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Re: Africa, Race & I.Q... [IDD in history; evolution; aquatic ape]

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  • aelewis@provide.net
    Taking this off-list comment on list, for whoever is interested: ... [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases] Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean.
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 23, 2005
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      Taking this off-list comment on list, for whoever is interested:

      Joao Sousa wrote:
      >
      > Dr Alan Lewis,
      >
      > I appreciated your long post! May I ask what were the reasons for
      > IDD in Africa? Was it because salt shortage?

      [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases]

      Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean. Seafoods and
      sea vegetation are good/great sources of iodine, but very little
      else is. Iodine is poorly distributed about the big land masses.
      That's why IDD is endemic all over the world.

      Since the iodization of salt to prevent IDD/goiter, one might say
      that IDD in Africa (or wherever) is because of a shortage of
      iodized salt. But of course not salt itself, just the iodine.

      > Did it began in the era of colonialism, that is, after 1880? Or
      > was it a major problem before?

      Goiter was described, I believe, 4,000 years ago. Given what we
      know of the geochemistry of iodine, it is not conceivable that IDD
      suddenly just popped-up in the industrial period. It must have
      been prevalent for all history (though I have not made a study of
      this specific point). So, unfortunately, we cannot blame the
      imperialists and their running dogs for this one.

      Keep in mind however that populations tend to cluster along
      littorals; i.e. most people, most of the time, were probably
      getting enough iodine -- just as is the case today. (6.3
      billion people, circa one billion at risk of IDD.)

      Also remember the bit in #38169 about neandertals as possibly
      iodine-deficient cretins (Dobson's thesis). We all know what
      happened to the neandertals. ;-)

      > My question is relevant in terms of evolutionary biology, for it
      > seems very improbable that such a debilitating and so widespread
      > condition would survive natural selection if it was not recent.

      Yes. Well, what we are learning here about iodine tends to
      support the Aquatic Ape thesis, and the associated tenet that
      migration was easier along the littorals. See snippets from
      www.riverapes.com, below.

      Come to think of it, it *strongly* supports the Aquatic Ape
      thesis. Those who strayed inland very far were at risk of IDD
      and degeneration (and ultimate extinction, like the
      neandertals), while the coastal peoples thrived.

      Also, your questions prompted me to take a look on my shelf.
      Found this: The Story of Medicine, by Victor Robinson, 1931,
      page 435: "It is highly remarkable that in the prehistoric
      era, burnt sponges and sea-weed ashes were used by the Chinese
      in goiter, since these substances contain iodides. In the
      Roman era, Caesar speaks of the big neck among the Gauls
      [mostly inland France --AEL] as one of their characteristics;
      and the Romans recognized that slaves with bulging eyes
      fatigue readily; the prevalence of goiter in Switzerland is
      apparent in the question of Juvenal: 'Who marvels at goiter in
      the Alps?'"... etc. He goes on to mention Celsus and Pliny,
      and that Paracelsus was the first to associate cretinism with
      endemic goiter.

      Another passage, same book, pg 437: "In former times, the
      curse of cretinism was ended only by death; today this
      deformed and drivelling idiot, properly treated with thyroid,
      is turned into a normal specimen of childhood. It is one of
      the miracles of modern medicine, for the child that emerges is
      literally 'born anew'. For example, a cretin whom Hector
      Mackenzie had treated since the age of eleven, became a
      university student (1908)."

      Age 11 is a very late start. But then thyroid hormone is
      hundreds of times more potent than iodine. (Pure T3, even more
      so.) Maybe some of these cases are retrievable even into the
      teen years. This reminds me of the great results that Turkel
      and others have gotten using thyroid hormone combined with
      micronutrients &tc. in Mongoloid (PKU) kids -- truly
      spectacular.

      Alan

      ----------------------

      SNIPPETS:

      http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/BBC/scars_of_evolution2.htm

      David Attenborough looks at the accumulated evidence of the
      Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. There is no one Aquatic Hypothesis.
      It depends what you mean by semi-aquatic. Do you mean a toe
      in the water?

      [.....]

      Michael Crawford and his team have established two crucial
      facts. First that the brains of all other savannah animals
      had shrunk in relative size, as they evolved larger bodies.
      By contrast, the human brain had grown three-fold. But
      secondly and more important, they demonstrated that to evolve
      a larger brain you need an abundant supply of Omega-3 fatty
      acids. Especially DHA. but also crucially iodine. And the only
      place to find that accessible and abundant supply of brain
      selected nutrients was at the shoreline, in the marine food
      chain.

      [.....]

      SC: Our babies have a ten-fold increase in fat, in the last 12
      weeks before birth. A ten-fold increase in their total body
      fat. So you're talking about 30% of that baby's weight is
      brain and body fat. Now a chimpanzee's brain is almost as big
      as an infant's brain at birth, but it has no body fat to speak
      of whatsoever. So it abandons brain expansion at birth,
      because it can't run it.

