I don’t know that this has been studied closely, or that there is any evidence supporting the theory, but it is a hilarious theory – blame men for menopause!
By: Tia Ghose, LiveScience Staff Writer
Published: 06/13/2013 05:04 PM EDT on LiveScience
Ladies, here’s one more thing you can blame on men: menopause. At least, that’s according to a new theory.
Women go through menopause because men have consistently preferred younger women in recent evolutionary history, according to a study published today (June 13) in the journal PLOS Computational Biology.Thus, menopause is not evolutionarily advantageous and may be the result of a series of random, harmful mutations that accumulated in women but weren’t acted on by evolution because the women had already reproduced by the time the mutations affected them.
“Our first assumption is that mating in humans is not random with respect to age, which means men of all ages prefer to mate with younger women,” said study co-author Rama Singh, an evolutionary biologist at McMaster University in Canada. “If mating is with younger women, any deleterious mutations which affect women’s reproduction later in life will accumulate because they are not being acted on by natural selection.”
Menopause, in which women stop menstruating and become infertile, has been a long-standing puzzle for biologists: Why would evolution have led to a trait that essentially reduces the reproductive potential of an animal?
Most other animals don’t go through menopause (although killer whales do). Even chimpanzees, humans’ closest living relatives, seem to reproduce into old age in the wild, and males even prefer older females.
Biologists have proposed the grandmother hypothesis to explain the conundrum. The hypothesis holds that menopause allows a grandmother who is done rearing her own kids to help rear the young of her children, thereby increasing the survival odds of her grandkids, and therefore, her genes.
But grandchildren and grandparents share just a quarter of their genes, versus half for children and their parents, so menopause would have to dramatically boost survival of grandchildren to be evolutionarily advantageous. Past studies have shown that maternal grandmothers boost their grandkids’ survival rates, though exactly how much depends on the society.
For thousands of years (at least), men have, on average, mated with younger women, Singh said.
That’s because, if all else is equal, “those who reproduce earlier, their genes are passed on faster,” Singh told LiveScience.
So the researchers created a computer simulation to model that preference.
Early on, both men and women in the model reproduced until death. But over time, the model found, men’s preference for youth reduced older women’s odds of reproducing.
Simultaneously, people accumulated random mutations, some of which decreased later-life reproductive ability. But since older women were left out in the cold anyways, those mutations didn’t impact their reproductive success, whereas mutations in men that could reduce late-life reproduction were weeded out. (Men who stopped reproducing at some point in life would produce fewer offspring than those who didn’t, and the late reproducers would outcompete those who stopped breeding earlier.)
Over 50,000 to 100,000 years, the accumulation of all those mutations could have led to universal menopause, the researchers suggest. Menopause would then be another form of aging akin to graying hair or wrinkles.
If later childbearing becomes the norm, as current societal trends suggest, women who can reproduce at older ages might gain an evolutionary advantage, and menopause could, in theory be pushed later, Singh said.But it’s more plausible that technological changes such as fertility treatments will artificially extend women’s ability to reproduce, Singh said.
But the new model might have the causation reversed, wrote Kristen Hawkes, an anthropologist at the University of Utah, who was not involved in the study, in an email to LiveScience.
As human life spans increased, women might have had many healthy years after fertility. As a result, men grew to prefer younger women because older women couldn’t reproduce.
Supporting that hypothesis, female chimpanzees see their egg reserves decline around the same age as human females, Hawkes noted. But unlike humans, they die shortly after this age, whereas humans have decades of healthy life left.
“The preference men have for young partners is a striking contrast with other primates,” Hawkes said. “My guess about that has been it’s a consequence of our life history.”
First, you have to go to this BBC Science Website, where cats in a Surrey village were tracked by the Royal Veterinary College to see where they would go during 24 hour periods. You click on each cat to see the route they followed – some are amazing – and then you can click on a video to have a glimpse of cat life, usually including the underside of a cat chin. It is fascinating and hilarious.
I still have a large contingent of loyal readers from Kuwait, but by early this morning, I could see something was up:
It’s not often that I have 132 Kuwait hits before noon.
So I checked the Kuwait Times:
Expat deportations will continue: Traffic chief – 11,800 deported in two-and-a-half months
KUWAIT: Major General Abdulfattah Al-Ali’s name has become synonymous with extensive traffic campaigns, aimed at enforcing the law at all costs, including implementation of mass deportations. The senior Interior Ministry official, who takes pride in deporting 11,800 people and impounding 3,000 vehicles during his tenure as head of the Ahmadi Security Department over the past two and a half years, told a local daily that deporting expatriates for serious violations will continue without an end date. “Administrative deportation of violating expatriates is not going to stop, especially of those carrying passengers illegally, in which case a person would be in violation of traffic and labor regulations,” Maj Gen Al-Ali, the Interior Ministry’s Assistant Undersecretary for Traffic Affairs, told Al-Rai on Friday.
