This study explains the possible link between saturated fats and inflammatory processes which are linked to several diseases. Note that it is not so much the fat itself but the ratio of "bad fats" to good fats.
For the past century, changes in the Western diet have altered the consumption of omega-6 fatty acids (w6, found in meat and vegetable oils) compared with omega-3 fatty acids (w3, found in flax and fish oil). Many studies seem to indicate this shift has brought about an increased risk of inflammation (associated with autoimmunity and allergy), and now using a controlled diet study with human volunteers, researchers may have teased out a biological basis for these reported changes.
Anthropological evidence suggests that human ancestors maintained a 2:1 w6/w3 ratio for much of history, but in Western countries today the ratio has spiked to as high as 10:1. Since these omega fatty acids can be converted into inflammatory molecules, this dietary change is believed to also disrupt the proper balance of pro- and anti- inflammatory agents, resulting in increased systemic inflammation and a higher incidence of problems including asthma, allergies, diabetes, and arthritis.
Floyd Chilton and colleagues wanted to examine whether theses fatty acids might have other effects, and developed a dietary intervention strategy in which 27 healthy humans were fed a controlled diet mimicking the w6/w3 ratios of early humans over 5 weeks. They then looked at the gene levels of immune signals and cytokines (protein immune messengers), that impact autoimmunity and allergy in blood cells and found that many key signaling genes that promote inflammation were markedly reduced compared to a normal diet, including a signaling gene for a protein called PI3K, a critical early step in autoimmune and allergic inflammation responses.
Relating to the previous post, the balance of these fats is significantly altered in a positive direction when animals are freely pastured, eat a natural diet of grass, and treated humanely. Eat grass fed beef whenever possible and make sure to eat cold water fish twice a week. Non meat-eaters and meat eaters can also use free-range eggs, brussel sprouts, nuts, and flax seed as a natural supplement, or take three fish oil capsules a day. Note: inflammation is also related to CAD (coronary artery disease).
You'll see a book over on the righthand side that I have sworn by for the effective treatment of both Type I and Type II Diabetes for years.
(Fortunately, for him, this particular patient is already a cadaver.)
Funny guy. Not.
Returning to the painting, the anatomy book he is using is also a fascinating piece of medical history - it is likely the De Humani Corporis Fabrica. The tableau we are witnessing was a common practice--medicine, as new and as daring as it was, was "medicine-as-theatre"--O.R. rooms were actually called theatres and people bought tickets. It was considered an elite social event.
This is an excellent example of the Renaissance painting technique known as chiarscuro, a technique of painting light and shadow in order to heighten the drama of the painting and control the focus of the viewer. Notice the light on Dr. Tulp's face (a symbol of his "enlightened knowledge) and the various levels of shadow and light painted on the faces of the students. These levels are also naturalistic due to the environmental lighting, which is an accurate portrayal of how surgery was lit in the 17th century. The "spotlight" is to the left and above cadaver (probably gaslit with a metal dome or parabola behind the gas). However, Rembrandt does not let this fall to mere chance and probably used some creative license in order to tell the story. Note the flat shading of the uppermost and leftmost students who fall into the shadow of ignorance, in contrast to the light closer to Tulp. (Who after all, as commissioner, expected flattery.)
The figures in the painting create a split focus on the body and the book, demonstrating both as texts of the Renaissance quest for knowledge. Not too far in the past, the use of cadavers and surgery was a forbidden practice. The knowledge that resulted from the lifting of this taboo very much turned the body into another "book" that scientists, philosophers and artists could study.