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Ancient DNA Reveals Fascinating Insights into the Origins of Multiple Sclerosis

Carrie Graves, AP

Recent groundbreaking research has shed light on this enigma, particularly regarding Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a neurological condition affecting millions globally. The surprising link? Our very own ancient DNA.

An illistration of the livestock and herding connection of humanities past effecting modern diseases like Multiple sclerosis


Decoding the Past: How Ancient Europeans Shape Modern Health

Researchers embarked on a remarkable journey into the past, analyzing DNA from Europeans who lived as far back as 34,000 years ago. The findings were nothing short of groundbreaking, revealing a direct link between genetic variants from our ancestors and the increased risk of MS in the present day.

The Protective Past: Ancient Genetics and Disease Resistance

Interestingly, these genetic variants, now associated with MS, were once defense mechanisms against animal-borne diseases. This insight offers a fascinating perspective on the intricate dance between genetics and health.

The Yamnaya Migration: A Turning Point in Genetic History

About 5,000 years ago, during the Bronze Age, a significant migration shaped our genetic landscape. The Yamnaya, livestock herders from regions like modern Ukraine and southern Russia, moved into Western Europe, bringing with them traits that guarded against infections from their animals.

From Protection to Vulnerability: The Evolution of Genetic Traits

As time progressed and sanitation improved, these protective genetic traits began to backfire, increasing MS risks. This phenomenon particularly affected Northern Europeans, explaining why they have the highest MS prevalence globally.

Adapting to Modernity: The Genetic Legacy of Our Ancestors

Our genetic makeup is a tapestry woven by evolution and past environments. In today’s vastly different world, our immune systems, shaped by these ancient conditions, might not be ideally adapted, potentially leading to conditions like MS.

Rethinking MS Research and Treatment: A New Direction

These findings are pivotal for MS research and treatment strategies. The focus might shift from merely suppressing the immune system to adapting it to our contemporary environment, opening new avenues for managing MS.

Beyond MS: A Glimpse into Other Genetic Influences

The study also revealed other genetic traits influenced by the Yamnaya migration, such as height differences in Europeans, risks for Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes in Eastern Europeans, and the emergence of lactose tolerance.

The Takeaway: Our Genetic Blueprint and Health

The study of ancient DNA not only provides insights into diseases like MS but also reminds us of the deep connection between our genetic history and health in a changing world.


TL;DR: Key Insights from the Study

Ancient DNA from European ancestors reveals insights into MS origins.

Genetic variants linked to MS were once protective against animal-borne diseases.

The research involved sequencing ancient DNA from 1,664 individuals and comparing it with modern DNA.

The Bronze Age migration of the Yamnaya people introduced these genetic traits to Western Europe.

Northern Europeans have the highest MS prevalence due to these genetic variants.

The study underscores the dynamic nature of genetic traits in relation to environmental changes.

MS research might benefit from focusing on immune system recalibration.

The study also sheds light on genetic traits related to height, Alzheimer’s, type 2 diabetes, and lactose tolerance in Europeans.



Allentoft, M.E., et al. Population genomics of post-glacial western Eurasia. Nature 625, 301–311 (2024).

Allentoft, M.E., et al. 100 ancient genomes show repeated population turnovers in Neolithic Denmark. Nature 625, 329–337 (2024).

Barrie, W., et al. Elevated genetic risk for multiple sclerosis emerged in steppe pastoralist populations. Nature 625, 321–328 (2024).

Irving-Pease, E.K., et al. The selection landscape and genetic legacy of ancient Eurasians. Nature 625, 312–320 (2024).

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Unlocking the Power of Group Running

run club

When I first began my running journey, I primarily embraced the solitude of a solo run. However, over time, I realized that there’s something truly special about running with a group. While the idea of group running is not new, I’d like to delve into its advantages, focusing on a fresh perspective that includes the benefits of engaging in conversation while running and the positive impact it can have on your breathwork. As a practitioner of traditional Chinese medicine and a believer in the importance of community, let’s explore the many facets of group running that can enhance your health and overall well-being.

1. Energizing Conversations

Group running offers a unique opportunity for engaging conversations. As you run alongside your fellow enthusiasts, you can discuss a wide range of topics, from health and fitness to personal stories and shared experiences. These conversations can be both uplifting and enlightening, providing a refreshing change of pace from solitary runs. Engaging in discussions while running can also improve your breath control, as it encourages you to maintain a steady, rhythmic breathing pattern, enhancing your overall performance.

2. Breathwork and Running

Running while engaged in conversation can naturally guide you toward more conscious breathwork. This is especially beneficial for those looking to improve their lung capacity, endurance, and overall running efficiency. By synchronizing your breath with the rhythm of your conversation, you can develop better control over your breathing and optimize your oxygen intake. This mindful approach to breathwork not only boosts your running capabilities but also promotes a sense of relaxation and focus during your runs. 80% of your runs should be held at a pace where you can speak to the person running next to you!

3. Motivation and Encouragement

Running in a group fosters a motivating and encouraging environment. Your fellow runners can provide the support and inspiration you need to push yourself further and achieve your fitness goals. Whether you’re aiming to increase your pace, conquer longer distances, or simply maintain consistency in your running routine, the camaraderie of a group can be a driving force behind your progress. This sense of shared commitment keeps you accountable and motivated. The people you spend the most time with shape who you are – choose wisely!


