Friday, April 12, 2013

The Roseto effect - know your neighbors

We're healthy people.  We concern ourselves with exercise, diet,... things we do to mimic our ancestor, take advantage of our adaptations.  But you can eat right and exercise, and run like the persistence hunters we evolved to be and STILL miss the boat.  

Healthy social aspects are needed for humans' longevity.  We are MORE community-oriented than you'd think.  In a time where noone knows their neighbors and people are sicker than ever (or require more medical intervention than ever).

The town of Roseta, PA had remarkably less non-infectious diseases and long life spans than any other neighboring towns with same diet and other factors.  Roseta had a social structure that mimicked ancestral cohesion and when that was gone, their mortality rates matched their PA peers.

From the piece:

This remarkable pattern suggests systematic differences between the two neighboring communities over the course of at least 30 years-years for which there are many indicators of greater social solidarity and homogeneity in Roseto and no evidence of differences in coronary risk factors.15 The social changes that occurred in Roseto in the 1960s are reflected in sharply increased rates of heart attack among men under the age of 65.

Executive Summary:  

The Roseto effect: a 50-year comparison of mortality rates.

OBJECTIVES. Earlier studies found striking differences in mortality from myocardial infarction between Roseto, a homogeneous Italian-American community in Pennsylvania, and other nearby towns between 1955 and 1965. These differences disappeared as Roseto became more "Americanized" in the 1960s. The present study extended the comparison over a longer period of time to test the hypothesis that the findings from this period were not due to random fluctuations in small communities. 

METHODS. We examined death certificates for Roseto and Bangor from 1935 to 1985. Age-standardized death rates and mortality ratios were computed for each decade. 

RESULTS. Rosetans had a lower mortality rate from myocardial infarction over the course of the first 30 years, but it rose to the level of Bangor's following a period of erosion of traditionally cohesive family and community relationships. This mortality-rate increase involved mainly younger Rosetan men and elderly women. 

CONCLUSIONS. The data confirmed the existence of consistent mortality differences between Roseto and Bangor during a time when there were many indicators of greater social solidarity and homogeneity in Roseto.