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Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Hadza Hunter Gatherer Energy Expenditure Study

I've been asked by a few people to weigh in on a recent NYT article, Debunking the Hunter-Gatherer Workout, that discusses the following study (free full text):  Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity.  I didn't have a whole lot to say until I wrote this, and now it's rather long ... so I guess I did have quite a bit to say after all ;-)   But first, a little link love for Colby Vorland of who discussed this back in July:  Westerner energy expenditure compared to a hunter-gatherer population is equivalent.  In addition, Colby had discussed Energy expenditure and physical activity level are not higher in developing countries compared to industrialized.  I encourage reading both.

So from the NYT article:
We found that despite all this physical activity, the number of calories that the Hadza burned per day was indistinguishable from that of typical adults in Europe and the United States. We ran a number of statistical tests, accounting for body mass, lean body mass, age, sex and fat mass, and still found no difference in daily energy expenditure between the Hadza and their Western counterparts.
How can the Hadza be more active than we are without burning more calories? It’s not that their bodies are more efficient, allowing them to do more with less: separate measurements showed that the Hadza burn just as many calories while walking or resting as Westerners do.
We think that the Hadzas’ bodies have adjusted to the higher activity levels required for hunting and gathering by spending less energy elsewhere. Even for very active people, physical activity accounts for only a small portion of daily energy expenditure; most energy is spent behind the scenes on the myriad unseen tasks that keep our cells humming and our support systems working. If the Hadza’s bodies somehow manage to spend less energy in those areas, they could easily accommodate the elevated energy demands of hunting and gathering.
In comments on this blog, it has been mentioned that the study did not report caloric intake ... and I think it may well come down to this.  I am not seeing where they measured body composition -- fat free mass, FFM -- rather it was calculated by linear regression of the doubly labeled water test (??).   I would have a bit more trust in the analyses that correct for FFM if body composition were determined by DEXA or some direct means.   When comparing to other populations, BMR and FFM data were often not available for those populations and were estimated.  
"RMR for Hadza adults measured while sitting averaged 11% above predicted BMR [27], within the range of values (7–35%) reported for other populations [35]."
Not sure what this tells us really.   I find the journal article to be rather confusing.  In a Time article on the same study they state:
This counterintuitive finding is explained by the foragers' lower basal metabolic rate: they expend less energy while at rest, even when we compare people of the same size and age.
The article seems to say that controlling for every factor energy expenditure is the same.  And yet I don't see how this can be the case when there are some things that differ so dramatically.

The Hadza men vs. Western men are on average 11 years younger (33 v. 44), 30 kg/66 lbs  lighter (51 v. 81 kg) -- they are over 20 kg/44 lbs lighter than Western women!!, 9% less body fat percentage (13.5 v. 22.5), by my calculations over 20 kg less FFM (44 v. 63).   So let's do some more calculations, shall we?  Using group means, Hadza v. Western men:
TEE cal/day:  2649 v. 3053            (87%)
TEE cal/day-kg BW:  52 v. 38        (137%)
TEE cal/day-kg FFM:  60 v. 49      (122%)
Using PAL = TEE/BMR calculated the BMR = TEE/PAL  
BMR cal/day: 1172 v. 1687 (70%) BMR cal/day-kg BW: 23 v. 21 (111%)  BMR cal/day-kg FFM:  27 v. 27  (100%)  ←  per kg FFM, equal BMR
Oh wait ... 
We also measured daily walking distances (km/day) using wearable GPS devices, and the cost of walking (kCal kg−1 m−1) and resting metabolic rate (RMR, kCal kg−1 s−1) using a portable respirometry system (Text S1). Because it was not feasible to measure basal metabolic rate (BMR, kCal/day), we calculated physical activity level (PAL) as TEE/estimated BMR (Methods).
So those BMR's were estimated from a table rather than using the RMR data (reported at all?) which was on average 11% higher than the estimate.  But presumably this was done for both populations.

Lastly, they seemed somewhat surprised to find that the Hadza expended equal energy for the act of walking as Westerners.  For the Hadza, walking was approximately 11% of their TEE -- well, that equates to just under 300 calories/day.  This is for an average of 11.4 km = 7.1 miles per day.  From the supplemental data (S1), the cost of walking for Hadza was similar to others, though a bit more variable, at approximately 0.5 cal/kg/km.  This does calculate out to the just under 300 cal/day for 11.4 km, but really doesn't jibe with what I've always been told -- that walking a mile burns roughly 100 cal, so the male Hadza should be expending over 2X the estimates made by these researchers using their methods.  Perhaps this is because:
Walking cost was measured in 14 subjects (5 women, 9 men) during over ground walking on a level trackway established near each camp on flat ground (Text S1). The minimum net cost of transport, COTmin (kCal kg−1 m−1), which for all but one subject occurred at the slowest walking speed, was averaged across subjects. Mean COTminfor the Hadza sample was compared to sample means measured in Western populations presented in a recent meta-analysis of walking cost [28].
From this study:  Twenty-four young adult male subjects were used to study the relationship between total caloric costs (exercise and recovery costs) incurred and speed of movement over a distance of 1 mile. Caloric costs were determined at walking speeds of 3, 4, and 5 mph and at running speeds of 5, 7, and 9 mph. Energy costs were assessed every 20 sec during the activity and during the recovery until the caloric cost returned to pre-established resting levels. ... Conclusions for the given speeds were: (1) running is more costly than walking, (2) the cost of walking a mile increases with speed of movement ...
The caloric cost of walking is understated by comparing minimum costs with actual costs.  Also, these hunters and gatherers are often toting things (bow & arrows, kill for the men) which would be the equivalent of weighted walking.  In this study:
The energy cost and intensity of exercise performed at 0% grade were determined for walking at 2, 3, and 4 mph, running at 5, 6, and 7 mph, and walking at 2, 3, and 4 mph with ankle and/or hand weights. Subjects were young moderately trained males (4) and females (3). The energy cost per kilogram of body weight was similar between sexes, and data were combined for among-treatment comparisons. Intensity of effort and energy cost per minute and per mile were increased when weight was added during walking ... Gross energy cost per mile during weighted walking (120–158 kcal/mile) was comparable to and in some cases exceeded that of running which was independent of speed (120–130 kcal/mile). During nonweighted walking, the energy cost (kcal/mile) was significantly greater at 4 mph compared with 2 and 3 mph which did not differ. ...
Whatever the case, and judging from the mass-media articles and the discussion in the paper itself, this study appears to be a Gary Taubes dream come true.  Until you look more closely.  Here's what the study really tells us:
  • Western men weigh almost 60% more than their Hadza counterparts
  • Western men have 45% greater lean mass than their Hadza counterparts
  • Western men burn almost 45% more calories just sitting on their butts (BMR) because they are bigger -- a lot bigger -- than the Hadza.  
  • A better comparison then is Non-Resting EE which for the Hadza is 1477 cal/day vs. 1396/day for Western men.  Well now that's similar ... but ...
  • NREE per kg BW is 29 cal/day for Hadza vs. only 17 cal/day for Westerners ... and ...
  • NREE per kg FFM is 34 cal/day for Hadza vs. only 22 cal/day for Westerners
To me here are the take home messages:
  • The Hadza most definitely have per kg (whether total BW or FFM) have higher energy expenditures due to their activity level.
  • Western total energy expenditures are higher because we are bigger -- and fatter!
In the end, I think it's somewhat meaningless to compare the two.  Why?  Because the Hadza intake and expenditure are inextricably linked because they expend energy to obtain energy -- humans in the wild!  On some level, conscious or otherwise, these people must weigh the benefits of obtaining more food with the effort they must expend to do so.  Therefore they don't hunt/forage to excess and they are in energy homeostasis.  There is no analogous situation in Western life, even back in the 60's before this obesity epidemic took off or in Little House on the Prairie days (that folks on Jimmy's forum used to love to bring up).   I think the more instructive considerations vis a vis the impact of activity on body weight to consider:
  1. What do you think would happen if you took a Western man and sent him to live among the Hadza for 6 months?
  2. What do you think would happen if you took a Western man and sent him just to mimic the lifestyle of the Hadza for 6 months but gave him the same amount of Western food he was accustomed to eating?
  3. What do you think would happen to a Hadza if he didn't have to hunt his food and instead had unlimited access to traditional Hadza foods in a supermarket?
  4. What do you think would happen to a Hadza if he was transplanted to America?
I'd say that in cases 1 and 2 you'd see improvements in Western man, moreso in 1 than 2, because in case 1 he'd be eating less and moving more, where he would just be moving more in case 2.  Hadza man would see his health deteriorate more than the improvements in cases 1&2, and here's why:  he has a lower total BMR.  I think he'd stand a fighting chance in hell of his health not deteriorating too much with traditional Hadza foods, but currently, 56% of the TEE of the Hadza  NREE, almost the opposite of your typical Westerner where REE(BMR) makes up 60% of TEE (and closer to 75% for the very sedentary).  It's fair to say that if he didn't need to expend energy to obtain food, he wouldn't be out doing it just for the recreation of it all!  Give him free access to calorically dense refined junk foods and he's toast.

Here's where comparing our culture and changes in it over the past 40 or so years with modern hunter gatherers in hopes of comparing ourselves to our long long ago paleolithic ancestors looking for answers seems rather misguided to me.  I used to argue this all the time after I read GCBC, all of the various supposed paradoxes Taubes lists where obesity and poverty and/or malnutrition exist concurrently, can be explained by good old fashioned energy balance.  If one is raised in an environment of scarcity, their metabolisms adapt to be slower and more efficient to do the basics.  Give that person more plentiful food later in life and they will tend toward obesity.  If you think energy expenditure and activity have nothing to do with it, look at what happens to retiring athletes who do not make an effort to either take up another activity and/or deliberately curtail their eating?  They get fat.  

Studies like this just miss that Occam's Razor thing:  Anyone in my generation (Naughton even highlights this in the beginning of FatHead) who does not believe Americans are more sedentary as a population than in the 70's is kidding themselves.  And anyone in this audience that doesn't acknowledge that by any means or source of the information, we are eating more -- to the tune of 300-600 cal/day as a population depending on the source -- is also kidding themselves.

I have an idea:  The Hadza diet.  At least walk to and from the supermarket daily for your food and prepare it standing up.  Highly impractical for most of us, but it would be a start.


Charles Grashow said...

"The vegetarian-carnivore shouting match has become a polarizing and destructive noise machine. And all sides seem to miss the big picture. That is, food is an incredibly complex subject with many layers of meaning. It is physical, personal, cultural, emotional and spiritual. Food has genuine health effects to be sure, but humans do not live by biochemistry alone. We are omnivores by evolution and nature, but the body is incredibly resilient and can thrive with many different kinds of diets. This, in large measure, is why humans have been so successful.

Modern food presents us with a host of excruciating moral, health and environmental dilemmas, but these dilemmas will not be solved by vitriol, bile, dogma or ridicule. They can only be solved by well-informed individuals making good choices in their course of their daily lives. As trainers and coaches, our job is not to destroy the opposition. Rather, our job is to learn, educate and inspire.

If you’ve discovered a formula for eating that balances the competing demands of health, morality, sustainability and pleasure, then by all means, practice that formula. But don’t assume that your formula is right for everyone else. Important as it is, food is only one dimension of a healthy life."

ejazz1 said...

I can't comment on the science of this study, since I don't have a science background but I can comment personally what it is like when someone leaves an environment of scarcity and arrives in America where all you need to do is to go to your local supermarket for your daily food.

My sisters and I were born in America but our family emigrated from the Cape Verde Islands. If your not familiar with Cape Verde they are a group of 10 islands about 350 miles of the west coast of Africa. Cape Verdeans are
descendants of west african slaves brought to the islands by the Portuguese in the 15th and 16th centuries. For generations Cape Verdeans have lived on a high carb diet based primarily on corn but also including rice, legumes, tubers (sweet & white potato and cassava)and vegetables, meat and seafood when available. The islands are also prone to drought, the rainy season is related to the Hurricane season
in the US. If it doesn't rain between August thru October it won't rain again for the year. The Islands for centuries have gone thru this cycle of drought and famine. My parents and grandparents lived through famines as a child and as an adult. When this occurs people leave, Cape Verdeans have been coming to America since the 1800's others emigrate to europe or other African countries.

While growing up my family ate a traditional Cape Verdean diet but also added the SAD. A lot of refined flour products, soda, etc. My parents came to America after world war II along with both my grandmothers. Both of my grandfathers were already in the US. There were both lean and did physical work all their lives. Yet they still became overweight as they got older, the same is true for my grandparents and other members of my family when they emigrated. Diseases such as diabetes and hypertension occur on both sides of my family.
The lack of good medical care available throughout the islands make it impossible to know if these diseases were prevalent in the past. But I've read an article recently which states that Cape Verde has had a sharp increase in the cases of diabetes in the last 30 years.
This also coincides with the islands becoming more modern in the western sense, more homes with running water, electricity, better telecommunications. It also means the western diet has also become more available especially in the cities. One of my cousins a few years ago told me you can get anything you want to eat in Cape Verde just like America.

gunther gatherer said...

Thanks for this, CS. I completely agree that these population comparison studies are missing the context in which populations live. If I had to climb a high tree and fight wild bees to get honey every day, I would probably lose my sweet tooth real fast.

For as much as the armchair paleosphere would like to grok out, our real evolutionary context is not a Trader Joe's or Whole Foods. We just do not and will never understand all the complexities of life as a hunter gatherer.

Melissa said...

"I have an idea: The Hadza diet. At least walk to and from the supermarket daily for your food and prepare it standing up. Highly impractical for most of us, but it would be a start."

I don't find this impractical, but then again, I live in a city and this is just the reality of life.

Unknown said...

I used to be a member of the Hadza tribe but I quit because I just wasn't getting enough exercise.

ProudDaddy said...

What happens when an African bushman moves to an African city? I would say that they not only get fat, but they also succumb to the other diseases of civilization. I would say that, but then Diana (which one?) would call me a paleo idiot and demand irrefutable evidence, and I've got better things to do.

Having got that off my chest, I believe you have said that you avoid processed foods. So, perhaps we not only move too little and eat too much, but also eat too much of the wrong stuff? (Maybe it was acellular foods you avoid, but the principle would seem to be the same.)

Having grown up on a farm long before the U.S. obesity epidemic started, I tend to disagree with your emphasis on movement. From September to May, we all pretty much ate all we wanted from our basement stores, listened to the radio, and shoveled snow about once every three weeks. Nobody showed up fat come June. Come to think of it, I might have just been making the case for food palatability - our basement stores were not very appetizing!

garymar said...

"prepare it [food] standing up."

I'm curious to know, how many of the people reading this blog prepare food sitting down? All my food preparation (about 30 minutes each for 2 meals daily) is done standing up. I can't see any other way to do it. But then, my kitchen is pretty small.

Charles Grashow said...

If you're use a wheelchair you prepare your food sitting down.

Charles Grashow said...

" If you were living in Northern Europe, the fall would be a time of fruits and berries. You would likely eat lots of them, because they were a treat. And dry some for keeping over the winter, as well as some nice hazelnuts and chestnuts. You'd kill a few big beasts, and dry them for jerky, or wait to harvest them until after the first snows, where the cold would keep the meat fresh. Fall was a time of abundance, a time of eating and feasting. A time to get fat.

Over the winter, you would most likely be eating meat, dried fruit, and nuts. Maybe some stored tubers. You'd probably be living in a cave, which were safe and tend to be warm even in winter, especially if you are lucky enough to have a hot spring. You wouldn't go out much if you could help it. You would play games, tell stories, teach children, make things.

This got me thinking about spring foods. The snows melt, and the greenery returns. You are probably really tired of eating jerky, if there is some left. The grazing animals may not have returned yet and they are likely skinny too ... the Indians called spring "the starving time". The fruit and nuts are not there yet. So what do you have to eat?

For one thing: greens. All those tender shoots and leaves. And after a long winter, you need some green stuff! Once the rivers flow again, there will be fish. If you are on the coast, it's warm enough now to go gather some clams and oysters too. And then there are the birds ... the seabirds will be swarming by the millions onto their nesting places, and there will be millions of eggs, for easy pickings. You will want to be active, running around, getting ready for a new season.

So you look at the "fat" foods: fructose, iron, uric acid. Red meat and fruit ... the fall foods. Then you look at the foods associated with thinness: eggs, greens, fish ... the spring foods. The fat foods are also associated with torpor, slowing down, not being so active. The spring foods are the ones that make you energetic and wakeful. You don't want to be energetic or lose your fat too fast in the winter, or you won't survive. You want to be sleepy and content."

"Paleo people probably weren't bothered by their seasonal obesity, and may have treasured it. The American diet though, is largely geared around the hibernation foods, all year round, yet we hate being fat."

Maybe this is the reason we are fat.

Sanjeev said...

I've prepared food squatting, even though my western acclimated knees, hips, spine and crotch/groin/nether region tendons and ligaments object strenuously.

Got rid of it that way much more often.

Galina L. said...

When I was growing-up, we didn't have fresh veggies during winter time, unless somebody put an onion or a parsley root on a window sill in a water and clipped away green shots. I remember how exiting it was to get first green salad grade fresh cabbage in February, fresh local produce in May.

Galina L. said...

About shopping without a car.I used to do my shopping by walking in Vancouver and Edmonton till coming to Florida 12 years ago. In Moscow I lived on 4-th floor without an elevator, so no car shopping as well. My mom still lives in that apartment. I am sure walking more makes a person healthier, prevents the waste of a muscle mass and benefits toward the health of a cardiovascular system, but is not the guarantee of thinness or even normal blood pressure.My mom had a normal BP till 65 years old, but father died from heart arrest at 51 after 10 years of living with ischemia. No one in my family had a diabetes despite many were overweight but not obese(except my uncle's first wife who was not a blood relative, she lived on cakes and candies). There is another benefit of shopping without a car - it prevents the perches of soft drinks and almost everything what is not necessary.

Susanne said...

Well, lots of people in the US don't prepare their own food at all (restaurants, drive thrus, take-outs etc.) or if they do "prepare" it, they're only standing for the 30 seconds or so until the microwave goes "ding". I spent a month this summer at my mom's in the US doing the cooking for her, and everyone who came into the house was amazed at the amount of time -- about the same as you -- I spent standing in the kitchen cutting things up and occasionally stirring something on the stove. Everyone acted as if I were some kind of elaborate gourmet cook for making a three-bean chili or pasta-with-vegetables from scratch. Actually making cabbage rolls, which my grandmother wouldn't have given a second thought to? GOOD LORD HOW DID YOU MANAGE THAT YOU MUST BE SUPERHUMAN OR MARTHA STEWART OR SOMETHING.

You don't even have to wash and trim a lot of produce in the US any more -- most of the leafy greens section of our local grocery were pre-bagged, and lots of other stuff is available pre-cut. Where I work in Greece/Middle East, on the other hand, a good deal of the produce not only requires energetic washing and peeling to get the grit out, it still comes with stems and roots on it (including the greens). That's a good 15 minutes a day (and a tiny amount of extra calories burned plus some upper body workout) vs sitting in a chair waiting for the pizza to arrive.

Susanne said...

Not to mention the blood loss due to mandolin injuries, which I believe has been previously addressed in this forum. Though in my case that calorie output tends to be offset by the succeeding cocktail intake (for medicinal purposes).

Diana said...

Evie, I was the one who mentioned lack of direct info about caloric intake, but Gunter Gatherer pointed out that if they are weight stable, then that particular fact isn't really important. If they are weight stable and are expending "X" calories, then they are taking in "X" calories. Although I would have liked to have seen it, for its own sake, because this subject is SO contentious.

This is a more to the point criticism:

"Western men weigh almost 60% more than their Hadza counterparts
Western men have 45% greater lean mass than their Hadza counterparts
Western men burn almost 45% more calories just sitting on their butts (BMR) because they are bigger -- a lot bigger -- than the Hadza."

But they said that they controlled for body size, so doesn't that take care of these issues?

Diana said...

These discussions usually come down to personal experience, so let me add mine here, in a separate comment.

I live what you might call a 1950s lifestyle. I live in a walkup in the middle of Manhattan. There is no laundry in my building. I don't have a car. I walk almost everywhere, except when walking gets boring & time-consuming, so then I take a subway. To take a subway, you need to be able to walk up a few flights of stairs, and of course, you walk to and from the subway from your home/destination.

My lifestyle is a terrific example of sports-specific training. At 57, I can bound up stairs past kids half my age. But I'm not so great at anything else. You get good at what you must do, every day.

