miércoles, 7 de noviembre de 2012

La testosterona, los indígenas tsimanes (Bolivia), futbol y la ética (complaciente) en la investigación...

After soccer, testosterone soars in Amazon men

UC SANTA BARBARA / U. WASHINGTON (US)
Men from an isolated indigenous group in Bolivia experienced a 30 percent increase in testosterone after a soccer game.

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A recent study conducted by anthropologists from UCSB and the University of Washington found that Tsimane men of Bolivia have a baseline testosterone level 33 percent lower than that of American men. Their findings appeared in last month’s issue of The Proceedings of the Royal Society B.


The Tsimanes are an indigenous people in central Bolivia who spend much of their time hunting, fishing, foraging and farming. Despite the high level of daily physical activity of these men, their testosterone levels are curiously lower than that of their less active American counterparts.

According to UCSB anthropology professor Michael Gurven, having high testosterone levels may present some adverse effects, which could explain the Tsimanes’ testosterone levels as a result of biological adaptation.

In the best of all worlds, we’d all have high testosterone all the time. But that is not the case, because it is costly to have high testosterone.” Gurven said. “[High levels of testosterone are] potentially energetically costly, but also costly because it tends to have some antagonistic effects on the immune system. It affects it in a way that under many conditions can lead to a reduced ability to fight an infection.”


The Tsimane live in an environment where infections, pathogens and parasites are common, so maintaining high testosterone all of the time could be unhealthy because of the way testosterone may compromise the immune system, Ben Trumble — a former UCSB anthropology student and current graduate student at the University of Washington — said in a recent press release.

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Nevertheless, the researchers had a threshold moment as they began the study. Could they, in good conscience, send doctors into the villages to study the population without also providing the Tsimane with basic medical care?


They decided they could not. “The depth of our science and the depth of our helping are two sides of the same coin,” Dr. Kaplan said. His field team offers basic medical exams for anyone who shows up, provides free medicine for common ailments like stomach parasites, and does on-the-spot analysis of blood, urine and fecal samples.

It would be unethical not to do this,” Jane Lancaster, editor of the journal Human Nature, said. “If you are performing research and bothering these people, the least you can do is provide medical care.”

Still, officials at one of the project’s supporters, the National Science Foundation, wondered: How can you study health conditions while simultaneously altering them? Dr. Kaplan and Dr. Gurven said they convinced the foundation and others that the kind of medical care they administer — sporadic treatment for parasites, ibuprofen for headaches, stitches for machete wounds — does not taint data on chronic, long-term disease. (Más)

Ver también:   BAYER: "Restore the Man" / Testosterona 2000-2010
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