He added that any ticket can be disputed “by a request to refer the case for traffic department investigations”. In the series of crackdowns that started late April, at least 2,000 traffic violations were registered, including 1,000 tickets issued directly on the street, while thousands of people were reportedly deported. Moreover, Maj Gen Al-Ali revealed that the ministry collected KD4 million, out of the KD24 million owed in traffic fines, during the same period. In that regard, the senior official pointed out that only KD8 million worth of fines are registered against individuals, while the rest are against companies and state departments. Out of the KD8 million, KD6 million is registered against expatriates, Maj Gen Al-Ali said. “Cases are soon to be filed with the traffic court in order to issue travel ban orders against people with more than KD80 in fines owed to the ministry,” he added.
Al-Rai published Maj Gen Al-Ali’s statement yesterday, along with a transcript of an interview with Al- Watan TV during which he defended the ongoing campaigns. “Our procedures are necessary to save lives, with average statistics indicating that 450 people are killed and 3,000 are injured annually due to traffic accidents,” he explained. During the interview, Maj Gen Al-Ali insisted that all drivers are equal when it comes to implementation of the law. “There have been doctors among the people deported, including a surgeon caught driving without a license for three years,” he said, before confirming news reports that he had taken a decision to impound a vehicle owned by Minister of Cabinet Affairs Sheikh Mohammad Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah on grounds of repeated violations committed by his personal driver. Meanwhile, the senior official urged any person who had obtained a license through illegal means to dispose of it “because once caught, they are going to be charged with forgery”. —Al-Rai, Al-Watan
From the UK Daily Mail Online:
The Western diet really IS a killer: People who eat white bread, butter and red meat are most likely to die young
- Those who ate fried and unhealthy food had doubled risk of early death
- Key culprits include red meat, white bread, butter, cream and sweet foods
- Findings ‘help explain’ why heart disease is still the UK’s biggest killer
PUBLISHED: 13:20 EST, 16 April 2013 | UPDATED: 02:08 EST, 17 April 2013
The typical Western diet, high in fat and sugar, really does lead to an early grave, new research suggests.
A study of more than 5,000 civil servants found those who ate the most fried and sweet food, processed and red meat, white bread and butter and cream doubled their risk of premature death or ill health in old age.
It adds to evidence that ‘Western style food’ is the reason why heart disease claims about 94,000 lives a year in the UK – more than any other illness.
The findings published in The American Journal of Medicine are based on a survey of British adults and suggest adherence to the diet increases the risk of premature death and disability later in life.
Lead researcher, Dr Tasnime Akbaraly, of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in France, said: ‘The impact of diet on specific age-related diseases has been studied extensively, but few investigations have adopted a more holistic approach to determine the association of diet with overall health at older ages.’
She examined whether diet, assessed in midlife, using dietary patterns and adherence to the Alternative Healthy Eating Index (AHEI), is associated with physical ageing 16 years later.
The AHEI is an index of diet quality, originally designed to provide dietary guidelines with the specific intention to combat major chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.
Dr Akbaraly added: ‘We showed that following specific dietary recommendations such as the one provided by the AHEI may be useful in reducing the risk of unhealthy ageing, while avoidance of the “Western-type foods” might actually improve the possibility of achieving older ages free of chronic diseases.’
The researchers analysed data from the British Whitehall II cohort study and found following the AHEI can double the odds of reversing metabolic syndrome, a range of disorders known to cause heart disease and mortality.
They followed 3,775 men and 1,575 women from 1985-2009 with a mean age of 51 years.
Using a combination of hospital data, results of screenings conducted every five years, and registry data, investigators identified death rates and chronic diseases among participants.
At the follow up stage, just four per cent had achieved ‘ideal ageing’ – classed as being free of chronic conditions and having high performance in physical, mental and mental agility tests.
About 12 per cent had suffered a non-fatal cardiovascular event such as a stroke or heart attack, while almost three per cent had died from cardiovascular disease.
About three quarters were categorised as going through ‘normal ageing’.
The researchers said participants who hadn’t really stuck to the AHEI increased their risk of death, either from heart disease or another cause.
Those who followed a ‘Western-type diet’ consisting of fried and sweet food, processed food and red meat, refined grains, and high-fat dairy products, lowered their chances for ideal ageing.
