Sunday, December 11, 2005

African Pygmy

African pygmy - For a long time, environmental physiologists have studied the biological adaptation of humans to the extremes of heat, cold, and altitude and its role in the aging process.
None of the studies of tropical populations show evidence of accelerated aging. Two African pygmy populations-the Mbuti of northeastern Zaire and the Babinga of the Central African Republic-did not age at a different rate than people who live in more moderate climates. They were well adjusted to the hard conditions of the rain forest, and their endurance was remarkable despite exposure to a broad spectrum of parasites.
The increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure between 20 and 60 years of age was small in both tribes. The serum cholesterol levels of the Mbuti were consistently low and did not increase with age, though the levels were somewhat higher in the Babingas. No MYOCARDIAL INFARCTION was found in either tribe.
Thus, the conclusions from the studies contradict widely held beliefs that natives of the tropics are in poorer health and age more quickly than people in temperate climates.
Mann, G. V., et al. "Cardiovascular Disease in African Pygmies." J. of Chronic Diseases 15: 341-371 (1961).


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