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Aberdeen
01-08-14, 02:19
Livescience Magazine has an article that discusses the genetic disposition of the Iceman toward hardening of the arteries and heart disease.

www.livescience.com/47114-otzi-had-heart-disease-genes.html

I seem to remember having read something about the Iceman and heart disease somewhere else, but the July 30, 2014 article reads as follows.


"Ötzi the Iceman, a well-preserved mummy discovered in the Alps, may have had a genetic predisposition to heart disease, new research suggests. The new finding may explain why the man — who lived 5,300 years ago, stayed active and certainly didn't smoke or wolf down processed food in front of the TV — nevertheless had hardened arteries when he was felled by an arrow and bled to death on an alpine glacier. "We were very surprised that he had a very strong disposition for cardiovascular disease," said study co-author Albert Zink, a paleopathologist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy of Bozen/Bolzano in Italy. "We didn't expect that people who lived so long ago already had the genetic setup for getting such kinds of diseases."

Otzi was discovered in 1991, when two hikers stumbled upon the well-preserved mummy in the Ötztal Alps, near the border between Austria and Italy. Since then, every detail of the iceman has been scrutinized, from his last meal and moments before being pierced by the deadly arrow blow), to where he grew up, to his fashion sense. Past research has revealed that Ötzi likely suffered from joint pain, Lyme disease and tooth decay, and computed tomography (CT) scanning revealed calcium buildups, a sign of atherosclerosis, in his arteries. Initially, the atherosclerosis was a bit of a surprise, because much research has linked heart disease to the couch-potato lifestyle and calorie-rich foods of the modern world, Zink said. But in recent research, as scientists conducted CT scans on mummies from the Aleutian Islands to ancient Egypt, they realized that heart disease and atherosclerosis were prevalent throughout antiquity, in people who had dramatically different diets and lifestyles, he said. "It really looks like the disease was already frequent in ancient times, so it's not a pure civilizational disease," Zink told Live Science.

Scientists recently took a small sample of Ötzi's hipbone and sequenced the Neolithic agriculturalist's entire genome, to see where he fell on Europe's family tree. As part of that research, they found that the iceman had 19 living relatives in Europe. In the new study, Zink and his colleagues found that Ötzi had several gene variants associated with cardiovascular disease, including one on the ninth chromosome that is strongly tied to heart troubles, the researchers reported today (July 30) in the journal Global Heart. Despite spending years hiking in hilly terrain, it seems Ötzi couldn't walk off his genetic predisposition to heart disease."He didn't smoke; he was very active; he walked a lot; he was not obese," Zink said. "But nevertheless, he already developed some atherosclerosis." The findings suggest that genetics play a stronger role in heart disease than previously thought, he said. To follow up, the team would like to compare the genetic makeup of other mummies with the state of their arteries, to tease out just how much of a role genetics play in heart disease, Zink said. It would also be interesting to see whether ancient mummies exhibit signs of inflammation, the body's response to infection or damage, that has been tied to heart attacks, he added."

LeBrok
01-08-14, 03:46
Great article. At this occasion I would like to remind all how important are genes, predispositions, in shaping our lives. Often we can do everything what is proper, safe and healthy and yet develop dreadful disease. On other had people without predispositions can do everything not recommended and unhealthy and live to a sweet 100. People who say that we can't escape whatever is "written for us" are not far away from the truth. Pretty soon doctors will check DNA of your child and predict its future much better than fortune teller from a glass ball.

Coming back to poor Otzi. I think that, for some reason, he avoided drinking alcohol. It is proven to clean up vains off cholesterol deposits.

Also, I would like to mention that these cardiovascular diseases were not that important in the past, to be weeded out by natural selections, because people lived much shorter lives for this malady to take substential effect.

Maleth
01-08-14, 08:51
In regards to smoking maybe people did not smoke cigarettes or inhale car or industrial fumes, but smoke due to the continuous inhalation from burning of wood for heating and cooking was very prevalent and normal in confined places. People cooked inside and (correct me if Im wrong) there were no chimneys. I don't think it was possible to cook outside all the time. I recall only out of memory, that some ancient mummies had blacked lungs and sometimes could have been the cause of their premature death (mainly females). However I would imagine that if Ötzi had smokey lungs it would have shown in the scan. High stress is also a contributor to hardened arteries, which I'm sure there was plenty of also at that time. But all that walking on the mountain in fresh air should have compensated for that....maybe :)

Aberdeen
01-08-14, 17:41
Great article. At this occasion I would like to remind all how important are genes, predispositions, in shaping our lives. Often we can do everything what is proper, safe and healthy and yet develop dreadful disease. On other had people without predispositions can do everything not recommended and unhealthy and live to a sweet 100. People who say that we can't escape whatever is "written for us" are not far away from the truth. Pretty soon doctors will check DNA of your child and predict its future much better than fortune teller from a glass ball.

