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The 'Western diet' is linked to adult acne in a new study
The takeaway: limit sugar and dairy if you want better skin.
- University of Paris researchers found that the consumption of fatty and sugary products, sugary beverages, and milk seems to increase adult acne.
- The team used data from over 24,000 participants in a famous French study.
- Roughly 50 percent of adults in Western countries over age 25 suffer from acne.
The bane of adolescence can be a lifetime recurrence with the wrong diet. According to a new study, published in JAMA Dermatology, the Western diet is associated with an increased likelihood of adult acne.
Acne is the result of dead skin cells and oil clogging hair follicles. This is the stuff of teenage nightmares: blackheads, oily skin, pimples, whiteheads, and even scarring. While the face is often the victim, acne affects other regions with a high number of oil glands, including the upper chest and back.
Acne is purportedly the most common chronic inflammatory skin disease in the world. While it mostly occurs between the ages of 15 and 17, studies show that roughly 50 percent of adults over age 25 continue to suffer from acne, whether intermittently or chronically. That group is predominantly female, and, more relevant to this study, they are from Western countries.
Acne psychologically stunts teenagers, resulting in low self-esteem, social isolation, and depression. These psychological conditions continue into adulthood. As the researchers of this study, led by a team from Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale at the University of Paris write, acne "is reported to have the same emotional, social, and psychological consequences as chronic diseases, such as asthma, arthrosis, epilepsy, and diabetes."
Diet is not the only factor in chronic and persistent acne. Endocrine disorders and genetic predispositions play a role. Environmental and lifestyle factors, such as exposure to pollution, cosmetic products, and tobacco use also contribute. Dietary behavior is also a major factor—perhaps the major factor.
The treatments for acne range from azelaic and salicylic acid to antibiotics and retinoids. The team in Paris suggests a simpler method: eat less high-fat and high-sugar foods and beverages and consume less dairy.
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Using data from over 24,000 participants from the French NutriNet-Santé study, the researchers assessed a dozen food groups, including milk and dark chocolate, refined cereals, vegetables, meat, and sugary beverages. They then classed participants by age, body mass index (BMI), educational status, smoking status, sex, medical history, and physical activity.
The results were clear: there appears to be a link between adult acne and the consumption of fatty and sugary products, sugary beverages, and milk, all major components of the "Western diet."
While proving causation will take time, the researchers offer a few hypotheses as to why these dietary groups could be behind adult acne.
- High-glycemic diets elevate levels of Insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and insulin, which ultimately increases levels of oxidative stress and inflammation.
- Increased IGF-1 stimulates the production of androgens, producing higher levels of sebum, a yellowish, oily substance related to acne.
- Milk consumption increases IGF-1 production by the liver; drinking milk has similar effects as eating a high-glycemic meal.
As with many post-study analyses, the team noted a number of limitations, including the fact that acne levels were self-reported in the initial study (therefore open to interpretation and personal biases), and the French population was skewed toward women, healthier dietary habits, and higher educational levels, which is not reflective of the entire planet.
Still, given the high prevalence of acne in the Western world and the well-known negative effects of the Western diet, their conclusion seems to stand on solid ground.
"The consumption of fatty and sugary products, sugary beverages, and milk appears to be associated with current acne. Our results may support the hypothesis that the Western diet (rich in animal products and fatty and sugary foods) is associated with the presence of acne in adulthood."
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"One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works," writes philosophy professor Michael Patrick Lynch.
- Social media echo chambers have made us overconfident in our knowledge and abilities.
- Social psychologists have shown that publicly committing to an opinion makes you less willing to change your mind.
- To avoid a descent into epistemic arrogance and tribalism, we need to use social media with deep humility.
Egos in echo chambers<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODI5MS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMTQyNjU0N30.xnwbPsm30g2e27f24SqYr4rTleVRaWoHI21DKw9pMSs/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C393%2C0%2C364&height=700" id="9bb82" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="91dac428fbfff07936186e088bc977c8" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
An echo chamber is an infinity of mirrors.
