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Thread: Take Heart: Deep Cold Good for Genes

  1. #1
    Just a Virtualized Geek MrLinus's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Redondo Beach, CA

    Take Heart: Deep Cold is good for you

    My ancenstors must have defective genes then. I'm still freezing my tushi off here..


    Take heart: Deep cold good for genes
    If your ancestors survived winter, you're better off for it

    Harsh migration from Africa to Europe favoured hardiest


    OTTAWA—Here's some small comfort from science during the current deep freeze: Enduring cold weather is good for your health.

    Unfortunately, the scientists aren't talking about our current suffering from icy cheeks and tingling fingers. But if your ancient ancestors put up with similar frigid conditions you're now genetically hardwired to be less prone to diabetes, heart attacks, dementia and organ failures.

    "Which means you'll live longer," says Doug Wallace, a top U.S. genetics expert and lead author of the cold-is-good study.

    Wallace and colleagues concluded that harsh winter climates favoured certain human genetic mutations after close scrutiny of special kinds of DNA sequences in 1,125 people from around the world.

    By isolating differences in the DNA, the researchers were able to pinpoint the specific genetic sequences that allowed some people migrating from Africa 65,000 years ago to survive the much colder climate in northern Europe and Asia.

    "It's the efficiency of their energy metabolism. The people from Africa who didn't have the right genetic sequences simply froze to death," said Wallace, who heads a genetics centre at the University of California in Irvine.

    Those same inherited genetic sequences also mean the modern descendents of the cold-adapted migrants aren't hit as hard or as early by Alzheimer's and common age-related afflictions, the researchers say in their report published recently in Science, a leading U.S. research journal.

    As well, this natural selection may explain why people respond differently to popular high-protein diets, Wallace suggests.

    The findings are controversial because researchers looked at DNA within mitochondria, tiny bacteria-like structures that live inside the cells of the human body. Medical researchers have largely ignored mitochondrial DNA because it contains only 13 genes compared with the roughly 24,000 genes of the DNA in the nucleus of human cells.

    Yet the mitochondria are important. They are the cell's power plant, burning oxygen, fat and sugars to produce heat and ATP, the chemical that provides the fuel for cells to perform their millions of different tasks inside the body, ranging from flexing frozen fingers to thinking about warm sunny beaches.

    In people whose ancient ancestors had to survive severe cold, the mitochondria power plants burn most efficiently, producing large amounts of heat, as well as chemical energy. In warm-climate descendants who didn't need as much body heat, the under-used mitochondria spew out a form of toxic smoke, called oxygen radicals, that damage cells and accelerate age-related diseases.

    "Because mitochondria are inherited solely from the mother you never have any crossovers from the other parent. The only way the mitochondria DNA can change is through mutation, which makes it possible to construct these family trees so far back," Wallace explained at a research seminar this summer.

    The publication of the findings in a leading research journal like Science is a breakthrough for Wallace's mitochondria work.

    "We need to start looking at genetic factors that determine the metabolic balance in the body. We need to optimize people's lifestyles to their metabolic balance," Wallace said.

    The researcher said there was no special way his findings could help warm Canadians now enduring a prolonged deep freeze.

    "You guys just need to move here," he said from his home in California.
    Goodbye, Mittens (1992-2008). My pillow will be cold without your purring beside my head
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  2. #2
    AO French Antique News Whore
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Yes baby! Minus 40 is good for me but it's horrible for my car!
    -Simon \"SDK\"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Heh... I read this related article in a Belgian newspaper this morning. Here's a summarized translation:


    According to Professor Clement of the VUB (Belgian University), our blowing-nose-techniques are wrong. If you blow your nose too often and too hard, you're vulnerable to chronical sinusitis. Correct blowing-nose-techniques are the solution.

    Blowing your nose is unnatural human behaviour. Humans are the only animals that blow their noses, and the human body is actually made to transfer the slime to the inside, while the opposite is true when you blow your nose.

    According to Professor Clement, approximately 40% of the worlds population suffer from chronical sinusitis.

    Clement investigated three nose-blowing techniques: blowing your nose with one hole open, with both holes open, and with both holes closed where the "patient" opens one hole with force.

    He discovered a link between chronical sinusitis and the pressure excercised while blowing your nose. The higher the pressure, the higher the risk.

    The best technique is blowing your nose with one hole open, little pressure, and only when it is absolutely necessary.

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