Increases Dementia Risk

By: Agata Blaszczak-Boxe
Published: April 15, 2015 12:14pm ET on LiveScience.

Adults who have either depression or type 2 diabetes may have an increased risk of developing dementia, and the risk may be even higher for people who have both conditions, according to a new study.

In the study, researchers examined the risk of dementia in more than 2.4 million people in Denmark ages 50 and older, a group that included people who had type 2 diabetes, depression or both conditions. About 2 percent of the people in the study developed dementia over the six-year study period.

But among those who developed dementia, more than 26 percent had depression, and almost 11 percent had type 2 diabetes. In addition to those groups, another 7 percent had both conditions.

The researchers found that the people with diabetes had a 20 percent greater risk of dementia compared with the people who did not have diabetes or depression. For the people who had depression, the risk of dementia was increased by 80 percent.

The researchers were surprised that the risk of dementia for the people with depression but not diabetes was so much higher than for those who had diabetes but not depression, said study author Dr. Dimitry Davydow, of the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle.

“Essentially, what we found is that the risk associated with depression was four times greater than that associated with diabetes,” Davydow told Live Science. [7 Ways Depression Differs in Men and Women]

The people who had been diagnosed with both diabetes and depression were more than twice as likely to have dementia during the study period than people who did not have either condition. (In people with type 2 diabetes — which is the most common type of diabetes, making up about 90 percent of cases — —> Read More

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