Sunday October 21, 2018

Consumption of Dairy Products Changed the Shape of Human Skull: Study

We all know milk makes our bones stronger. But a new study suggests that the consumption of milk and other dairy products did not make skulls of our ancestors stronger or bigger. Read on to know how!

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Human Skull
The diet consumed during one's growing years has a major impact on our bones, jaws and even the face structure. Pixabay.
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  • According to a new study, change in Human skull structure could be due to the consumption of a specific diet
  • Researchers believe the practice of chewing altered face structures
  • Skull morphology also varies between people of different genders

New York, August 25, 2017: Do you belong to the category of people who read the label on every food item they purchase? Do you count your calories and keep an account of your daily calorie consumption? Are you the person who religiously reads articles on health and nutrition on the internet? Even if not, this article is going to take you by surprise. What if we tell you that an individual’s diet alters the construction of the human skull?

Having processed food that lacks several important nutrients exposes us to an increased risk of various medical problems like diabetes, hypertension, obesity, etc. However, recent studies have found that the diet you consume, particularly in your growing years, has a major impact on the development of your bones, jaws and even the face structure/human skull!

ALSO READ: Evolution of Human Proboscis: Nose Shape Influenced by Local Climate, say Researchers

A team comprising of David Katz, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Calgary, Professor Tim Weaver and statistician Mark Gote from the University of California-Davis accessed a collection of 559 crania and 534 lower jaws (skull bones) from different corners of the world that ranged from more than a two dozen population from the pre-industrial era. These bones were then studied to analyze the influence that the diet consumed had on the form, size and shape of the human skull during the time man shifted to consumption of agricultural products.

The research found that the advent of farming practices, especially the consumption of dairy products significantly affected the shape of human skull.

The researchers observed modest changes in human skull morphology for groups that were dependent on cereals, dairy, or a combination of the two. This effect was more evident in populations suspected to consume softer foods like cheese.

According to Katz, for the early farmers of the time, “milk did not make for bigger, stronger skull bones.”

Katz found that the primary difference between the skulls of a hunter-gatherer and that of a farmer “are where we would expect to find them, and change in ways we might expect them to.” This he believes, could happen if the demand of chewing decreased within the farming groups.

According to the study, different foods determined how often or how hard one had to chew. The constant movement of the bones in order to properly chew food is what is believed to have altered the shape.

Chewing on hard foods activates bone cells which promote the growth of strong and big jaws. Alternatively, consumption of softer foods like dairy products led to people having smaller jaws with tooth-crowding.

Apart from dietary consumption, the researches claim human skull morphology was also altered by the gender of the people, or between individuals who consumed the same diet but were from different populations.

The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


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A Healthy Diet Can Help The Treatment of Bipolar Disorder: Study

The team measured body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the study.

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diet, bipolar
Diet, weight may influence bipolar disorder treatment Flickr

Consuming a healthy balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables can benefit those undergoing treatment for bipolar disorders, a new study suggests.

Bipolar disorder — previously known as ‘manic depression’ — is characterised by episodes of depression and of abnormally elevated mood with periods in between the two extremes.

“We found that people who had a better-quality diet, a diet with anti-inflammatory properties, or a lower BMI, showed better response to add-on nutraceutical treatment than those who reported a low-quality diet, or a diet including foods that promote inflammation, or who were overweight,” said lead researcher Melanie Ashton of Deakin University in Australia.

fibre, bipolar
Foods rich in fibre was found to reduce this adverse effects of stress in mice. Pixabay

The fact that there are two opposite sets of symptoms means that finding an effective treatment is difficult, suggests the study presented at the ECNP Conference in Barcelona.

While current medications are useful, they are better at targeting mania symptoms (the ‘up’ phase), leaving a lack of effective treatment for people experiencing depressive episodes, it added.

For the study, the team involved 133 participants who either took a combination of nutraceuticals (compounds derived from foods such as vitamins or minerals that treat or prevent a disease or disorder) including the anti-inflammatory amino acid n-acetylcysteine (NAC), or NAC alone, or a placebo (a dummy pill) for 16 weeks.

fibre, bipolar
Eat good food. Pixabay

The team measured body mass index (BMI) at the beginning of the study, and then measured depression and how a person is able to function in their day to day life.

The participants filled in a questionnaire about what they usually eat over the year and researchers calculated a diet quality score where good diets included a healthy diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, whereas poorer-quality diets had more saturated fat, refined carbohydrates and alcohol.

Also Read: A Diet rich in Nutrients Helps in Living Longer: Study

“If we can confirm these results, then it is good news for people with bipolar disorder, as there is a great need for better treatments for the depressive phase of bipolar disorder,” Ashton noted. (IANS)