Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Paleolithic Body and Brain

The next phase of medicine is coming, I hope. One where doctors will help people find solutions rather than medicate away the symptoms. The state of our health is tenuous, and our longevity is linked to a number of prescription drugs and expensive medical procedures. Most of us have to decide whether we want to die of heart disease or cancer. In the mean time, we live with disability at the end of our lives, often for many years.

I work in one of the most maligned and least understood fields of medicine - Psychiatry. My job is to help people feel better, and to accomplish this task I look at medical, genetic, psychological, and social influences on a person's life, and hopefully come up with a plan to correct glaring problems. A lot of the time, I prescribe medication to help the process along. I'm hopeful that an increased understanding of the brain and paleolithic nutrition will greatly reduce my need to rely on prescriptions in order to help people.

The brain is the most complicated and therefore vulnerable organ in the body. Almost any illness, medication, and nutritional deficit can show up first as vague (or not so vague) psychological or neurological symptoms. We are not supposed to be fatigued, scattered, depressed, or have wild aggression and mood swings on a regular basis. We are meant to be sharp, serene, and generally happy. If we look hard enough, I'm sure that science and common sense will give us some answers.

Our current state of health, by the numbers:

Mental Health


Heart Disease


I want to do better.


  1. Intriguing concept here!

    I've never seen any research on whether paleo-style living has any impact on specific psychiatric diseases.

    Big Pharma isn't going to be funding it, for sure.

    [I admit I don't have time to follow the psychiatric literature.]


  2. Thanks for stopping by! I plan to scrape up whatever nutritional studies there are and posting on them here. No full-on, paleo, coconut oil eating and boar-hunting research has been done, so far as I know... but there are thousand topics that spring to mind on which there is a little something out there. I'll be busy.

  3. There needs to be a little deductive reasoning, reasoning from principles. We are so strident about teaching evolution in our schools yet we can't seem to understand that we all have paleolithic bodies that have evolved on a paleo-diet for literally millions of years. Why is that difficult to understand? Are people just afraid to think that through, or do they fear that they can't live without their Twinkies and whole wheat bread?

    Of course a paleo-diet is not going to taste as good; we have spend the past 10,000 years trying to make agricultural food taste good. But excellent health is worth it.


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