      DA: By contrast, the human brain trebles in size from birth to
      around age 10. And there's another persuasive aspect of the
      theory. It's predictive. It predicts that because iodine and
      other nutrients in the marine food chain are essential to the
      evolution of the human brain, then if we switched to a new
      land-based diet, that is poor in those nutrients, brain
      function will suffer. And that's exactly what has happened.
      According to the World Health Organization Report in 2004,
      iodine deficiency amongst inland populations, affects around
      740,000,000 people worldwide.

      MC: In corela...school children, 60% of them, are iodine
      deficient. I saw exactly the same in Indonesia when I was
      there for World Health Organization, 60% of the school
      children, the same number, had palpable goiter. When we got to
      the fishing villages, not one. So this nutrient lack which has
      happened as a consequence of population expansion has brought
      about some serious degenerative disorders.

      DA: Even for pillars of the anthropological mainstream,
      including former editor of the Journal of Human Evolution,
      Professor Leslie Aiello, the marine food chain account of
      brain evolution is becoming compelling. And it's tied up with
      another compelling story, of migrations.

      LA: Personally, I feel that the dietary and nutrition side of
      things would be a very interesting area to research further.
      Because there's many convincing arguments that migration would
      be easier along the seashore type of environment. But, you
      know, we need to be able to address the features. We need to
      be able to test them in a scientific manner.

      DA: Marc Verhaegen, a Belgian medical physician, who has
      researched and published widely in support of the aquatic ape
      hypothesis describes the boom years of the Homo erectus
      dispersal across the globe. This early hominid relative of
      ours arguably experienced a greater brain growth than any
      other branch of the hominid family tree.

      MV: About 1.8 million years ago we suddenly find fossils of
      homo along the warm coasts of the old world. We find them from
      Algeria, over the Dmanisi..,in Georgia, to Iran they've found
      tools near paleo.Lake...Also Java.Jakarta.so suddenly, one
      point eight million years ago they find them everywhere.

      DA: But why did it happen then? Was there an
      environmental catastrophe, or perhaps a population boom
      that drove these early bipedal hominids first to the beach,
      and then around the coastline. What pushed them?

      MV: I don't think it was a push. Perhaps better call it a
      pull. It was an opportunity. I see it like this, at the
      beginning of the Ice Ages there was an enormous amounts of
      water that were kept as ice at the poles. And so there was a
      drop of 100 meters or more of the sea levels and on the
      continental shelf there came an enormous space free, probably
      abundant in aquatic in shellfish and crabs And so was
      certainly an opportunity for our ancestors.

      _____________________________________________________________________
    • Joao Sousa
      Dr Alan Lewis, Thanks for your info about IDD, it was mostly news to me, but I have some disagreements on what you said. ... Here I must disagree on several
      Message 2 of 5 , Sep 24, 2005
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        Dr Alan Lewis,

        Thanks for your info about IDD, it was mostly news to me, but I have some disagreements on what you said.



        [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases]

        Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean. Seafoods and
        sea vegetation are good/great sources of iodine, but very little
        else is. Iodine is poorly distributed about the big land masses.
        That's why IDD is endemic all over the world.

        Since the iodization of salt to prevent IDD/goiter, one might say
        that IDD in Africa (or wherever) is because of a shortage of
        iodized salt. But of course not salt itself, just the iodine.
         
        > Did it began in the era of colonialism, that is, after 1880? Or
        > was it a major problem before?

        Goiter was described, I believe, 4,000 years ago. Given what we
        know of the geochemistry of iodine, it is not conceivable that IDD
        suddenly just popped-up in the industrial period. It must have
        been prevalent for all history (though I have not made a study of
        this specific point). So, unfortunately, we cannot blame the
        imperialists and their running dogs for this one.

        Here I must disagree on several things. First, the fact that a disease existed 4,000 years ago tells nothing about the *prevalence* of it, it could be rare enough by then, and so doesn't pose any evolutionary puzzle. But the actual prevalences of IDD as you present them are a major health issue, and would be subjected to relevant genetic selection if they were there since many time. So the high prevalence of goiter or IDD today should be new.

        Your last statement suggests that I as "blaming the imperialists" on a naive anti-imperialistic way. In fact, I was not blaming the imperialists in this case of IDD, simply because I don't know enough about IDD to do that. However, I think *probable* that the imperialists are to blame in this case too, since it is well known that the colonial practices in Africa caused major epidemics and health problems. For example, the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (namely syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia) that invaded Central Africa in 1880-1910 was (as is now firmly established), entirely brought by the French and the Belgians. These diseases caused total infertility in 30% of women in some populations. This was so great a problem that it produced a major catastrophic population crash, from 30 million to 15 million in  60 years. See about this:

        Caldwell JC & Caldwell P, 1983, World Health Statistics Quarterly 36(1):2-34.
        The demographic evidence for the incidence and cause of abnormally low fertility in tropical Africa.

        Continuing...

        The Arabs were important too in transmitting syphilis to Subsaharan Africa, but it never descended south of Sudan, more or less. Now these epidemics were not the unique driven by colonialism. Sleeping sickness is transmitted by the tse-tse fly, and certainly it exists since milennia, but existed always in low frequencies (the disease is 100% fatal if untreated). Sleeping sickness was enormously expanded by colonialism because of massive movements of troops, colonial staff, and the misplacement of locals to work in labour camps - all these movement of peoples, largely along rivers, where the fly abounds, contributed to the abundance of hosts near rivers for the flies to feed on

        To summarize, I don't regard at all naive to suspect *a priori* that a given widespread disease in the Third World was caused by colonialism. If this was the case of IDD or not, you know better.

        Come to think of it, it *strongly* supports the Aquatic Ape
        thesis. Those who strayed inland very far were at risk of IDD
        and degeneration (and ultimate extinction, like the
        neandertals), while the coastal peoples thrived.

        Also, your questions prompted me to take a look on my shelf.
        Found this: The Story of Medicine, by Victor Robinson, 1931,
        page 435: "It is highly remarkable that in the prehistoric
        era, burnt sponges and sea-weed ashes were used by the Chinese
        in goiter, since these substances contain iodides. In the
        Roman era, Caesar speaks of the big neck among the Gauls
        [mostly inland France --AEL] as one of their characteristics;
        and the Romans recognized that slaves with bulging eyes
        fatigue readily; the prevalence of goiter in Switzerland is
        apparent in the question of Juvenal: 'Who marvels at goiter in
        the Alps?'"... etc. He goes on to mention Celsus and Pliny,
        and that Paracelsus was the first to associate cretinism with
        endemic goiter. 

        However, AFAIK, almost everywhere, populations had their means to collect salt, no? If they couldn't collect it in lakes, deep networks of traders sent salt to the interior in most countries. So I would think that, in reality, almost all people, during most history, lived in towns or villages with access to salt, so IDD probably was not prevalent. Of course, massive movements of populations, such as in war, razias, forced labour, or colonialism, could put many in danger of salt shortage, but this is also true of starvation, diseases, etc.



      • aelewis@provide.net
        ... [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases] Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean. Seafoods and sea vegetation are good/great sources of iodine, but
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 7, 2005
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          Joao Sousa wrote:
          >
          > Dr Alan Lewis,
          >
          > I appreciated your long post! May I ask what were the reasons for
          > IDD in Africa? Was it because salt shortage?

          [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases]

          Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean. Seafoods and
          sea vegetation are good/great sources of iodine, but very little
          else is. Iodine is poorly distributed about the big land masses.
          That's why IDD is endemic all over the world.

          Since the iodization of salt to prevent IDD/goiter, one might say
          that IDD in Africa (or wherever) is because of a shortage of
          iodized salt. But of course not salt itself, just the iodine.

          > Did it began in the era of colonialism, that is, after 1880? Or
          > was it a major problem before?

          Goiter was described, I believe, 4,000 years ago. Given what we
          know of the geochemistry of iodine, it is not conceivable that IDD
          suddenly just popped-up in the industrial period. It must have
          been prevalent for all history (though I have not made a study of
          this specific point). So, unfortunately, we cannot blame the
          imperialists and their running dogs for this one.

          Keep in mind however that populations tend to cluster along
          littorals; i.e. most people, most of the time, were probably
          getting enough iodine -- just as is the case today. (6.3
          billion people, circa one billion at risk of IDD.)

          Also remember the bit in #38169 about neandertals as possibly
          iodine-deficient cretins (Dobson's thesis). We all know what
          happened to the neandertals. ;-)

          > My question is relevant in terms of evolutionary biology, for it
          > seems very improbable that such a debilitating and so widespread
          > condition would survive natural selection if it was not recent.

          Yes. Well, what we are learning here about iodine tends to
          support the Aquatic Ape thesis, and the associated tenet that
          migration was easier along the littorals. See snippets from
          www.riverapes.com, below.

          Come to think of it, it *strongly* supports the Aquatic Ape
          thesis. Those who strayed inland very far were at risk of IDD
          and degeneration (and ultimate extinction, like the
          neandertals), while the coastal peoples thrived.

