Scholars at the Virginia Historical Society in Richmond are looking through eight million documents dating back to the 17th century, seeking the names of slaves, so they can help black people in the US discover their roots.
They are finding these names in inventories, wills, correspondence, family Bibles and memoirs. In the September 9th edition of the New York Times, Eve M. Kahn quotes researcher Paul A. Levengood as saying that each they looked at was scanned in such high resolution that they could zoom in "down to the pores of the paper." His team hopes that their database will provide "links that families have been looking for, literally, for generations."
One reason to learn about your ancestors is because certain diseases may be in your genes. Over the past decade, much progress has been made regarding the understanding and promise of personalized medicine. Scientists are just beginning to consider the impact of gene-diet interactions in different populations in regards to disease prevention and treatment.
To some extent it's racial: The dramatic increase in a particular type of fatty acid found in the American diet, together with a genetic propensity, causes African-Americans to succumb to a variety of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, arthritis, allergies and asthma, and diabetes.
Physiologist Floyd H. Chilton says, "I believe observations such as this begin to address the critical question of why western diets seem to differentially impact African Americans with cardiovascular disease and diabetes at a higher rate than their Caucasian counterparts. It is critical to study groups such as African Americans because they bear a large proportion of the public health burden of many of the chronic complex diseases of inflammation."
One example of genetic sensitivity to what we eat may be food coloring--is it toxic or not (or only toxic to genetically vulnerable people)? When psychologist Andrea Chronis-Tuscano testified before a US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hearing, it changed her mind about possible risks of artificial food coloring for children, and drove her to look more closely at the products in her own pantry that she feeds her kids. When she walked into the meeting, she was certain that there was no convincing scientific evidence to support the idea that food coloring additives cause Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. And while the testimony from other experts did not change her mind, it did raise concerns for her about the lack of research on the overall safety of food dyes for children.
She says, "The testimony I heard presents significant questions for me--issues that have not been adequately studied by scientists. Beginning in the womb, developing brains are particularly sensitive to toxins. It's important to get better information about how much of these substances American children consume, and whether these levels are dangerous."
No matter what races make up our ancestry (and most Americans are pretty mixed), we need to eat RIGHT and that's where we can help: EVERYBODY can benefit from following the guidelines in Anne Strieber's famous diet book "What I Learned from the Fat Years." It's BETTER than the diet books you find in bookstores and CHEAPER too, because it's a download!
And no matter what the color of your skin is, we hope to see you at our annual Dreamland Festival in May, where everyone is welcome (even if you're a hybrid--and subscribers not only get 10% off Festival tickets, they have a coupon that gets you a copy of Hybrids for less than $2!)