AHS 2014 – Looking Forward to the Past


This past week I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the Ancestral Health Symposium at UC Berkeley. This was the fourth incarnation of this annual event, one designed to foster collaboration amongst scientists, healthcare providers, and laypersons across disciplines. It’s a great event.

It’s also the fittest, leanest, and most vibrant looking crowd I’ve ever seen at a medical conference. By a long shot. A group photo of all the speakers may be the best proof of concept of all.

One of the more encouraging aspects of the conference were the number of physicians in attendance. Slowly but surely, it seems these ideas are starting to make their way into the conventional healthcare community. I have high hopes that this trend will continue, as more and more docs come to the realization that:

  • Medications won’t save us. They are and always will be a crude instrument for improving health, and run the risk of perpetuating the very diseases they’re designed to treat (by promoting what Dan Lieberman refers to as “dysevolution”).
  • In order to prevent diseases of diet and lifestyle, you must first correctly identify the actual diet and lifestyle factors that lead to those diseases.
  • In a society where the vast majority of illness is the result of preventible diseases of diet and lifestyle, it’s imperative we understand those factors.
  • Getting to that type of understanding requires that we know what the proper diet and lifestyle for a human being looks like, and that an evolutionary perspective is the ultimate clarifying tool for reaching that understanding.

My talk at the symposium was on the connection between migraines and the hypothalamus – a connection I think fundamental to the origins of migraine (and a topic I’ve written and will continue to write about here). It’s a connection that has transformed my ability to help patients with migraine, and one that I never would have reached without taking an ancestral view of health. Here it is for your viewing pleasure: