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Anthropology Lab 6: Stone Age Bodies, Space Age Challenges Instructions Work through the following activities and questions. Step One: The Circulator

October 09, 2021

Anthropology Lab 6: Stone Age Bodies, Space Age Challenges

Instructions
Work through the following activities and questions.

Step One: The Circulatory System
1. View the
Circulatory system and the heart
video from the Kahn Academy demonstrating how the system works.
2. Let’s take it a step further and focus on blood pressure in particular. When your blood pressure is taken, it is reported as something like 120/80. The first number refers to systolic blood pressure. This is the peak blood pressure when your heart beats. The second number is diastolic blood pressure, the blood pressure during the resting phase of your heartbeat.
3. There are standard classification schemes in Western biomedicine that place these numbers into the following categories (Gurven et al., 2012).

Hypertensive (high blood pressure) 140/90 or higher

Prehypertensive 120-139/80-89

Normotensive 120/80 or lower
4. Now, view the short video clip
How Blood Pressure Works
from TEDEd illustrating how blood pressure works and the causes and consequences of hypertension. Pay attention to dietary impacts on blood pressure that contribute to heart disease.

a. How does salt in the diet impact blood pressure?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

b. How do fatty foods impact blood pressure?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

c. Define the term atherosclerosis.
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d. Explain what a stent is and how it functions.
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5. Data from hunter-gathers, horticulturalists, and pastoralists show typical blood pressures lower than those usually observed in the U.S. (110/70, for example), and they do not tend to rise with age (also typical in the U.S.) except in cases of changes in diet and lifestyle due to modernization (Gurven et al., 2012). Read Chapter 16 through the section “Epidemiological Transitions” in your Explorations textbook or do some research online and note the kinds of foods these groups typically eat and their levels of physical activity.

Pastoralist Diet and Exercise

Horticulturist Diet and Exercise

Hunter and Gatherer Diet and Exercise

Western Diet and Exercise

a. Which column most closely matches your own diet? What differences in diet and physical activity between foragers and your society might account for these differences in blood pressure?

TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

b. Given what you saw in the video clip on blood pressure, what kinds of health issues might result from the differences in diet you observed between foragers and yourself?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

Step Two: The Endocrine System
6. Review the box section “Special Topic: Diabetes” in Chapter 16 of your Explorations textbook.
7. Next, examine the glucose levels provided in the following data set of ten individuals from a modern, industrialized society:

Individuals

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

Glucose Readings

132

126

62

87

160

102

110

98

251

149

Normal glucose levels fall between 70 and 150 mg. Glucose levels are usually lower in the mornings and rise after meals. Blood sugar levels consistently above 150 are indicative of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar. Chronic low levels, falling below 70, are characteristic of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Both are potentially fatal. Symptoms of hypoglycemia are lethargy, impaired mental functioning, irritability, and loss of consciousness. Persistent hyperglycemia results in diabetes mellitus, the most common disease related to failure of the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar.
Watch the short video
Glucose, insulin and diabetes
from Kahn Academy which explains the difference between Type I and Type II diabetes, as well as potential treatments. Note the differences.

Characteristics of Type 1 Diabetes

Characteristics of Type 2 Diabetes

Glucose testing results greater than 240mg/dL may mean hyperglycemia. Test results lower than 60 mg/dL may be indicative of hypoglycemia. In either case, patients should seek out a healthcare professional immediately.
8. Of the ten individuals whose glucose testing results are pictured in the table above, which subjects tested should consult with a healthcare professional for further testing? Why?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

9. Studies by biological anthropologists (Lieberman, 2020) have shown that hunter-gatherers, horticulturalists, and pastoralists tend to be physically fit due to their daily activities. These same people are likely to eat very little (if any) refined or processed food or beverages. How are the glucose readings of the ten individuals in the table above likely to compare with those of contemporary foragers, gardeners, and herders?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

10. If blood sugar homeostasis (meaning the endocrine system is capable of maintaining insulin balance) is important for health, briefly explain how the body’s endocrine system responds to greater and lesser amounts of daily nutrients and physical activity.
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

11. Are there limits to how much our bodies can compensate for excess calories or too little physical activity? What is likely to happen if those limits are exceeded?
TYPE YOUR ANSWER HERE

You’re finished!

GRADING:

10 questions for 7 points each, 2 charts for 15 points each

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