Egyptian mummies and cancer: the tumors is a "man's disease?

>> Friday, October 15, 2010



We report today that cancer is a "man's disease, a suggestion based on studies of Egyptian mummies and South American, who - said the researchers - was almost without cancer.


Now I want to be clear, we - and other documents - is not reporting this, at least in one direction. The press release from the University of Manchester is very clear: "The scientists suggest that cancer is pure art," says the title The press release is based on an opinion piece by rofessors Rosalie David Zimmerman and Michael R. in Nature, entitled "Cancer: an old disease, a new disease or something in between," which says that the scarcity "in malignant tumors in physical ancient remains indicate that cancer is rare in antiquity, and thus raises questions The role of environmental factors carcinogens in modern societies. "

A clear difference between modern lifestyles and old, of course, is that modern much longer. The life expectancy of someone Columbia is now 79.9 years (according to World Bank), the life expectancy of ancient Egypt was about 40, much as we can tell. And cancer is fundamentally a disease of aging: Cancer Research UK, in his excellent analysis of the University of Manchester, claims, claims that "three quarters of the cases diagnosed in people aged 60 and over, and over a third (36 percent) of cases in people aged 75 and over. It is not surprising that cancer is a rare occurrence in populations where people are unlikely to make 40. "(New Scientist has a very calm and clear issues here.)

Researchers say they have displayed, and said other aging diseases - atherosclerosis is Paget's disease and osteoporosis is called - not classified the ancient Egyptians, and the childhood tumors have become particularly frequent. But since almost all the mummies and skeletons studied died before the age of 50, it is difficult to place much weight on their findings. The interesting question may be why osteoporosis and were so common among those under 50 years.

Anyway, there are one or two places where the excitement of their research to outright misrepresentations led. Professor Davids said: ".. There is nothing in the natural environment that can cause cancer" Now this, of course, no ultraviolet light from the sun can cause cancer; country background radiation can cause cancer, viruses and bacteria can cause cancer Perfectly "natural" chemicals can cause cancer (the natural does not equate to good people) ..

And also, can not cause cancer. Cancer is the result of mutations, copying errors when cells divide. Ultimately, it's just a failure of a cell to die when it's supposed to, rather than divide uncontrollably. With about 10,000 billion cell divisions in our lives, the surprise is that it more frequently happens, a non-miraculous miracle of technology developed with failsafe failsafe stacked "design" to prevent it. Sometimes an error occurs and the copy is missing the failsafe. He did not need a "cause."

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