          Also, your questions prompted me to take a look on my shelf.
          Found this: The Story of Medicine, by Victor Robinson, 1931,
          page 435: "It is highly remarkable that in the prehistoric
          era, burnt sponges and sea-weed ashes were used by the Chinese
          in goiter, since these substances contain iodides. In the
          Roman era, Caesar speaks of the big neck among the Gauls
          [mostly inland France --AEL] as one of their characteristics;
          and the Romans recognized that slaves with bulging eyes
          fatigue readily; the prevalence of goiter in Switzerland is
          apparent in the question of Juvenal: 'Who marvels at goiter in
          the Alps?'"... etc. He goes on to mention Celsus and Pliny,
          and that Paracelsus was the first to associate cretinism with
          endemic goiter.

          Another passage, same book, pg 437: "In former times, the
          curse of cretinism was ended only by death; today this
          deformed and drivelling idiot, properly treated with thyroid,
          is turned into a normal specimen of childhood. It is one of
          the miracles of modern medicine, for the child that emerges is
          literally 'born anew'. For example, a cretin whom Hector
          Mackenzie had treated since the age of eleven, became a
          university student (1908)."

          Age 11 is a very late start. But then thyroid hormone is
          hundreds of times more potent than iodine. (Pure T3, even more
          so.) Maybe some of these cases are retrievable even into the
          teen years. This reminds me of the great results that Turkel
          and others have gotten using thyroid hormone combined with
          micronutrients &tc. in Mongoloid (PKU) kids -- truly
          spectacular.

          Alan

          ----------------------

          SNIPPETS:

          http://www.riverapes.com/AAH/BBC/scars_of_evolution2.htm

          David Attenborough looks at the accumulated evidence of the
          Aquatic Ape Hypothesis. There is no one Aquatic Hypothesis.
          It depends what you mean by semi-aquatic. Do you mean a toe
          in the water?

          [.....]

          Michael Crawford and his team have established two crucial
          facts. First that the brains of all other savannah animals
          had shrunk in relative size, as they evolved larger bodies.
          By contrast, the human brain had grown three-fold. But
          secondly and more important, they demonstrated that to evolve
          a larger brain you need an abundant supply of Omega-3 fatty
          acids. Especially DHA. but also crucially iodine. And the only
          place to find that accessible and abundant supply of brain
          selected nutrients was at the shoreline, in the marine food
          chain.

          [.....]

          SC: Our babies have a ten-fold increase in fat, in the last 12
          weeks before birth. A ten-fold increase in their total body
          fat. So you're talking about 30% of that baby's weight is
          brain and body fat. Now a chimpanzee's brain is almost as big
          as an infant's brain at birth, but it has no body fat to speak
          of whatsoever. So it abandons brain expansion at birth,
          because it can't run it.

          DA: By contrast, the human brain trebles in size from birth to
          around age 10. And there's another persuasive aspect of the
          theory. It's predictive. It predicts that because iodine and
          other nutrients in the marine food chain are essential to the
          evolution of the human brain, then if we switched to a new
          land-based diet, that is poor in those nutrients, brain
          function will suffer. And that's exactly what has happened.
          According to the World Health Organization Report in 2004,
          iodine deficiency amongst inland populations, affects around
          740,000,000 people worldwide.

          MC: In corela...school children, 60% of them, are iodine
          deficient. I saw exactly the same in Indonesia when I was
          there for World Health Organization, 60% of the school
          children, the same number, had palpable goiter. When we got to
          the fishing villages, not one. So this nutrient lack which has
          happened as a consequence of population expansion has brought
          about some serious degenerative disorders.

          DA: Even for pillars of the anthropological mainstream,
          including former editor of the Journal of Human Evolution,
          Professor Leslie Aiello, the marine food chain account of
          brain evolution is becoming compelling. And it's tied up with
          another compelling story, of migrations.

          LA: Personally, I feel that the dietary and nutrition side of
          things would be a very interesting area to research further.
          Because there's many convincing arguments that migration would
          be easier along the seashore type of environment. But, you
          know, we need to be able to address the features. We need to
          be able to test them in a scientific manner.

          DA: Marc Verhaegen, a Belgian medical physician, who has
          researched and published widely in support of the aquatic ape
          hypothesis describes the boom years of the Homo erectus
          dispersal across the globe. This early hominid relative of
          ours arguably experienced a greater brain growth than any
          other branch of the hominid family tree.

          MV: About 1.8 million years ago we suddenly find fossils of
          homo along the warm coasts of the old world. We find them from
          Algeria, over the Dmanisi..,in Georgia, to Iran they've found
          tools near paleo.Lake...Also Java.Jakarta.so suddenly, one
          point eight million years ago they find them everywhere.

          DA: But why did it happen then? Was there an
          environmental catastrophe, or perhaps a population boom
          that drove these early bipedal hominids first to the beach,
          and then around the coastline. What pushed them?

