Sunday, January 26, 2014

What animals can teach us (audio)

Amber Larson, CC Liu, Wisdom Quarterly; Maria Armoudian (The Insighters, Scholars Circle, Pacifica, Jan. 26, 2014);
Don't look at me! You're just anthropomorphizing (
I am looking at you (Tess_athey/flickr).
Do animals get depressed? Overeat? Laugh? Feel feelings?

Inspired by an eye-opening consultation at the Los Angeles Zoo, Dr. Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, M.D., a cardiologist, embarked upon a project that would reshape how she practiced medicine -- and how we all look at animals.
The consultation revealed that monkeys experience the same symptoms of heart failure as her human patients. Beginning with questions about what animals go through, Natterson-Horowitz began informally researching every affliction she encountered in humans to learn whether it happens in animals, too.

It does. Dinosaurs may have had brain cancer, koalas can catch chlamydia (the STD), reindeer seek mind expansion and/or escape by using hallucinogenic mushrooms, stallions self-mutilate, and gorillas experience clinical depression.
Paying butchers is like paying hitmen to kill.
Natterson-Horowitz and science writer Kathryn Bowers have dubbed this pan-species approach to medicine zoobiquity (like ubiquity). Here, they present a revelatory understanding of what animals can teach us about the human body and mind, exploring how animal and human commonality can be used to diagnose, treat, and heal patients of all species.

What animals can teach us about being human
You don't buy bacon, do you? Don't tell me you buy bacon.

Concerns about the recent explosions of HIV, West Nile Virus, and other avian and swine flus that originate in animals have encouraged new efforts on a global scale to bridge the gap between animal and human medicine for the benefit of both. Zoobiquity is the first book to explore many of the overlapping human and animal health issues. It provides new insight into the treatment of diseases including diabetes (from the sugar and starch we eat), cancer (from the pollution), heart ailments (from stress), and mental illnesses (from all causes).
It is even bigger than health, however. It encompasses much more than our human diseases and how to cure them. It sheds light on the evolution of hierarchies and similarities between a tribe of apes and a Fortune 500 company. 

It suggests that the ways we run our political and justice systems may overlap with how animals protect and defend their territories -- and that examining this possibility in a scientifically credible way could help strengthen our institutions.
It dangles the possibility that human parenting could be informed by a greater knowledge and respect for how our animal cousins solve issues of childcare, sibling rivalry, and infertility. More

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