Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Diet, physical activity and breast cancer risk: An integrative science cross-populational approach
by Turner, Laurah B., Ph.D., Indiana University, 2012, 212; 3607764
Abstract (Summary)

The human genome evolved in past environments different from those experienced by humans in modern industrialized populations. Moreover, changes in culture arise at a rate faster than biological natural selection, resulting in a mismatch between modern human genotypes and lifestyles. This mismatch between biology (genetically evolved under ancestral conditions) and modern lifestyle factors (i.e., high fat diet and sedentary behaviors) may foster the development and propagation of degenerative diseases, such as breast cancers.

This project will utilize a large population of female breast cancer cases and controls from the Women's Health Initiative Observational Cohort to evaluate possible associations between lifestyle variables (activity and nutritional profiles), estradiol levels and breast cancer risk by employing a case-control design. Direct and indirect relationships will be explored through logistic analysis modeling and conditional analyses.

This research aims to generate falsifiable predictions about the roles estrogen, energy expenditure and consumption patterns have on breast cancer risk. It builds primarily upon the discordance hypothesis with particular aim to not simply better characterize the differences between ancestral and modern environments, but to inform future conditions of cancer risk by applying evolutionary theory and the illustration of human adaptability to conceptualize relationships between behavioral and physiological plasticity.

This study has the potential to transform medical and societal knowledge of breast cancers. It will foster communication between scientific research, disease risk management and social education.

This project will utilize both post-menopausal and pre-menopausal women, representing a significantly understudied population in breast cancer research. Integration of epidemiological, dietary and behavioral factors with evolutionary principles may contribute to consistent, effective healthcare recommendations for women at risk for developing breast cancers, functioning to ground evolutionary medicine research and practice within the purview of physical anthropology.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Muehlenbein, Michael P.
Commitee: Demas, Greg, Hunt, Kevin, Moran, Emilio
School: Indiana University
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Indiana
Source: DAI-B 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Forensic anthropology, Behavioral psychology, Endocrinology, Evolution and Development, Oncology
Keywords: Breast cancer, Dietary fat, Evolutionary discordance, Physical activity, Reproduction
Publication Number: 3607764
ISBN: 9781303654824
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