          MV: I don't think it was a push. Perhaps better call it a
          pull. It was an opportunity. I see it like this, at the
          beginning of the Ice Ages there was an enormous amounts of
          water that were kept as ice at the poles. And so there was a
          drop of 100 meters or more of the sea levels and on the
          continental shelf there came an enormous space free, probably
          abundant in aquatic in shellfish and crabs And so was
          certainly an opportunity for our ancestors.

          _____________________________________________________________________
        • aelewis@provide.net
          Joao, thanks for writing. Responses below... ... Maybe this gets down to what we mean by phrases like HIGH prevalence . What is a high prevalence ? Anyway,
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 7, 2005
          • 0 Attachment
            Joao, thanks for writing. Responses below...

            Joao Sousa wrote:
            >
            > Dr Alan Lewis,
            >
            > Thanks for your info about IDD, it was mostly news to me, but I have
            > some disagreements on what you said.
            >
            > > [IDD = Iodine Deficiency Diseases]
            > >
            > > Generally, IDD occurs inland, away from the ocean. Seafoods
            > > and sea vegetation are good/great sources of iodine, but very
            > > little else is. Iodine is poorly distributed about the big
            > > land masses. That's why IDD is endemic all over the world.
            > >
            > > Since the iodization of salt to prevent IDD/goiter, one might
            > > say that IDD in Africa (or wherever) is because of a shortage
            > > of iodized salt. But of course not salt itself, just the
            > > iodine.
            > >
            > > > Did it began in the era of colonialism, that is, after 1880?
            > > > Or was it a major problem before?
            > >
            > > Goiter was described, I believe, 4,000 years ago. Given what
            > > we know of the geochemistry of iodine, it is not conceivable
            > > that IDD suddenly just popped-up in the industrial period. It
            > > must have been prevalent for all history (though I have not
            > > made a study of this specific point). So, unfortunately, we
            > > cannot blame the imperialists and their running dogs for this
            > > one.
            >
            > Here I must disagree on several things. First, the fact that a
            > disease existed 4,000 years ago tells nothing about the
            > *prevalence* of it, it could be rare enough by then, and so
            > doesn't pose any evolutionary puzzle. But the actual
            > prevalences of IDD as you present them are a major health
            > issue, and would be subjected to relevant genetic selection if
            > they were there since many time. So the high prevalence of
            > goiter or IDD today should be new.

            Maybe this gets down to what we mean by phrases like "HIGH
            prevalence". What is a "high prevalence"?

            Anyway, if iodine-deficient people were selected against, then
            would we be left with more or less completely depopulated land
            masses (i.e. the areas where iodine is very low in soil, water,
            plants, animals)? As far as we know, inland populations have
            existed for a very long time. Certainly for all recorded history,
            and there is archeological evidence for same a lot further back
            than that. Is it possible that selection could have worked
            incompletely, so as to mildly favor coastal populations over
            inland populations, but not so much as to have wiped-out inland
            populations entirely?

            I don't pretend to have the answer to this riddle. But I cannot
            imagine that goiter and IDD are new.

            > Your last statement suggests that I as "blaming the
            > imperialists" on a naive anti-imperialistic way. In fact, I
            > was not blaming the imperialists in this case of IDD, simply
            > because I don't know enough about IDD to do that. However,

            My apologies for a remark I should not have made. I was
            actually poking fun at myself and my sometimes-lefty
            sympathies. I would like nothing better than to blame the
            capitalists and imperialists for IDD. But I cannot.

            > I think *probable* that the imperialists are to blame in this
            > case too, since it is well known that the colonial practices
            > in Africa caused major epidemics and health problems. For
            > example, the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases (namely
            > syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia) that invaded Central
            > Africa in 1880-1910 was (as is now firmly established),
            > entirely brought by the French and the Belgians. These
            > diseases caused total infertility in 30% of women in some
            > populations. This was so great a problem that it produced a
            > major catastrophic population crash, from 30 million to 15
            > million in 60 years. See about this:
            > Caldwell JC & Caldwell P, 1983, World Health Statistics
            > Quarterly 36(1):2-34. The demographic evidence for the
            > incidence and cause of abnormally low fertility in tropical
            > Africa.

            I don't doubt it. Serendipity: I just several days ago wrote a
            sharply-worded note to a friend about the Holocaust in the
            Congo during Leopold's reign (and it WAS a Holocaust, by any
            measure). So I am familiar with the oft-murderousness and
            other mayhem of colonialism and imperialism.

            Nevertheless: I cannot see how the geochemical distribution of
            iodine (and presence of goitrogens in the water, or in
            indigenous foods), and resultant goiters and IDD of inland
            populations, can be blamed on the imperialists.

