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Mystery of sea nomads' amazing ability to freedive is solved

A surprise story here. Starts with what is a generally interesting article about diving - with a surprising connection which makes it on-topic. Followed by a link to the full original paper which is readily accessible.

Having just fallen over both of these, I am not at all sure what to make of them. Still reading through and trying to get my head round them!

Mystery of sea nomads' amazing ability to freedive is solved

Scientists have uncovered the secrets of the Bajau people, long-famed for their ability to hold their breath for extraordinary lengths of time

Rest of story here:

theguardian.com/science/201...

Physiological and Genetic Adaptations to Diving in Sea Nomads

Melissa A. Ilardo, Ida Moltke, Thorfinn S. Korneliussen, Jade Cheng, Aaron J. Stern, Fernando Racimo, Peter de Barros Damgaard, Martin Sikora, Andaine Seguin-Orlando, Simon Rasmussen, Inge C.L. van den Munckhof, Rob ter Horst, Leo A.B. Joosten, Mihai G. Netea, Suhartini Salingkat, Rasmus Nielsen

DOI: doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018...

Full paper here:

cell.com/cell/fulltext/S009...

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I just heard them taking about this on radio 4. T4 = big spleen they never mentioned T3.

In my case lack of both = big spleen it used to hurt like hell 😝

Thanks for posting

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In the full paper they most certainly mention T3. :-)

Just checked and am surprised how few mentions of spleen there are on this forum - just 176.

healthunlocked.com/search/s...

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That is good to hear! I think the spleen is a bit of a forgotten organ although I am sure it does very important things, especially underwater it would seem. Perhaps it is regarded as an unnecessary extra rather like the appendix because it can be removed and life goes on, no idea if the quality of life is affected by its excision. My grandma had cancer in hers she also had hypothyroidism.

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I’d seen the popular journalistic version (watered down) where large spleen size was shown to be geneticaly selected for in this remarkable diving population. The T4/T3/TSH connection was a surprise - they appear to be the tops 3 correlations from a “fishing expedition” against UK Biobank data, though this is a completely different population. The other observations about selected contraction of blood vessels and slow heart beat (brachycardia) are well known in the study if seals and in the diving response which sometimes saves children who fall into cold or icy water. They did point out that T4, T3 & TSH aren’t independent if each other. Something we all know about in this group.

For the record the most I managed was 25 meters underwater starting from a dive. My spleen is probably adapted to dry land.......

Thanks for the paper hellvella, fascinating stuff!

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Yes I am rubbish underwater 25m sounds impressive to me I could not make half that and I am a strong swimmer

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It was about 30 years ago, probably 3 metres now...

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Thank you for posting this paper helvella ~ very interesting read. 📚 x

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