Our big brains may make us prone to cancer – New Scientist

An interesting correlation on the side effect of bigger brains and increased risk of cancer, as human cells have a lower tendency to self-destruct (apoptosis) when no longer needed than cells from other primates. More awe and wonder at just how complex we are. Quote:

[Todd] Preuss says that lower levels of apoptosis could also help explain why humans live so much longer than other primates, something that allows us to lavish time on raising children and acquiring knowledge. “Animals with larger brains tend to live longer,” he says.

“The connection with cancer is really intriguing,” Preuss adds. There isn’t systematic data on cancer rates in non-human primates, but apes with tumours are rare. That suggests we might need to be careful about using animal models to study cancer. “Humans have modified our biology in ways people haven’t taken into account,” he says.

Our big brains may make us prone to cancer – health – 15 October 2012 – New Scientist.

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