            > Continuing...
            >
            > The Arabs were important too in transmitting syphilis to
            > Subsaharan Africa, but it never descended south of Sudan, more
            > or less. Now these epidemics were not the unique driven by
            > colonialism. Sleeping sickness is transmitted by the tse-tse
            > fly, and certainly it exists since milennia, but existed
            > always in low frequencies (the disease is 100% fatal if
            > untreated). Sleeping sickness was enormously expanded by
            > colonialism because of massive movements of troops, colonial
            > staff, and the misplacement of locals to work in labour camps
            > - all these movement of peoples, largely along rivers, where
            > the fly abounds, contributed to the abundance of hosts near
            > rivers for the flies to feed on
            >
            > To summarize, I don't regard at all naive to suspect *a
            > priori* that a given widespread disease in the Third World was
            > caused by colonialism. If this was the case of IDD or not, you
            > know better.

            I am not an expert, but it seems very unlikely to be so. How could
            it be so? Suggest some way that it could be so, and I'll listen.

            I don't think it naive at all to SUSPECT that it is so. Given
            the terrible mayhem, including outright genocide, that
            colonialist/imperialists have wrought, throughout the world,
            then it is not naive to suspect practically anything you can
            think of! But in this case, knowing what we know about this
            whole issue, I cannot see how they could be culpable.

            > > Come to think of it, it *strongly* supports the Aquatic Ape
            > > thesis. Those who strayed inland very far were at risk of IDD
            > > and degeneration (and ultimate extinction, like the
            > > neandertals), while the coastal peoples thrived.
            > >
            > > Also, your questions prompted me to take a look on my shelf.
            > > Found this: The Story of Medicine, by Victor Robinson, 1931,
            > > page 435: "It is highly remarkable that in the prehistoric
            > > era, burnt sponges and sea-weed ashes were used by the Chinese
            > > in goiter, since these substances contain iodides. In the
            > > Roman era, Caesar speaks of the big neck among the Gauls
            > > [mostly inland France --AEL] as one of their characteristics;
            > > and the Romans recognized that slaves with bulging eyes
            > > fatigue readily; the prevalence of goiter in Switzerland is
            > > apparent in the question of Juvenal: 'Who marvels at goiter in
            > > the Alps?'"... etc. He goes on to mention Celsus and Pliny,
            > > and that Paracelsus was the first to associate cretinism with
            > > endemic goiter.
            >
            > However, AFAIK, almost everywhere, populations had their means
            > to collect salt, no? If they couldn't collect it in lakes,
            > deep networks of traders sent salt to the interior in most

            Yes, but what makes you think salt is necessarily a good
            source of iodine? Some salts are, most aren't. Strangely, SEA
            salt is not a particularly good source of iodine. (Though
            seaweeds and fish are great sources.) Most mined salt, to my
            knowledge, contains little iodine. For example, the salt from
            the salt mines of Detroit (Michigan), not far from where I
            sit, has no iodine. If salt were usually a good source of
            iodine, then there would be no need to ADD iodine to salt
            (iodization, as is widely practiced in the modern world).

            Further, if iodine were usually in salt, then I would imagine
            that iodine deficiency diseases would be much less prevalent
            than they are, since most people do use salt. The big
            determinant of iodine deficiency (apart from location -- near
            the sea or not) is whether or not the salt is iodized. Presence
            of goitrogens like fluorine or cassava runs second.

            I should say also that iodine is widely distributed and occurs
            everywhere in minute amounts. Food values vary greatly, but
            dairy products and eggs are often good sources, depending on
            the diet of the animals. Meat can also be a fair source.
            Whether or not iodized salt is used in the animal's feed has
            an influence on how much iodine is in their flesh, milk or
            eggs.

            > countries. So I would think that, in reality, almost all
            > people, during most history, lived in towns or villages with
            > access to salt, so IDD probably was not prevalent.

            Only if the salt had iodine in it.

            > Of course,
            > massive movements of populations, such as in war, razias,
            > forced labour, or colonialism, could put many in danger of
            > salt shortage, but this is also true of starvation, diseases,
            > etc.

            I'll think on it some more, but at the moment I'm drawing a blank
            on the matter of how colonialism could have caused this.

            Consider the extremely widespread nature of IDD -- literally ALL
            over the world. Check out the IDD newsletter, here:
            http://www.micronutrient.org/Salt_CD/4.0_useful/4.1_fulltext/pdfs/4.1.10.pdf

            Note that IDD occurs in Poland, Belarus, Russia, Croatia,
            Mali, Thailand, Vietnam, Macedonia, Slovakia, Ukraine,
            Uzbekistan, the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and many
            other places.

