The Amazon Tribe With The ‘Healthiest Hearts Ever Studied’ May Also Hold Key To Slowing AGING

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They are known for having studied the “ healthiest hearts ever, ” but now an Amazonian tribe may also hold the key to slowing aging.

The native Tsimane people of the Bolivian Amazon region experience less brain atrophy as they age than their American and European peers, researchers have found.

It suggests that sedentary lifestyles and diets rich in fats and sugars can make people in industrialized countries more vulnerable to Alzheimer’s disease.

The 16,000-strong tribe, on the other hand, is extremely active, traditionally hunting and foraging for their own food and consuming a high-fiber diet of vegetables, fish and lean meat.

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The Tsimane tribe, who spend most days hunting, fishing, growing, and collecting wild fruits and nuts, experience less brain atrophy as they age than their American and European peers

The Tsimane tribe, who spend most days hunting, fishing, growing, and collecting wild fruits and nuts, experience less brain atrophy as they age than their American and European peers

WHY DO THE TSIMANE PEOPLE HAVE THE “HEALTHIEST HEARTS”?

The University of New Mexico, which conducted a 2017 study, reported that the Tsimane had better cardiovascular health than has ever been measured in any other population.

More than 700 people over 40 from the Tsimane people were involved in the study.

Scientists found that nearly nine out of 10 participants had clear arteries that showed no risk of heart disease.

Nearly two-thirds of the over-75s were almost risk-free, and only eight percent had a moderate to high level of risk.

An 80-year-old had arteries similar to those of Americans in their mid-50s.

Tsimane also has low blood pressure.

People have extremely healthy arteries due to their active lifestyle.

Professor Hillard Kaplan, who led the study, said: ‘Their lifestyle suggests that a diet low in saturated fats and high in unprocessed fiber-rich carbohydrates, along with game and fish, not smoking and being active throughout the day might help. prevent hardening in the arteries of the heart. ‘

“Our previous work showed that the Tsimane have the healthiest hearts ever studied,” said senior author Professor Michael Gurven.

“The Tsimane has provided us with an amazing natural experiment on the potentially harmful effects of modern lifestyles on our health,” said study author Andrei Irimia, an assistant professor of gerontology, neuroscience and biomedical engineering at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.

“These findings suggest that brain atrophy can be significantly slowed by the same lifestyle factors associated with a very low risk of heart disease.”

Scientists found that the difference in brain volume between middle age and old age is 70 percent smaller in Tsimane than in Western populations.

This suggests that the Tsimane’s brain is likely to experience much less brain atrophy than Westerners as they age.

More than 700 people aged 40 to 94 from the pedigree were involved in the study.

Researchers found that members of the tribe have high levels of inflammation, typically associated with brain atrophy in Westerners, but this has no marked effect on Tsimane’s brain.

The group’s low cardiovascular risks may outweigh their infection-driven inflammation risk, scientists think, raising new questions about the causes of dementia.

One explanation is that inflammation in Westerners is associated with obesity and metabolic causes, while in the Tsimane it is caused by respiratory, gastrointestinal and parasitic infections.

Infectious diseases are the leading cause of death among the Tsimane.

“ Our sedentary lifestyle and diet rich in sugars and fats can accelerate brain tissue loss with age and make us more vulnerable to diseases such as Alzheimer’s, ” said study author Hillard Kaplan, a professor of health economics and anthropology at Chapman University. who has studied the Tsimane for nearly two decades.

‘The Tsimane can serve as a basis for healthy brain aging.’

Tsimane people have previously been found to have a low rate of obesity and type 2 diabetes, as well as healthy blood pressure and cholesterol.

This is partly due to their active lifestyle – they spend most of the day hunting, fishing, farming, and collecting wild fruits and nuts.

The University of New Mexico, which conducted a 2017 study, reported that the Tsimane had better cardiovascular health than has ever been measured in any other population.

Scientists found that nearly nine out of 10 participants had clear arteries that showed no risk of heart disease.

Healthy hearts and minds: the Tsimane are a tribe of about 16,000 people who live along the banks of the Maniqui River in the Bolivian Amazon

Healthy hearts and minds: the Tsimane are a tribe of about 16,000 people who live along the banks of the Maniqui River in the Bolivian Amazon

Scientists found that the difference in brain volume between middle age and old age is 70 percent smaller in Tsimane than in Western populations.  Pictured, a typical house in the tribe

Scientists found that the difference in brain volume between middle age and old age is 70 percent smaller in Tsimane than in Western populations. Pictured, a typical house in the tribe

Nearly two-thirds of the over-75s were almost risk-free, and only eight percent had a moderate to high level of risk.

“This study shows that the Tsimane stands out not only in terms of heart health, but also in terms of brain health,” Kaplan said.

“The findings suggest ample scope for interventions to improve brain health, even in populations with high levels of inflammation.”

WHO ARE THE TSIMANE TRIBE?

The Tsimane are a tribe of about 16,000 people who live along the banks of the Maniqui River in the Bolivian Amazon.

Unlike other Amazonian tribes, the group has remained isolated from modern society since rejecting the claims of Jesuit missionaries in the late 17th century.

The tribe, made up of 80 small villages scattered across the rainforest, is one of the last groups in the world to survive only through foraging, fishing and hunting.

They fish with bows and arrows and poisonous vines, hunt with machetes and sniffer dogs.

Despite their rugged lifestyles, Tsimane men have a third less testosterone than Western men, but the Bolivian forage farmers’ testosterone levels do not decline with age.

Due to their stable testosterone levels, the tribesman rarely suffers from obesity, heart disease, and other diseases associated with old age.

Tsimane women’s breast milk contains more omega-3 fatty acids, crucial for brain development, than milk produced by Western women.

The average Tsimane family has nine children, although about five percent die before their first birthday and 15 percent before the age of five.

More than 70 percent of the Tsimane diet consists of high-fiber carbohydrates, including rice, plantain, cassava, corn, nuts, and fruits.

The tribe people only eat 38 grams of fat per day, 11 grams of saturated fat and no trans fats.

Traditionally, the Tsiname are animists and believe that supernatural beings living in the forest control their fortunes.

They brew cassava beer in huge barrels, a crucial part of social events that bring families and villages together.

They speak Tsimane as their primary language – a language completely different from other indigenous groups even a few miles away. But many also speak Spanish due to recent efforts in bilingual education.

The small number of Tsimane living around the town of San Borja own motorcycles and use cell phones, but further down the Maniqui River, tribal life is much more traditional.

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