Join us for a conversation with Adrian Jaeggi, Assistant Professor and Head of the Human Ecology Group at the University of Zurich Institute of Evolutionary Medicine, and Aaron Blackwell, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Washington State University. In high-income countries, relative wealth and inequality may affect health by causing psychosocial stress. We test this hypothesis in a small-scale subsistence society, the Tsimane. We associated relative household wealth and community-level wealth inequality with a range of psychosocial and health outcomes (depressive symptoms, social conflicts, non-social problems, social support, cortisol, BMI, blood pressure, self-rated health, morbidities) controlling for community mean wealth, age, sex, community size, distance to town and relevant random effects. Wealth inequality was associated with respiratory disease, the leading cause of mortality in the Tsimane. Both inequality and wealth were associated with blood pressure. However, psychosocial stress did not mediate these associations. These findings suggest effects of socio-economic hierarchies on health in any society, but that some effects are exacerbated in high-income countries. Sign up here for the meeting link.
Join us for a conversation with Melissa Emery Thompson, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of New Mexico. Recent research has revealed that despite shorter life expectancies, humans in small-scale subsistence populations exhibit surprisingly good health, suggesting that some debilitating diseases of aging may be novel products of industrialized environments. This research highlights an urgency to look deeper in our evolutionary past to understand how we age today. I will discuss emerging findings from the first longitudinal study to examine aging in our closest evolutionary relatives, chimpanzees, in their natural environment. Attendees may be interested in reading articles in a recent theme issue on primate aging.
After the talk, perspectives on how the research applies in a clinical setting will be presented by Arun Karlamangla, Professor of Medicine with a specialty in geriatric medicine at UCLA. Sign up here for the meeting link.