A study on chimpanzees, the closest species to humans genetically, found cardiovascular health similarities between chimpanzees and humans.
When chimpanzees have a plant-based diet and substantial opportunities to exercise, they fall into “healthy” human ranges.
Lab chimpanzees, whose diet and exercise were limited, showed conditions indicative of cardiovascular disease risk, more like sedentary people, reports Xinhua.
The findings have been published in a special issue of Philosophical Transactions B on “The evolution of the primate aging process”.
Researchers from the University of Michigan (UM) and University of New Mexico partnered with wildlife veterinarians in Uganda and Congo to examine cardiovascular profiles in chimpanzees living in African sanctuaries, according to the findings posted on UM’s website on Monday.
These chimpanzees occupy large rainforest enclosures, consume a diet of fruits and vegetables, and generally experience conditions more similar to a wild chimpanzee lifestyle.
They measured blood lipids, body weight and body fat in 75 sanctuary chimpanzees during annual veterinary health check-ups, and then compared them to published data from laboratory-living chimpanzees.
Free-ranging chimpanzees in sanctuaries exhibited lower body weight and lower levels of lipids, both risk factors for human cardiovascular disease. Some of these disparities increased with age, indicating that the free-ranging chimpanzees stayed healthy as they got older.
“Our findings support the hypothesis that lifestyle shapes health in chimpanzees, similar to effects in humans, and contribute to an emerging understanding of cardiovascular health in evolutionary context,” said Alexandra Rosati, UM assistant professor of psychology and anthropology.
The work also showed that chimpanzees living a naturalistic life have much lower levels of blood lipids even as they age, providing a new reference for understanding human health.
“These results show how the high-quality, natural conditions that chimpanzees experience in African sanctuaries fosters their long-term health,”.
Source: United News of Bangladesh