Photo: Robert Brook via Getty Images<p>"One way the internet distorts our picture of ourselves is by feeding the human tendency to overestimate our knowledge of how the world works," <a href="https://www.chronicle.com/article/Teaching-Humility-in-an-Age-of/240266" target="_blank">writes</a> philosophy professor Michael Patrick Lynch, author of the book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Internet-Us-Knowing-More-Understanding/dp/1631492772/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+internet+of+us&qid=1578414237&sr=8-1" target="_blank"><em>The Internet of Us: Knowing More and Understanding Less in the Age of Big Data</em></a>, in <em>The Chronicle of Higher Education</em>. "The Internet of Us becomes one big reinforcement mechanism, getting us all the information we are already biased to believe, and encouraging us to regard those in other bubbles as misinformed miscreants. We know it all—the internet tells us so."</p> <p>In other words, the internet encourages epistemic arrogance—the belief that one knows much more than one does. The internet's tailored social media feeds and algorithms have herded us into echo chambers where our own views are cheered and opposing views are mocked. Sheltered from serious challenge, celebrated by our chosen mob, we gradually lose the capacity for accurate self-assessment and begin to believe ourselves vastly more knowledgeable than we actually are. </p>
The consequences of public commitment<p>But it's not just the social reinforcement mechanism of like-minded crowds that is killing intellectual humility. It's also our own digital trails—the permanent records of our previous opinions.</p> <p>"Here's another way that Twitter may harm democratic debate," New York University Stern School of Business professor Jonathan Haidt <a href="https://twitter.com/jonhaidt/status/1214008345893523457" target="_blank">tweeted</a> in January 2020, attaching a couple pages from Robert Cialdini's seminal marketing book <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Influence-Practice-Robert-B-Cialdini/dp/0205609996/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=influence+cialdini&qid=1580757318&s=books&sr=1-1" target="_blank"><em>Influence</em></a>. "Publicly committing to an answer makes people less receptive to info suggesting they were wrong." In the excerpt from <em>Influence</em>, Cialdini summarizes an experiment by social psychologists Morton Deutsch and Harold Gerard in which three groups of students were shown a set of lines. One group was asked to write down their estimates of the lines' length and turn their estimates in to the experimenter; the second group was asked to write down their estimates on a Magic Pad, then erase the pad before anyone could see; and the third group didn't write down their estimates at all. After the students were shown new evidence that suggested their original estimates were inaccurate, Cialdini writes: </p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;">The students who had never written down their first choices were least loyal to those choices. . . . [B]y far, it was the students who had publicly recorded their initial positions who most resolutely refused to shift from those positions later. Public commitment had hardened them into the most stubborn of all.</p> <p>Thanks to social media, most of us have publicly committed ourselves to our opinions. Our feeds are years of publicly published diary entries with our frozen-in-time thoughts on politics, news, relationships, religion, and more. Savvy social media users worry about how their digital trails will affect their future job prospects, but few people worry about how their digital trails might be affecting their own minds. By committing ourselves publicly to our present opinions, we may be hardening ourselves to future information that would otherwise change our minds—and thereby foreclosing upon our capacity for intellectual humility. </p>
Rewarding hot-takes and takedowns<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMjg2ODMwMi9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYxMjA3NDE0MX0.OAlSZ6lODdoQmy6t_sDjPaZgz4OIaM2kdowbtaTOV4I/img.jpg?width=980" id="fe928" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="6a3297818bfebe40c5e4d3cbb88c80db" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" />
All we need is more likes.
Use social media with humility<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="3b500b34517ad4ebc17d84476dcee8c7"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/AWUDFge4t-4?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>"Think about the last conversation you had where you thought, golly, that was such a great conversation," <a href="https://theihs.org/" target="_blank">Institute for Humane Studies</a> president Emily Chamlee-Wright said in an <a href="https://bigthink.com/sponsored-institute-for-humane-studies/master-conversation" target="_self">interview with Big Think</a>. "The chances are good that it was a kind of conversation that left you feeling smarter. It was the kind of conversation where you felt like you discovered something new, that it left you deeply curious about something else."</p> <p>Chamlee-Wright, a former economics professor and provost who has <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/whats-missing-campus-speech-debate-discursive-ethics-chamlee-wright/" target="_blank">written</a> <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12115-019-00413-1" target="_blank">extensively</a> about discursive ethics, explains why intellectual humility is the first basic design principle of a good conversation. </p> <p style="margin-left: 20px;">[T]he world is an incredibly complicated place. None of us can ever have the full lock on truth. We can only see the world from a particular vantage point. And that means that our knowledge is going to have special insight because of our vantage point, but it's also going to be limited because of our vantage point. And so that limited knowledge that we can have about the world means that we must enter into any conversation with a deep sense of humility, because I need you to help me fill in my knowledge gaps. Right? And you need me. </p> <p>Consider this: Social media presents limitless possibilities for good, learning conversations—like deep canvassing—between strangers across the globe. If each social media user approached online interactions from a position of deep intellectual humility, recognizing that every other user represents an opportunity to fill knowledge gaps and grow, our social networks could become an unprecedented engine of human progress—instead of the drag-down into tribalism they currently seem to be. </p>
Health officials in China reported that a man was infected with bubonic plague, the infectious disease that caused the Black Death.
- The case was reported in the city of Bayannur, which has issued a level-three plague prevention warning.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
- Chinese health officials are also monitoring a newly discovered type of swine flu that has the potential to develop into a pandemic virus.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
- The terms 'education' and 'learning' are often used interchangeably, but there is a cultural connotation to the former that can be limiting. Education naturally links to schooling, which is only one form of learning.
- Gregg Behr, founder and co-chair of Remake Learning, believes that this small word shift opens up the possibilities in terms of how and where learning can happen. It also becomes a more inclusive practice, welcoming in a larger, more diverse group of thinkers.
- Post-COVID, the way we think about what learning looks like will inevitably change, so it's crucial to adjust and begin building the necessary support systems today.