Driving in the Middle East is a whole other world, a world of chaos until you realize that the rules are different, no matter what the published rules are. To drive in Qatar, I started at 0430 on a Friday morning, when there was little or no traffic (things have changed) and would drive until traffic began to thicken. Eventually, I knew the city and gained confidence that I could drive without getting killed. In Kuwait, for months, I would only drive to relatively nearby shopping areas, or drive only on back roads carefully plotted on the map during low traffic hours. After a while, you begin to get a sense of things, and the sensation of imminent death lessens.
Adventures in Qatar: a radiator dropping off a truck in front of me, being hit on purpose by a man who didn’t like women driving, being pushed into a round about by a Hummer, being nearly assaulted by two young Qataris who believed we had insulted them by being in the lane where they wanted to be, watching men drive up the wrong side of the ring roads because they were too important to wait in line, later standing and laughing at their crashed cars – Daddy would buy them another. It sounds crazy, but you get used to it.
Kuwait was a whole different ball game, controlled chaos at high speeds. Adventures in Kuwait: the sleeping elderly man driving in the lane next to me who almost hit me, watching drivers drive through red lights as if they were green, sparks off the fenders of SUVs on Highway 30 as people wove quickly in and out of traffic, the dramatic crashed and burned out cars on the sides of the highways, the car impaled on a palm tree – 10 feet above the road. Kuwait was so surreal that I couldn’t even begin to imagine how some of the accidents happened; I learned to be a very prayerful driver.
So out of idle curiosity, today I looked up highest rate of traffic fatalities per country, and found this on Wikipedia. So here’s a surprise . . . Kuwait’s fatalities statistic is roughly equal to that of the United States. Qatar’s is significantly higher, and many countries are even double or triple Kuwaits fatality rate. I’m having trouble wrapping my mind around this.
List of countries Fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants
Benin 31.2 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 10.9
British Virgin Islands 21.7
Brunei Darussalam 13.8
Burkina Faso 31.1
Cape Verde 25.1
Central African Republic 32.2
Republic of the Congo 28.8
Cook Islands 45.0
Costa Rica 15.4
Czech Republic 10.4
Dominican Republic 17.3
El Salvador 12.6
The Gambia 36.6
Republic of Ireland 3.51
Republic of Korea 11.3
Marshall Islands 7.4
Federated States of Micronesia 14.4
New Zealand 8.6
Palestinian territories 5.6
Papua New Guinea 14.2
Puerto Rico 12.8
Republic of Macedonia 6.9
Republic of Moldova 15.1
Saint Lucia 17.6
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 6.6
San Marino 0
Sao Tome and Principe 33.0
Saudi Arabia 29.0
Sierra Leone 28.3
Solomon Islands 16.9
South Africa 33.2
Sri Lanka 13.5
Syrian Arab Republic 32.9
Trinidad and Tobago 15.5
United Arab Emirates 37.1
United Kingdom 3.59
United Republic of Tanzania 34.3
United States of America 12.3
Like all statistics, I think some are honest, and some need to be taken with a grain of salt. I found reading through them fascinating. You can get more information, accidents per thousand cars, total accidents, etc.
I am appalled. I have scoured the TV News, have looked through newspapers – not a word! I steam at corruption in Kuwait and Qatar and Saudi Arabia, and then a small NPR Report on yesterday’s news alerts me to a measure, passed in Congress, WITHOUT A WHISPER!
(oh? I was shouting? Sorry. Carried away. Outraged) You can access the NPR station and listen to the entire repulsive report by clicking here.
Congress Repeals Financial Disclosure Requirements For Senior U.S. Officials
by EYDER PERALTA
A tourist takes cover underneath an umbrella while snapping a photo of the U.S. Capitol on March 6, 2013 in Washington, DC.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Joining the Senate, the House of Representatives approved a measure today that repeals a requirement that top government officials post financial disclosures on the Internet.
The House, like the Senate, acted quietly without a vote. Instead, they sent the measure to the president’s desk by unanimous consent.
The provision was part of the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (Stock), which became law in March of 2012. The act was intended to stop members of congress from profiting from nonpublic information.
As NPR’s Tamara Keith reported, at the time, Sen. Joe Lieberman called the law “the most significant congressional ethics reform legislation to pass Congress in at least five years.”
“That law mainly addressed conflict-of-interest policies for members of Congress and their staffs, but it also included a requirement that the financial disclosure forms filed by some 28,000 high-ranking federal employees be posted online.
“While those forms are public records, they must be requested individually from employing agencies. The Stock Act envisions online posting first on agency sites and later in a central, searchable database.
