Friday, August 23, 2013

Social Jet Lag

Irregular sleep patterns associated with intense
weekday work may drive diabetes and obesity. And sleep deprivation
boosts the risk of hypertension, Alzheimer's, even cancer."

"Social jet lag" is experienced by those who sleep short on workdays,
then stay up later but sleep longer on weekends. If that is your
pattern, you are more likely to be depressed and obese....  if you don't
get enough or get it at the wrong times, you expose yourself to a wide
range of health consequences."

"Endocrinologists had begun
untangling the connection between sleep deprivation, diabetes, and
obesity more than a decade ago. This year her team discovered that sleep
deprivation impedes the metabolism of glucose, the sugar that powers
the body, in fat cells by a startling 30 percent. Lack of sleep affects
appetite, too: A 2012 Swedish brain-scan study identified
heightened activity in the right anterior cingulate cortex—a brain
region associated with hunger control—in the sleep-deprived. "

sleep combined with insomnia heightened the risk of hypertension... And
there are health penalties of varying when we sleep, regardless of the
total amount."

".... Also dysfunction of the pancreas, which
produces the insulin that regulates sugar in the blood. As a result, the
strain of extreme time shifting led to a form of hyperglycemia that
foreshadows diabetes."

Friday, August 2, 2013

The 'Morning-after' Pill vs. RU-486

"The hormones on the Plan B pill prevent pregnancy only by blocking ovulation. If a woman is already pregnant, Plan B does not work."

"There is an abortifacient being used regularly across America, but it's not Plan B. RU-486 is a drug that's used to end pregnancies of less than eight weeks."

"Critics also worry that instead of being a "Plan B" for emergencies, the morning-after pill will become the only plan some young people have for contraception, leading them to shun condoms and become more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases. In response, women's health advocates argue that research shows that at least 30 percent of 15- and 16-year-olds are already having sex, and will continue to do so whether or not they have access to Plan B."

My Comment: If social conservatives would do a decent job researching STDs, they'd realize that fear of pregnancy is nothing compared to the multitude of STDs that cause a multitude if health ailments. There a couple of dozen common types; but there are many many more that cause or trigger many variants of disease. This is a new field of study.

Note: "When you have sex with someone, you are having sex with everyone they have had sex with for the last ten years, and everyone they and their partners have had sex with for the last ten years.... people can get tested for STDs, be told that they are clean, and then transmit dormant STDs the tests did not detect. Most tests today pick up the majority of the infections they are testing for. The problem is that many people believe they have been tested for all STDs when, in reality, they have been tested for only a few.

Recently a high school girl was considering sleeping with her boyfriend. She was a virgin, but he had been with eleven girls. If his previous partners were as sexually active as he had been (and depending on the types of STDs), she could be exposing herself to the possible infections of more than two thousand people if she slept with him once."

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Cooperation Instinct

"In a dog-eat-dog world, people still 
cooperate, collaborate, and help each other out. Our species’ urge to work together has remained 
an evolutionary paradox, seemingly at odds with Darwinian theory—until now.....

NOTE: "At the multicellular level of cooperation that defines an organism, there is genetic mechanisms in place that allow cells and organs to cooperate. Between individual organisms there exist various levels of internal biological mechanisms and external social mechanisms that foster cooperation that builds social connections and societies."

"There are five crucial mechanisms that drive supercooperation in highly social species like ours:

"The first mechanism is Tit for Tat, or direct reciprocity—“I will if you will”—which represented the first outbreak of cooperation in the prisoner’s dilemma simulation."

"Next comes the much more advanced mechanism of indirect reciprocity, or reputation, when one individual is willing to help another not because of personal experience but because others have described having good prior encounters with that person."

"Nowak identifies the third mechanism as “spatial selection”—interaction born of living in proximity. Within a small area, social networks aid survival and cooperation flowers."

"The fourth is multilevel selection, involving larger groups like towns, tribes, or companies. These structures encourage cooperation among their members."

"The fifth mechanism is a version of the familiar kin selection, the tendency to cooperate with blood relations. Nowak believes blood ties might play a role—but one defined more by social cooperation than by the propagation of family genes."

Altruism emerged because it gave some individuals an edge in the struggle to survive. The survivors passed the beneficial, altruistic genes to their descendants and so on and so forth until, over time, groups of survivors banded together to form a defensible nest. The motive of any one creature may have been selfish, but extreme cooperation was the happy result. When individuals were forced into the same space (because of the proximity of a food source, for instance), working together in large numbers of cooperative individuals gave everyone a better shot at survival. Kinship and inclusive fitness are much less important than previously thought.