4. Building Meaningful Connections

Participating in group runs allows you to connect with like-minded individuals who share your passion for health and wellness. Over time, these connections can evolve into genuine friendships, and the bonds formed during challenging runs are often stronger and more meaningful. The sense of belonging within a running group can enhance your overall well-being by providing a supportive community to lean on both on and off the track.

5. Enhanced Safety

Safety is a top priority during any run, especially in unfamiliar areas or when running at night. Group running provides an added layer of security. If you’re exploring new routes or facing unforeseen challenges, your running companions can offer assistance and guidance. Knowing that you have a support system in place can help ease any concerns about running alone, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable experience.

Group running offers a dynamic and multifaceted approach to enhancing your running journey. It’s not just about running together; it’s about harnessing the power of meaningful conversations, conscious breathwork, motivation, and building lasting connections within a supportive community. As you lace up your running shoes and join a group, you’ll discover that the benefits extend far beyond physical fitness, enriching your life with health, happiness, and a sense of belonging. So, why not give it a try and experience the transformative potential of group running for yourself?

If you’re interested in experiencing the benefits of group running firsthand, I invite you to join me at Rosie’s Tavern in Dunedin every Thursday at 7 pm with the Running for Brews crew. Whether you’re a seasoned runner or just starting your journey, all paces and levels are welcome. Let’s lace up our running shoes, hit the pavement together, and embark on a journey of health, happiness, and camaraderie. See you there!

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Benefits of Adding Acupuncture to Your Wellness Routine

Benefits of Adding Acupuncture to Your Wellness Routine

This is the time of year when many are looking to start (or restart) their wellness routines. Self-care Saturdays may have fallen by the wayside during the holiday season and now is the time to get back on track. As you examine your health goals and wellness priorities this year, have you considered adding acupuncture to your wellness routine? If not, here’s why you should and some things to consider to set yourself up for success.

Acupuncture provides numerous health benefits from a holistic approach to wellness. It’s a non-pharmacological approach to health and wellness and addresses a variety of health concerns you might be struggling with.  continue reading »

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Healing Trauma with Acupuncture

Healing Trauma with Acupuncture

Trauma can be emotional or physical and carries a weight with it for those who suffer from a traumatic event and the longer post-traumatic stress that can come from it. Fortunately, we live in a time where help is available. Since acupuncture subscribes to the whole mind/body/spirit healing approach to balancing energy and achieving complete wellness, it makes sense that acupuncture could be a helpful tool to treating various forms of trauma and its impact on both the mind and body. continue reading »

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Acupuncture for Treating Leaky Gut Syndrome

Acupuncture for Treating Leaky Gut Syndrome

There are a variety of gastrointestinal and autoimmune diseases that can contribute to what is known as leaky gut syndrome. So, what exactly is leaky gut syndrome? It’s close to exactly what it sounds like. Each one of us has semi-permeable guts. What that means is the mucous lining of our intestines is designed to absorb water and nutrients from our food. Your intestinal lining is responsible for acting as a barrier to bacteria. With leaky gut syndrome, your intestinal lining “leaks” allowing more water and nutrients through, but also potentially allowing toxic molecules to come through as well.  continue reading »

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The 12 Meridians of the Body Explained

The 12 Meridians of the Body Explained

The meridian system is a phrase that comes up often during acupuncture treatment. Traditional Chinese medicine believes that energy (also referred to as qi) flows throughout the body much like blood does. When this flow of energy becomes disrupted, symptoms and disease can occur. Acupuncture and other forms of Eastern medicine work to restore the flow of energy throughout the body using the meridian system.  continue reading »

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LED Light Therapy & Acupuncture: A Perfect Pairing

LED Light Therapy & Acupuncture: A Perfect Pairing

Acupuncture is a proven treatment option when it comes to dealing with a host of health problems, from allergies to depression to chronic pain. Acupuncture is the key to restoring the body’s energy flow and achieving balance. Acupuncturists also may use herbal remedies, acupressure massage, and other modalities like LED light therapy to enhance their treatment and get improved outcomes for their patients.  continue reading »

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Winning Combination: Cupping & Acupuncture

Winning Combination: Cupping & Acupuncture

While you might be familiar with acupuncture or Traditional Chinese Medicine, cupping might be a new concept. It’s become more popular in recent years as celebrities and professional athletes have touted its benefits and proudly showcased the sometimes giant red welts on their bodies. But what is cupping and how does it work with a traditional acupuncture treatment?  continue reading »

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What is Electroacupuncture?

What is Electroacupuncture?

While you might be familiar with what acupuncture is, have you ever heard of electroacupuncture? Just like traditional acupuncture, electroacupuncture uses needles on various acupuncture points. The difference comes in that with electroacupuncture, a small electrode is attached to the needles which allows a small amount of electricity to pass through, giving a slight vibration or low hum during treatment. 

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Three Reasons to Add Deep Breathing to Your Daily Routine

Three Reasons to Add Deep Breathing to Your Daily Routine

You might think breathing is second nature, right? You’re doing it right now as you are reading this. But did you know that there are different kinds of breathing and that what is called deep breathing can have important health benefits? Read on to learn just three of the most important reasons you should add deep breathing to your daily routine. continue reading »

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