My weight has fluctuated 20 pounds since I've lived where I am. My exercise levels have stayed substantially the same* (see caveat below) but I've been as much as 156 pounds - why? Because I ate more.

Here's the rub - 156 pounds isn't 256 pounds. Having to haul one's butt up 80 steps a day (sometimes more, sometimes with laundry) is an incentive to control one's weight - by eating less.

I am all in favor of more studies. I really want to understand how, controlling for body size/etc., an active hunter/gatherer group and a sedentary Western group of people have essentially the same TEE. And that this is true for both men and women is astounding to me. I would have expected at least a gender difference.

But if you ask me, EAT LESS is the key to the problem, and not move more. If you don't get your eating habits in order, you can move all you like and you won't lose weight.

Final anecdote: I took part in the Great Saunter, a circumnavigation of Manhattan Island, last May. It's about 34 miles. I did it in 10 hours, 45 minutes. I didn't lose an ounce. The reason: I ate calorie dense foods during the Saunter. I took in as much as I expended. And maybe my body is good at not expending much? What ever the case, I walked 34 miles in @11 hours and lost no weight whatever. 137 the day of the race, 137 the day after.

Call me the Hadza of NYC.

*I do indeed exercise more preferentially now, but I can pretty much bluntly say that I hike more because I'm thinner, and that hiking more did not make me thinner.

Diana said...

I got interested in the Hadza and found this from Nat. Geographic, where else:

This is interesting:

"It is impossible to overstate just how much Onwas—and most Hadza—love to smoke. The four possessions every Hadza man owns are a bow, some arrows, a knife, and a pipe, made from a hollowed-out, soft stone. ... Pulsing his cheeks in and out like a bellows, he inhales the greatest quantity of smoke he possibly can..."

Maybe it's the smoking?

Hey, it's not such a crazy idea. Everybody used to smoke in the 1950s...before the obesity epidemic.

Charles Grashow said...

Mike Huckabee = Jimmy Moore

Look at the photos - another weight regainer

"Karen Tumulty, who interviewed Huckabee in February for the Washingotn Post observed this scene:

"Huckabee was tucking into a breakfast of eggs and butter-slathered pancakes at a trendy New York hotel overlooking Times Square. His much-discussed diet - he famously lost more than 100 pounds after a diabetes diagnosis in 2003 and wrote a book about eating right - is apparently on hiatus."

What are we to make of a man who has been told he has a possible death sentence if he's over-fat,who writes books about the importance of avoiding obesity, who stakes a political career on advocacy for better habits and then goes ahead and chows down in front of a reporter for a major newspaper? Unlike Huckabee, I wouldn't call him irresponsible. I'd say he's acting like someone with an addiction. An addiction that has re-established itself.

What else but a powerful, powerful urge could motivate someone to behave in a way that makes him look foolish? To betray an entire belief system once espoused? To perhaps give rivals a powerful wedge against future political ambitions?"

Sounds like Jimmy to me!

Galina L. said...

According to what he said on his web-site either in his last post or in comments, Dr. M. Eades is working on a post about benefits of smoking. Am not particularly surprised.

Charles Grashow said...

mreades, August 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm

I can’t help but think of the Japanese, who have the highest rates of smoking of any industrialized society in the world and also have the greatest longevity. I guess this proves that cigarettes are healthful and promote longevity.

I have a post coming up about this very thing soon. Keep watching.

Galina L. said...

Whatever experts or research say, I will not consider smoking for myself. I have a tendency toward asthma and smoking makes it worse, I saw people improving their looks, well-being and reduced coughing after they stopped smoking. When I used to smoke socially and while living together with a smoking boy-friend, sometimes it worsened my headaches. May be some smoking problems are resulted from inhaling also a smoke from paper and a pipe smoking or a cigar smoking are different, it is possible. I know that some people experimented with a Nicoret for a weight loss. I don't remember reading a positive report about their experiences. I have being searching for ways to have a better health, and so far came to the idea to disregard anything what contradicts with my personal experience. I have no doubt that smoking prevents overeating for many smokers , I remember an appetite-killing effect of a black coffe+ cigarette combination. I didn't develop a Nicotine addiction myself, but an addiction aspect may be important for some people.

LeonRover said...

I saw Mike Eades' comment but did not take it seriously.

