My name is Paige and I’m majoring in Anthropology with a pre-med concentration. Yes, ANTH 249 fulfills my major requirements but also anthropology is my major because it is fascinating to me, specifically in how culture impacts health. My interest in health developed out of a sensitivity towards diet, exercise sleep and general stressors. I have always noticed the subtle difference in overall feeling with a healthy diet and lifestyle as opposed to not. It is amazing how the body works holistically and optimally when each bodily system is in congruence. At the same time, it seems much of our culture can promote imbalances whether that be through heavily processed foods or a busy and stressful lifestyle. The amount of growing health concerns in this country – hypertension, diabetes, hypoglycemia, obesity, and chronic stress and depression – are staggering and alarming when viewed in correlation with our progressing culture. The nuances of this subject are endless and I’m very excited to learn more in this course.
I found many interesting blogs relevant to the class, one of which is titled ‘Neuroanthropology,’ co-authored by Daniel Lende and Greg Downey. Another is paleoanthropologist, John Hawks’s blog – some of the posts are short since he seems to post daily but none-the-less are worthy and fun to read.
While searching around on Scientific American, I came across a co-authored blog of a single post but one that caught my eye called “Could Living in a Mentally Enriching Environment Change your Genes?” by Jennifer L. Barrendo and Katherine E. Deeg. The article discusses a recent study performed by neuroscientists, Junko A. Arai, Shaomin Li and colleagues at Tufts University. The studies on rats have shown that enriched environments not only lead to larger brains with higher learning and memory skills but subsequent research has shown how these enriched environments elicits a change in neural morphology and a resistance to neurodegenerative diseases. The article goes on to explain much more of the research being done, more than I have room for here. It is very interesting and worth a read.
I’m looking forward to working with and getting to know you all!
Thanks for reading!