“The posting requirement was delayed three times out of concerns about the potential for identity theft and other crimes against career employees, as well as security risks to the government.”
The Sunlight Foundation, which advocates for a more open government,called today’s repeal an “epic failure.”
The foundation explained that instead of addressing specific security concerns, Congress has acted broadly.
For instance, they note, the president, vice president, members of Congress, congressional candidates and individuals subject to Senate confirmation are still required to make their financial disclosures public. But the change in law now makes the posting of those disclosures on the Internet optional.
“Not only does the change undermine the intent of the original bill to ensure government insiders are not profiting from non-public information (if anyone thinks high level congressional staffers don’t have as much or more insider information than their bosses, they should spend some time on Capitol Hill) but it sets an extraordinarily dangerous precedent suggesting that any risks stem not from information being public but from public information being online.
“Are we going to return to the days when the public can use the Internet to research everything exceptwhat their government is doing? Will Congress, in its twisted wisdom, decide that information is public if journalists, academics, advocates and citizens are forced to dig through file cabinets in basements in Washington, DC to find it? And does anyone think that makes us safer?
“As my colleague Tom Lee noted, ‘This approach is known as ‘security through obscurity.’ Essentially, the idea is that rather than fixing a system’s flaws, you can just make the system opaque or unusable or unpopular enough that those flaws never surface.’”
Update at 5:35 p.m. ET. 30 Seconds:
NPR’s Tamara Keith tells us the House procedure took exactly 30 seconds.
Correction at 5:29 p.m. ET. An earlier version of his post said the House followed the Senate. In fact, the Senate voted Thursday and the House voted today.
I found the report of this newest survey on National Public Radio’s The Salt:
A Daily Habit Of Green Tea Or Coffee Cuts Stroke Risk
by ALLISON AUBREY
March 15, 2013
Whether it’s green tea that warms you up, or coffee that gives you that morning lift, a new study finds both can help cut the risk of suffering a stroke.
The study, published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke, included 82,369 men and women in Japan.
Researchers found that the more green tea a person drank, the more it reduced the risk of suffering a stroke.
“It’s almost a 20 percent lower risk of stroke in the green tea drinkers” who drank four cups a day, compared with those who rarely drank green tea, explains Dr. Ralph Sacco of the University of Miami. (He’s the past president of the American Heart Association, and we asked him to review the study for us.)
And with coffee, researchers found just one cup per day was also associated with about a 20 percent decreased risk of stroke during a 13-year follow-up period.
“I was still feeling rather surprised” about the findings, Dr. Yoshihiro Kokubo, the study’s lead author, tells The Salt in an email. Kokubo is a researcher at the Department of Preventive Cardiology, National Cerebra and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan.
Kokubo says that green tea contains compounds known as catechins, which help regulate blood pressure and help improve blood flow. The compounds also seem to promote an anti-inflammatory effect. Kokubo says coffee, which contains caffeine and compounds known as quinides, likely influences our health through different mechanisms.
It’s not just the Japanese who seem to benefit from drinking coffee and green tea. Over the past few years, researchers in the U.S. have documented similar reductions in heart disease risk among Americans.
“The accumulating evidence from a variety of studies is suggesting that green tea and coffee may be protective,” says Sacco.
And, in addition, recent studies have linked a regular coffee habit to a range of benefits — from a reduced risk of Type 2 diabetes to a protective effect against Parkinson’s disease.
It’s interesting to note how much the thinking about caffeine and coffee has changed.
In the 1980s, surveys found that many Americans were trying to avoid it; caffeine was thought to be harmful, even at moderate doses.
One reason? Meir Stampfer of the Harvard School of Public Health says back then, coffee drinkers also tended to be heavy smokers. And in early studies, it was very tough to disentangle the two habits.
“So it made coffee look bad in terms of health outcomes,” says Stampfer.
But as newer studies began to separate out the effects of coffee and tea, a new picture emerged suggesting benefits, not risks.
Researchers say there’s still a lot to learn here — they haven’t nailed down all the mechanisms by which coffee and tea influence our health. Nor have they ruled out that it may be other lifestyle habits among coffee and tea drinkers that’s leading to the reduced risk of disease.
And experts say when it comes to preventing strokes and heart attacks, no food or drink is a magic bullet. It’s our overall patterns of eating and exercise that are important.
“It’s a whole lifestyle approach, and we need to remember that,” says Sacco.
So if you are already in the habit of drinking coffee or green tea, this study is one more bit of evidence that you can go ahead and enjoy it.