            Alan

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          • aelewis@provide.net
            ... That s the big assumption. Actually there are two wildcards in there: 1) The prevalence -- we are dealing with a *spectrum* of IDD, ranging from
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 7, 2005
            • 0 Attachment
              Joao Sousa wrote:
              > A. Lewis:
              > >Maybe this gets down to what we mean by phrases like "HIGH
              > >prevalence". What is a "high prevalence"?
              >
              > If the prevalence is 1% and the disease causes a strong fitness
              > reduction (for example, 30%),

              That's the big assumption. Actually there are two wildcards in
              there: 1) "The prevalence" -- we are dealing with a *spectrum* of
              IDD, ranging from incapacitation at the extreme, to mild or
              moderate intellectual impairment (like the range that Rushton et
              al have observed); and 2) the "fitness reduction" -- which may
              not be great or even noticeable, depending. For mild to moderate
              intellectual impairment, in a primitive context, the fitness
              reduction might even be zero. Whereas, in a modern technologic
              world, the "fitness" reduction of such impairments (so to say;
              i.e. relative to the highly-particular requirements of modern
              urban-industrialism) could be great. In other words, the really
              big fitness reduction might have only come about over the last few
              hundred years, or few thousand at the most. Just speculating.

              > this is already considered worthy a
              > elaborate evolutionary explanation. The numbers I say above are
              > the ones of schizophrenia, and it is considered an evolutionary
              > puzzle.

              And yet does not schizophrenia usually have dramatically more
              impact than "mild to moderate intellectual impairment"?

              > Your text suggests much higher prevalence of IDD.

              Yes, it is vastly more prevalent. But remember it is also a
              *spectrum*.

              > To inquire if it poses a puzzle, one would have to know what is the
              > fitness cost for the average IDD patient. If the fitness cost *
              > prevalence gives something around 0.3%, as in schizophrenia, I
              > think some would claim that it deserves a special explanation (or,
              > in other words why has the genome failed to evolve genetic
              > resistance to the problem?).

              Yes, I see the problem, but I don't have a solution.

              > > >Nevertheless: I cannot see how the geochemical distribution of
              > > >iodine (and presence of goitrogens in the water, or in
              > > >indigenous foods), and resultant goiters and IDD of inland
              > > >populations, can be blamed on the imperialists.
              >
              > I also don't know. I can suggest a very, very broad outline of
              > what could have happen. During millenia, all peoples developed, by
              > pure cultural evolution, the knowledge of what nutrients were the
              > best for them, and so their diets would contain enough iodine to
              > avoid IDD. I register what you say that not all salt has iodine.
              > Nevertheless, recently, the gathering of such nutrients became
              > disrupted by wars, massive displacements, slave work, etc, and
              > thus the epidemy of IDD. This way, colonialism could play a role.

              I see what you are saying. Maybe you are right. Maybe inland
              peoples did develop ways of knowing -- particular places or plants
              or areas where iodine could be obtained (not knowing anything
              about "iodine" as such, of course, but just knowing from long
              observation what "works" and what doesn't). And it is possible
              that the chaos of capitalism, imperialism and the modern world in
              general has disrupted those ways of knowing. Plausible indeed.

              I subjoin a couple more items for your consideration.

              Alan

              ------------------------------------------------------------------

              ITEM: hot off the presses; Science mag:

              http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/309/5736/883

              Science, Vol 309, Issue 5736, 883-885 , 5 August 2005
              [DOI: 10.1126/science.1115174]

              GLOBAL VOICES OF SCIENCE: Of Stones and Health: Medical Geology in
              Sri Lanka

              Chandrasekara Dissanayake*

              The "Geochemical Disease": Iodine Deficiency

              It has been estimated that nearly 30% of the world's population is
              at risk for some form of iodine deficiency disorder (IDD).
              Insufficient intake of iodine is the world's most common cause of
              mental retardation and brain damage with 1.6 billion people at
              risk, 50 million children already affected, and 100,000 more
              adding to their ranks every year.

              [...snip...]

              The sea is a major source of iodine, so there often is a
              relationship between the incidence of IDDs in a region and that
              region's distance from the sea. In general, the farther away from
              the sea, the less iodine is available.

              [...snip...]

              Iodine is strongly fixed by humus, and soils rich in humus
              therefore tend to be rich in iodine. However, the bioavailability
              of that iodine, which depends on the pH conditions, often is very
              low. Because iodine is strongly fixed by clay and humus, these
              materials may function as 'geochemical goitrogens,' particularly
              in the tropical environment.

              ------------------------------------------------------------------

              ITEM: A revew of Dobson's (neandertal/iodine/cretinism)
              hypothesis:

              http://www.amendez.com/pdf_files/NAS-EMS%20Seminar%20Works%20Cited.pdf

              Dobson JE. The iodine factor in health and evolution. The
              Geographical Review. 88:1:1-28. 1998.

