Population-based studies have consistently shown that our diet has an influence on health. Therefore, the aim of our study was to analyze differences between different dietary habit groups in terms of health-related variables. The sample used for this cross-sectional study was taken from the Austrian Health Interview Survey AT-HIS 2006/07. In a first step, subjects were matched according to their age, sex, and socioeconomic status (SES). After matching, the total number of subjects included in the analysis was 1320 (N = 330 for each form of diet – vegetarian, carnivorous diet rich in fruits and vegetables, carnivorous diet less rich in meat, and carnivorous diet rich in meat). Analyses of variance were conducted controlling for lifestyle factors in the following domains: health (self-assessed health, impairment, number of chronic conditions, vascular risk), health care (medical treatment, vaccinations, preventive check-ups), and quality of life. In addition, differences concerning the presence of 18 chronic conditions were analyzed by means of Chi-square tests. Overall, 76.4% of all subjects were female. 40.0% of the individuals were younger than 30 years, 35.4% between 30 and 49 years, and 24.0% older than 50 years. 30.3% of the subjects had a low SES, 48.8% a middle one, and 20.9% had a high SES. Our results revealed that a vegetarian diet is related to a lower BMI and less frequent alcohol consumption. Moreover, our results showed that a vegetarian diet is associated with poorer health (higher incidences of cancer, allergies, and mental health disorders), a higher need for health care, and poorer quality of life. Therefore, public health programs are needed in order to reduce the health risk due to nutritional factors.
Today I want to offer an interesting paper by Andreas et al (2013) that sought to determine how the anatomical structure of the brain impacts its functional networks. I think that their interesting findings (see abstract below) may contribute to a better understanding of brain functioning in healthy people and people with neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Enjoy!
A while ago the UCL institute of Cognitive Neuroscience ran an ‘ask a neuroscientist’ section via twitter. So i duly posted a question that was on my mind for a long time.
“what are the fetal white matter correlates of schizophrenia and autism?” Actually i wanted to ask “what are the fetal white matter correlates between many psychiatric disorders” but i guessed that that question was to broad so it’d be ignored for sure. To my surprise it did get an answer, which made me happy, but it also didn’t answer the question which had the opposite effect. It’s the first question (un)answered in this vid:
Why i asked this is because to me (after reading untold papers for decades) it’s crystal clear that a large part of psychiatric disorders stem from a different layout of the basic structure that later directs the composition of the brain. At the stage that white matter starts to get formed it lays down the endresult, as a in a building the foundation determines the final internal structure of the building.
When white matter strands start their work and the whole complex growth of neural pathways commences, it’s that layout which shapes the structure by giving less or more prevalence to certain information transmissions thereby regulating the forming of pathways. In doing so the white matter also influences the forming of grey matter due to the regulation of signal since more grey matter will form at places where signals are abundant and vice versa.
This complex feedback system then causes a brain to form.
So when the basic white matter has some slightly differing structure logically the endproduct will be reflecting those differences. When learning that the famous Rain Man instead of being an autist was actually suffering from agenesis of the corpus callosum things fell into place.
Since the fetal white matter directly influences the structure of the CC and that in turn influences how the hemispheres develop it’s a short jump to thinking that many a psychiatric disorder is in fact a variation on a theme: white matter influenced brain formation.
Looking at Schizophrenia and Aspergers one thing is clear, they are very much alike in certain aspects. Alike enough that in the DSM IV Schizophrenia had to be excluded in order to diagnose Aspergers. Looking further down the list actually quite a few disorders could be said to have those aspects in common, the problems with social functioning. ASPD for example comes to mind.
Since this part of mammals is such an integral part of their being, any lasting variation in it must have evolutionary origin. With a malfunctioning social brain a mammal isn’t likely to reproduce. Since the malfunctions seem to increase rather than diminish there should be a environmental feedback which keeps it going.
Going way out on limb here, how about what we (well, they not me) see as psychiatric disorders are actually evolutionary paths to get rid of the archaic primary control of the limbic system? This system is completely out of it’s depth in a complex society, which we now know exists for 10s of 1000’s of years, long enough to have started an evolutionary reaction since that system is contraproductive. It lays at the root of 99% of conflicts,wars,misery known to man.
It is just not feasible that the feedback of the rationale doesn’t get to influence in the long run behavior, which in turn over time influences genetic variations.
Exactly my thoughts. The reason why autism diagnosis rises is because it’s ill defined, the definition describes autistic symptoms not autism. Evidently the profession is rather confused as to what autism actually is. This pollutes the patient base, which in turn makes all research invalid since it’s unknown if participants in studies has autism or only autistic symptoms. This circular logic is the source of present day lack of common cause findings. The common cause is simple, altered white matter in the fetus leads to specific altered neural pathways resulting in a different structure of grey matter due to the neural feedback being directed differently. Which in turn reinforces white matter structures. After birth the job gets finished via environmental input.
The origin of this is imho evolutionary try-outs of getting rid of the hindrance of limbic system supremacy in societal living.
Where a million years ago the limbic system was perfectly capable to handle all events, nowadays it’s completely outclassed and outdated resulting in negative survival indices. Emotional/limbic reactions are a serious threat to human existence.
Just when you think it can’t get weirder with trying to stay in the dark ages scientifically Mr Al-Delaimy WK surpasses. Totally unaware of the reality of islam in everyday life for millions of people, that of hatred, war, strife, bloodshed he manages to present islam as an ethical code as reason why to stay stupid.
Ethical Concepts and Future Challenges of Neuroimaging: An Islamic Perspective.
Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California, La Jolla, San Diego, CA, 92093-0628, USA, email@example.com.
Neuroscience is advancing at a rapid pace, with new technologies and approaches that are creating ethical challenges not easily addressed by current ethical frameworks and guidelines. One fascinating technology is neuroimaging, especially functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). Although still in its infancy, fMRI is breaking new ground in neuroscience, potentially offering increased understanding of brain function. Different populations and faith traditions will likely have different reactions to these new technologies and the ethical challenges they bring with them. Muslims are approximately one-fifth of world population and they have a specific and highly regulated ethical and moral code, which helps them deal with scientific advances and decision making processes in an Islamically ethical manner. From this ethical perspective, in light of the relevant tenets of Islam, neuroimaging poses various challenges. The privacy of spirituality and the thought process, the requirement to put community interest before individual interest, and emphasis on conscious confession in legal situations are Islamic concepts that can pose a challenge for the use of something intrusive such as an fMRI. Muslim moral concepts such as There shall be no harm inflicted or reciprocated in Islam and Necessities overrule prohibitions are some of the criteria that might appropriately be used to guide advancing neuroscience. Neuroscientists should be particularly prudent and well prepared in implementing neuroscience advances that are breaking new scientific and ethical ground. Neuroscientists should also be prepared to assist in setting the ethical frameworks in place in advance of what might be perceived as runaway applications of technology.
The mind boggles. Next we need a certificate no male hands were used to build the machine when a female is being scanned.