Skip to comments.Archaeology Unearths Gout In Early Pacific People
Posted on 11/23/2007 7:43:15 AM PST by blam
Archaeology unearths gout in early Pacific people
Thursday November 22, 2007
OTAGO (Pacnews) High rates of gout among Mâori and Pacific Island men may have a genetic basis going back thousands of years to the time when Polynesia and Melanesia were being colonized from South East Asia.
University of Otago Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology biological anthropologist Dr. Hallie Buckley has been working with colleagues from the Australian National University and CNRS in Paris to analyze skeletons from a 3,000-year-old cemetery in Vanuatu.
Her paper on possible gouty arthritis amongst the Lapita people so-called because of their distinctive decorated pottery known as the Lapita style has been published in the October edition of Current Anthropology.
We examined the bones of 20 skeletons from the first two field seasons using radiography and other techniques and found erosive lesions or damage to the joints of seven of them. The pattern of these lesions suggests they were most likely the result of gouty arthritis, said Buckley.
Gout is caused by a build-up in the affected joints of urate crystals, the result of hyperuricaemia or high levels of urate acid in the blood.
This surprising finding suggests a very early antiquity of gout in the Pacific Islands and may help to explain the unusually high incidence of hyperuricaemia and gout in many modern Pacific Island populations, including New Zealand Mâori, she said.
Other researchers have already suggested that the higher prevalence of gout in Polynesian populations may be due to a genetic predisposition. A genetic marker for gout susceptibility in Taiwanese Aborigines has been identified, suggesting that a founder effect could be responsible for this.
Buckley also said the Lapita peoples diet tended to consist of local plants and seafood. That purine rich seafood can set off attacks of gout in people who are already susceptible to the condition.
The predominance of this sort of diet may have favored the continued selection of high frequencies of hyperuricaemia and gout in these ancient explorers.
The curse of summer green beans...
Wasn’t it a Mâori chieftan who uttered the famous words “My kingdom for some Indomethacin”?
No, the Maori chieftan said,
“Everybody form a circle...
Put your left foot in,
Your left foot gout,
Your left foot in,
And shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey
And turn yourself around.
Now put your right foot in,
Your right foot gout,
Right foot in
Then you shake it all about.
And then you do the Hokey Pokey
Turn yourself around,
That’s what it’s all about.”
Too much rich foods and palm wine?
Nope. According to the chieftan (see post #6), it's all about the Hokey Pokey.
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That doesn't make sense to me. Isn't that like saying that selection would favor Eskimos who didn't tolerate seal and whale meat?
I'm no Maori chieftan but I've been known to utter those words a few times. Most recently it was during a trip to Oregon when Old Red Toe flared up and I'd left the pills at home. Since I couldn't get a shoe on one foot, I wore a slipper for the flight back to California.
As I hobbled around the Eugene airport I could see the Security people looking my way and whispering to each other. At boarding time the "Red-Toed Slipper Bomber" got the most thorough going-over in the history of Eugene airport security.
I hate gout flare-ups. It’s so difficult to convey how much it hurts to someone that hasn’t had it. I’ve had broken bones that don’t hurt near as much. The only thing I know that hurts more is burns.
Approximately one million people in the United States suffer from attacks of gout. (Did you know that none other than Benjamin Franklin had terrible gouty arthritis!) Gout is nine times more common in men than in women. It predominantly attacks males after puberty, with a peak age of 75. In women, gout attacks usually occur after menopause.
That's interesting because Benjamin Franklin has mtDNA haplogroup 'V' which is predominant in the Sa'ami people (Laplanders, who live in northern Finland).
Boy, is that ever true! It's almost as hard as convincing them the hereditary ailment can be brought on by many things other than booze and high living. Green beans have been mentioned (beans of nearly any kind, in fact).
Beer (my former favorite food) was probably the major culprit in my case. But when I stopped drinking I found that wheat products in general did a job on me. My worst gout attack ever was due to eating too many cornflakes!
Oatmeal is very bad for gout sufferers, as are asparagus, cauliflower, spinach, mushrooms, green peas, wheat bran and wheat germ, beef, pork, poultry, fish and seafood in general. And that's in addition to the real baddies like liver, sweetbreads, anchovies, sardines, beef kidneys, brains, meat extracts, herring, mackerel, scallops, game meats and gravy.
Interesting factoid? Where'd you come up with that?
I think that gout may have been prevalent in Franklin's time mainly because of the high meat content in diets. Historical accounts of menus during that general time period are very heavy on game meats, internal organ meats (heart, kidneys, liver, etc.), which is not to say that there's not a hereditary predisposition to the ailment -- there is.
Gout was so common then they made special "gout chairs" that had an attached foot rest. Gout pain is eased a little when the affected foot is held out straight from the body.
I had my DNA analysed this summer and discovered that I have mtDNA 'V' and yDNA 'R1b' and came across it just reading up on the Sa'ami.
You should start a Gout Ping List!
I'm convinced my Norwegian wife is descended from the Sami. Where did you have the DNA analysis done? I'd like to have hers tested.
"Getting Benjamin Franklin's mtDNA may be easier than getting his Y-chromosome, because all female-line descendants of his mother's six sisters (Folgers/Foulgers) and of his four full sisters carry his mtDNA. The Folger genealogy is well developed. His mother is Abiah Lee Folger.. (Note that Benjamin Franklin inherited his mtDNA from his mother, but did not pass it on to his descendants. Only his mother could pass it on.)
One such purported female-line descendant, Charlene Chambers King, of Abiah's sister Dorcas has had her mtDNA HVR1 and HVF2 measured. The result is available at http://freepages.family.rootsweb.com/~crrking/mills/mills_dnam.htm. It is in the mtDNA hapolgroup V (Velda) with relative mutations from the Cambridge Reference Sequence at location 16298 for the HVR1 sequence (change of a T nucleotide to a C nucleotide) and mutations at locations 72 (change of a T nucleotide to a C nucleotide), 263 (change of an A nucleotide to a G nucleotide), 309.1C and 315.1C for the HVR2 sequence. (The .1C indicates that an extra C is inserted after the 309 and 315 locations.) Velda is one of the "The Seven Daughters of Eve", the one that originated in northern Spain c17,000 years ago. About 5% of Europeans descend from Velda.
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