I stopped a 4 year smoking career when my habit reached 80/day - as tongue and throat were aching, and there was no enjoyment.

I have occasionally smoked a cigar since, but (like Billary) no inhaling! No reversion of habit.

Some Parkinson sufferers get relief from symptoms by smoking, but their medical advisers do not approve. They are awaiting a pharma drug which is a nicotine mimetic ( or even emetic??)- how cynical.

I have wondered why the same med advisers would not use a Nicotine Patch.

Nicotine is understood to decrease LPL activity in fat cells, thus I wonder why Patches are not used by some in an attempt to aid their weight loss.


Galina L. said...

Here is an example Probably I better to re-read it with checking links in order to be more informed since smoking is about to be discussed everywhere as a slimming practice. That blogger is not a particularly engaging writer, I don't remember why I subscribed to his posts, I usually can't finish reading, but I remember his experimenting with nicotine. He also had very successful result for his weight loss with a Metformine recently. I am not ready to try any of it myself while my life-style choices work, but it could be the next thing to try for somebody who need more help.

Lerner said...

Eades is being facetious and at the same time engaging in an attempt to salvage the discredited TWICHOO. The supposed logic says "The Japanese smoke a lot. Everybody knows that smoking will kill you, yet the Japanese live long lives. So there must be some other beneficial factors that spare them from that fate. As a parallel, the Japanese eat lots of carbs. Everybody knows that carbs make you fat, yet the Japanese didn't get fat. So there must be some other beneficial factors that spare them from that fate."

Only true believers will swallow that.

Lerner said...

'Michael Clarke Duncan, nominated for an Academy Award for his role in the 1999 film "The Green Mile," has died at age 54, according to a representative for his family.

Duncan "suffered a myocardial infarction on July 13 and never fully recovered," a written statement from Joy Fehily said.'

RIP Michael.

He was very big but also pretty lean.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Oh sniff :( I loved him as Bear in Armageddon. Yeah, big but not fat. So young. :(:(

Lerner said...

and another:

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Sage Stallone, the son of actor Sylvester Stallone, died of a heart attack and a toxicology report showed no signs of excessive drug use, an official with the Los Angeles County Coroner said on Thursday.

Stallone, who died at age 36 on July 13, suffered from coronary heart disease caused by atherosclerosis, which brought on the heart attack, Lt. Fred Corral of the coroner's investigative division said.

"There were no signs of an overdose. It was just a natural death," Corral said.

Galina L. said...

I think it is mostly the fact that nicotine addiction is considered to be the one of the hardest addictions to break prevents it medical application, besides that it could be difficult to patent that substance. It is easy to imagine the situation that a Parkinson patient began a nicotine treatment, got improvements of his symptoms, but developed some heart palpitation problems, was unable to quit patches, died for whatever reason in a short while, and his relatives were in a lawsuit mood because they became sure that heart rythme abnormalities at least contributed.

Markku said...

it's not all about weight, Hadza people probably died younger because of smoking.. and really, why do people have to live so old.. let's all smoke and get sick and die young.

Galina L. said...

I am glad, Evelyn, your mom is getting better mine is 75 too.

Diana said...

Does anybody want to address the central issue of this study, which is that the authors controlled for body size?

I think they've thrown a significant wrench in the exercise spanner. I now downgrade the importance of "move more" in the weight loss priority scale.

BTW, here is another study which includes the Hadza:

"Our high-starch sample included two agricultural populations, European-Americans (n = 50) and Japanese (n = 45), and Hadza hunter-gatherers who rely extensively on starch-rich roots and tubers (n = 38)12."

LeonRover said...