              Amazing paper showing the effect that iodine deficiency disorders
              (IDD) would have on the Neanderthals. Puts forth the idea that
              Neanderthal morphology was pathology due to IDD (for an overview
              of the selenium connection see Foster 2002).

              Abstract- "Iodine is essential for modern humans and may have been
              essential for Neanderthals as well. Today about 30 percent of the
              world's population is at risk of iodine deficiency disorders
              (IDD), 750 million people suffer from goiter, 43 million have
              IDD-related brain damage and mental retardation, and 5.7 million
              are afflicted by cretinism, the most severe form of IDD.
              Distinctive Neandertal skeletal traits are identical to those of
              modern humans who suffer from cretinism. Cro-Magnon Venus
              figurines also exhibit distinctive traits associated with
              cretinism among modern humans. This new evidence.may account for
              the differences between Neandertals and modern humans."

              "Specific syndromes of cretinism include Licker-Debre-Semelaigne
              (KDS) and Brissaud infantilism. KDS is defined as 'large muscle
              syndrome. Apparent muscular hypertrophy in hypothyroid children
              [gives] them the 'herculean' (prize-fighter, athletic, or
              pseudo-athletic) appearance. Associated disorders may include
              delayed dentition, peculiar facies, and increased muscle mass.'"
              p. 2

              "Cro-Magnons were anatomically modern humans, yet Upper
              Paleolithic sites from the Pyrenees Mountains to the central
              Russian plain have yielded hundreds of oddly shaped female
              statues, known as Venus figurines, most of which date from about
              27,000 B.P. to about 22,000 B.P. It is commonly believed that
              these artifacts represent a prototypical Earth Mother or Earth
              Goddess. Most are obese, with pendulous breasts and large bellies
              that are assumed to indicate pregnancy. Genitals usually are
              exposed in a conspicuous manner. These combined characteristics
              have led many investigators to suggest that the objects served as
              fertility symbols.

              According to Christopher Stringer and Clive Gamble, 'we cannot
              specify how Venus figurines were used, or why females were always
              carved, or even why some of them show consistent, exaggerated
              proportions'. The physiological features of these figurines,
              however, are remarkably consistent with numerous characteristics
              of cretinism." p. 5

              "Morphologically, some of the Cro-Magnon Venus figurines represent
              the physical deformities of cretinism with near-photographic
              accuracy. Without doubt, Cro-Magnon artist knew the cretinous
              form base on then-contemporary victims. Both endemic and sporadic
              cretinism would have occurred in that age, just as they did in
              ancient historic times and in Europe at the beginning of the
              twentieth century." p. 8

              "Any Homo sapiens was vulnerable to iodine deficiency, but what
              about Homo neanderthalensis? Surely Neandertals suffered diseases
              of their own. Was their body chemistry similar enough to that of
              Cro-Magnons to require iodine and suffer from IDD? Neandertal
              physiology is an enigma, as perplexing today as when the first
              fossil remains were discovered in 1856...Iodine appears to explain
              these 'superficial' differences. Indeed, Neandertal skeletons
              resemble cretins far more closely than they resemble healthy
              modern humans. Conversely, cretin skeletons resemble Neandertals
              more closely that they resemble healthy modern humans." p. 8-9
              "Graphic comparisons presented by Finkbeiner are convincing
              evidence that certain bones, especially the femur and tibia, are
              practically identical among cretins and Neandertals. Stringer and
              Gamble further refer to the 'high incidence of degenerative joint
              disease' among Neandertal. Similarly, Erik Trinkaus found
              degenerative disease in the heads, arms, ribs, legs, and feet of
              the Neanderthals in the Shanidar Cave collection; and Marcellin
              Boule found degenerative joint disease in the skull, jaw, spinal
              column, hip, and feet of the 'Old Man' of La Chapelle-aux-Saints,
              France, the most famous of all diseased Neandertal. In regard to
              cretinism, Daniel J. Ortner and W. G. J. Putschar stated that
              'Most epiphyses show multifocal irregular ossification centers,
              which later fuse [and are] often abnormal. misshapen flattened
              head[s] with a mushroom-like deformity[.].'[C]retin hips' leads
              to early and severe degenerative arthritis.'" p. 9-10

              Section Heading- Geographic Isolation from Costal Iodine
              Resources- "The incidence of cretinism can serve as an indicator
              of geographical isolation associated with glacial and sea-level
              fluctuations during the Pleistocene ice ages. The primary sources
              of iodine are saltwater fish, shellfish, and seaweed. Sea salt is
              an inadequate source unless it has been fortified with iodine
              derived by extraction, historically from seaweed and more recently
              from phosphate rock or geologic brines. Even today, soils are
              notoriously iodine deficient in continental interiors, and the
              world's 'goiter belts' are identified as mountainous and/or
              formerly glaciated regions." p. 15

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