Re: Aging, cancer, and why radiation might be a good thing

From: Spike Jones (
Date: Sat Apr 14 2001 - 09:24:44 MDT

Brian Atkins wrote:

> ...Also of interest is just the general fact that cancer used to
> be far less common in the 19th and earlier centuries. Some people claim
> this is due to people living longer in 20th century and other factors like
> widespread smoking, but could it also be due to the fact that we are living
> such stress-free (in terms of physical environment, not mental stress...)

Wait a minute Brian. Your comment suggests that moderns have
a less stressful physical environment but perhaps a more stressful
mental environment. (I think thats what you were going for.) Perhaps
we vastly underestimate the mental stressfulness of bygone eras,
when many or perhaps most people were farmers. If you get to know
farmers, you soon recognize that their environment is as stressful
if not more so than their urban counterparts, for they face constant
risk of financial ruin from bad weather, political events over which
they have no control, market forces, etc. They bet the farm every
year on their crops. This on top of pretty much constant physical
danger for every family member. We city types have it made, in
the stress category.

So your original point may stand without the parenthetic qualifier,
and is one Ive suspected for a long time. A few germs are good
for the immune system, a little radiation may be good for the
body and a little stress may be good for the mind. spike

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