From PubMed

Post-mortem studies have demonstrated a substantial loss of nicotinic receptors in Parkinson's disease (PD), which may be at least partially responsible for some of the cognitive, motoric, and behavioral deficits seen in this disorder. Epidemiologic studies have suggested that cigarette smoking is a strong negative risk factor for the development of PD. We have previously shown that blockade of central nicotinic receptors produces cognitive impairment in areas of new learning, short-term memory, and psychomotor slowing with increasing dose sensitivity with age and disease. Studies of acute stimulation of nicotinic receptors in Alzheimer's disease with nicotine and the novel agonist ABT-418 in our laboratory and others have shown improvements in several measures of cognitive function. Prior studies of the effects of nicotine in PD have suggested some improvements in clinical symptomatology. We have begun quantitative studies of both acute and chronic nicotine in PD to assess both cognitive and motor effects. Fifteen (15) nondemented subjects (age 66 +/- 5.3; M/F = 11/4) with early to moderate PD (mean Hoehn-Yahr stage = 1.77; MMSE = 28.6) received a dose-ranging study of intravenous nicotine up to 1.25 microg/kg/min, followed by chronic administration of nicotine by transdermal patch with doses ranging up to 14 mg per day for 2 weeks. Testing occurred both during drug administration and up to 2 months after drug cessation to look for prolonged effects. Preliminary analysis shows improvements after acute nicotine in several areas of cognitive performance, particularly measures such as reaction time, central processing speed, and decreased tracking error. Improvements in attention and semantic retrieval were not seen. After chronic nicotine, improvements were seen in several motor measures suggesting improved extrapyramidal functioning. This appeared to be sustained for up to 1 month after drug. The treatment was well tolerated. Nicotinic stimulation may have promise for improving both cognitive and motor aspects of Parkinson's disease.

Galina L. said...

Thank ,Leon,
One of people I know and plan to visit when I go to Russia was diagnosed with PD. I will translate for her some of nicotine studies results, yours .

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Galina, it's been a couple of years so I don't have any links and such at hand, but the husband of a friend on Jimmy's forum was diagnosed in the early stages of PD way back when so I was looking into some stuff as I came across it. Apparently glutathione INJECTIONS are quite effective therapy. I got the impression that this is accessible and not all that expensive even here in the US, so it may be something to look into. I capped the injections because there are many people (including Suzanne Somers!) who use the topical creams and I recall that these were not effective when studied.

paleotwopointoh said...

He carried a fair amount of visceral fat and also had some yo-yo weight issues. But in his case there was probably a strong genetic component.

Galina L. said...

Thank you, I will look into that too. The lady was diagnosed 2 years ago at 73, she is a mother of my college friend. I hope PD is a slow desease to develop.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

But they said that they controlled for body size, so doesn't that take care of these issues?

This is where I'd like to see the analysis and why I went through the calculations that I did. Given clear gender differences in activity/expenditure, I just compared the men -- 13 Hadza men. In large epidemiological and prospective studies often involving hundreds or even thousands of participants, controlling for various possible confounders can still make for comparisons of large groups = statistical significance. The BMR's are actually equivalent per kg LBM, and they do burn more calories doing everything else - per kg weight or LBM.

I would agree that diet probably influences things more. It's easier to eat less than to burn more calories deliberately.

Greg said...

Evelyn, you are correct that they did not measure body composition directly. I posted on Melissa's blog about this, which I think could actually be a very serious limitation in the study (self plagiarism alert...)

The Hazda study result is based on a comparison of total energy expenditure as a function of fat free mass (FFM), which was measured by a technique known as "stable isotope dilution." Just because nuclear physics is involved does not mean the technique is reliable.

It works by first estimating total body water (TBW) and assuming that everyone has the same level of hydration. You can find the manual (from the International Atomic Energy Agency!) here:

The study therefore assumes the hunter-gatherers have the same level of hydration as everyone else. I did not see any mention in the paper that this assumption was validated, but perhaps I missed it or it is already well known in the literature and they did not feel any need to reference the prior research.

By my reading, the study results could be explained if the hunter-gatherers were less hydrated/bloated than the western population.

ProudDaddy said...

Wouldn't all the fuss diminish if somehow it is shown that increased energy output tends to result in increased eating in most human societies? (I am biased by the fact that I tell my friends to exercise for health and eat less for weight loss (unless they want to run 10 miles a day)).

Galina L. said...

I think cooking food and doing domestic chores contributes substantially to making one's life-stile less sedentary.
How does meat look like when sold on Middle-East? I had a lady-friend who spent some time in Algeria. Her husband employed a local person to help in a kitchen because it was necessary to buy alive chicken on market,cut its head , to pluck it in order to get a fried chicken.

When I was young, some chickens in Moscow were sold packed and ready to cook, but the cheapest ones were only plucked and sold with heads, intact internal organs in the chest cavity, small stones inside stomach. It was sort of educational.

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