Coming back to poor Otzi. I think that, for some reason, he avoided drinking alcohol. It is proven to clean up vains off cholesterol deposits.

Also, I would like to mention that these cardiovascular diseases were not that important in the past, to be weeded out by natural selections, because people lived much shorter lives for this malady to take substential effect.

It's true that some people can do everything right and die young from some disease that's generally considered a "lifestyle" disease, whereas some other people can do everything they shouldn't and still live a long and healthy life because of their genes. But I think most of us fall in the middle somewhere in that living a reasonably healthy lifestyle will help us remain healthy for longer. I agree that moderate use of alcohol is important for good health as well as happiness.

ebAmerican
01-08-14, 18:47
The study is interesting and all, but who are these 19 people? It would be nice to know what their family ancestry looked like and where they were from.

kamani
01-08-14, 18:56
maybe Otzi was not that active physically, we automatically assume that back then life was harder, but really, once you killed that deer you could eat for 2 weeks without having to do much. His biggest problem I think were other people, with all the diseases that he had he still ended up with an arrow on his bum. Looking at documentaries of the few primitive hunter tribes still remaining, the men most of the time just sit under trees and weave stories...

LeBrok
01-08-14, 20:08
In regards to smoking maybe people did not smoke cigarettes or inhale car or industrial fumes, but smoke due to the continuous inhalation from burning of wood for heating and cooking was very prevalent and normal in confined places. People cooked inside and (correct me if Im wrong) there were no chimneys. I don't think it was possible to cook outside all the time. I recall only out of memory, that some ancient mummies had blacked lungs and sometimes could have been the cause of their premature death (mainly females).
Exactly my sentiment on the subject. People tamed fire about one million years ago. Since then we lived around fire inhaling smoke from all sorts of wood, coal and dung. We genetically adjusted to be immune to the smoke, and even watching flickering flames or just sitting around fire gives us pleasure. No wonder it takes people decades of smoking cigarettes daily to develop related sickness. Other animals would die rather quickly from it, I suppose.

If we are serious about second hand smoking, fireplaces and grills should be forbidden, lol.

LeBrok
01-08-14, 20:13
It's true that some people can do everything right and die young from some disease that's generally considered a "lifestyle" disease, whereas some other people can do everything they shouldn't and still live a long and healthy life because of their genes. But I think most of us fall in the middle somewhere in that living a reasonably healthy lifestyle will help us remain healthy for longer. I agree that moderate use of alcohol is important for good health as well as happiness.Indeed, only few lucky ones can enjoy life without limits, the rest of us has to balance pleasure to stay relatively healthy.

ebAmerican
01-08-14, 20:24
It all depends on the calorie source I guess. I saw an article on two Amazonian tribes men making a rare contact attempt with non-indigenous people (photograph), and I was surprised how chubby they were. I would of thought that life in the Amazon climbing trees and being outdoors without transportation (cars and pack animals) would keep you lean. It shows how much genetics play a part and the overall calorie source these individuals have access to.

Aberdeen
01-08-14, 21:04
The study is interesting and all, but who are these 19 people? It would be nice to know what their family ancestry looked like and where they were from.

It's fairly easy to find out that information through an online search. It will lead you to websites like this one.

http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/d-brief/2013/10/16/living-relatives-of-otzi-the-iceman-mummy-found-in-austria/#.U9vjVRzUrv4

The blog says:

"Since his maternal line is thought to be extinct, researchers looked at DNA from the mummy’s Y chromosome instead—genetic material passed down from father to child. This heritable, unchanging DNA was still found lurking in the genomes of Austrians alive today. Ötzi and his long-lost relatives fall into a rare European haplogroup and sub category (known as G-L91).Each haplogroup represents an isolated population of ancient people whose unique genetic mutations can tie them to a particular geographical location—the Öztal Alps in this case—and early migratory routes. The scientists have not yet informed the mummy’s relatives of their ancestral connection."

So, his living relatives are some Austrians who have no idea they're related to the Iceman.

ebAmerican
01-08-14, 21:25
It's definitely cool to say you have a genetic connection to an area you lived all your life dating back 5300 years.

Tomenable
07-09-14, 15:58
Guess we need to change name for "civilizational diseases". Heh.