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Understanding Evolutionary Mismatches

Part One: Solving Toxicity in the Digital Age
by Dr. Steven Cangiano

Understanding Evolutionary Mismatches

One-quintillion – I heard this number mentioned in reference to the exponentially increasing number of cell phone towers around the world.  I had to look this number up when I first heard it. A quintillion is one followed by 18 zeros. The lecturer was discussing the amount of microwave radiation emitted by these towers daily. Our exposure can be as high one-quintillion times greater than the background radiation our bodies evolved in. The lingering controversy as to whether this is harmful or not has been satisfied: Independent groups of scientists worldwide have documented the mechanism, severity and cumulative nature of this toxic exposure – it is harmful. This level of microwave radiation is an obvious digital-age toxicity. This is an evolutionary mismatch: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times the radiation is astronomical. There is a multitude of less well-known, more subtle mismatches in our modern lives that are dramatically impacting your health. Let’s explore some of the more common ones and identify some solutions. First, it is important to identify an alarming trend.

An Alarming Trend – Life Expectancy Should be Skyrocketing!

This is by far the greatest time in history to be alive. Steven Pinker in his book, Enlightenment Now, articulates this fact in exquisite detail. Every great transition in history has brought great advances and unforeseen challenges. Toxicity in the digital age is our current challenge and an alarming trend. For the first time in a century, life expectancy in America is declining. Not since World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, that killed 675,000 people, have we seen a decrease in life expectancy. In the last three years, life expectancy has either stagnated or declined. With the great advances in medicine, sanitation, public safety, and food availability, it is a sobering fact that life expectancy is decreasing. It should be the exact opposite. Life expectancy should be skyrocketing.

Obesity – a Relatively New Evolutionary Mismatch

Toxicity in the digital age is often a counterintuitive problem. Food abundance is a clear example. On the surface, food availability seems like a great thing. As we dig deeper, we find that for the first time in human history, far more people will die of obesity than famine – an estimated 3 to 4 million. Lifestyle-related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cognitive decline, and autoimmune diseases have reached epidemic levels. Constant food abundance is an “evolutionary mismatch,” and it is killing us. Never in human history has belly fat been a health challenge – until now.

Your body was not designed to handle a never-ending supply of excess sugar, saturated fat, and protein-laden foods. Just the opposite; it evolved to effectively deal with significant and cyclical short-term food abundance and long-term food shortages.

Evolution learned to use these cycles to revitalize, rejuvenate, regenerate, and detoxify on a cellular and organ level. Your body built a natural, sophisticated, organized multi-system response to deal with low-calorie threats and come out the other end energized and revitalized.

Most people living in today’s advanced countries have never dealt with a food shortage; therefore, they have never activated these revitalizing mechanisms. Science is recognizing these mismatches and their implications. There are an exponentially expanding set of digital-age toxicities that are having devastating health effects. The most urgent one is identified in “A Looming Health Crisis.”

Toxic Electrical Energies – A Looming Health Crisis

In “A Looming Health Crisis,” we identified a digital-age toxicity that is relatively new. As mentioned, a one-quintillion-fold increase in electromagnetic frequencies from our evolutionary baseline is the most extreme example of an evolutionary mismatch. This has the potential to be the most ominous, ubiquitous and pervasive health threat in history. This is not an overstatement and is based on where the science is leading us. Devra Davis, PhD., MPH – 2004–10 Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, articulates it this way:

“When it comes to downplaying the risks of wireless radiation, the telecom industry makes the tobacco industry look like rank amateurs.”

Experts have long suspected that low energy electromagnetic fields have a negative impact on the body. Until recently, the mechanism of action was not understood. In 2013, Dr. Martin Pall’s award-winning paper transformed our understanding of how and why low energy electromagnetic fields and toxic electrical energies are especially dangerous. They work on a sensitive electric switch in the cell membrane called a voltage gated calcium channel (VGCC). These VGCCs are in most cells of the body and concentrated in the brain, heart, and nervous system. When a VGCC is activated, it has an immediate, amplified, cumulative and unfiltered impact on the cell. The body can filter and lessen many of the common toxins like excess food, cigarette smoke, heavy metals or alcohol. This, however, is a direct cellular toxin. Toxic electrical energies must be avoided, or their effects must be counteracted on a regular basis. Since it is impractical for most of us to completely disconnect from technology, it is critical that everyone do a digital detox.

Here are just a few of the documented effects of the exponentially expanding number of toxic EMFs:

  1. Reproductive effectsSperm counts are down by more than 50% in technologically advanced countries worldwide. Singapore had a 31% drop in its birth rate from 2016 to 2017. This has never happened in modern history outside of war, financial collapse or famine. Sperm counts are sensitive to many environmental factors, including smoking, alcohol, toxins, etc. There are multiple animal studies that have shown irreversible effects on fertility with digital-age toxins.
  2. Neurologic and psychiatric effects: There are 25 peer-reviewed studies detailing the effects of digital toxins on the central nervous system. These include insomnia, fatigue, depression, headache, lack of concentration, anxiety, stress, and memory loss.
  3. DNA damage: Digital toxins cause three types of cellular DNA damage. These changes to your DNA cause cancer and germline (reproductive cell) mutations. Twenty-one studies document these effects. Thirteen studies have shown that toxic energies lead to premature cell death, also known as apoptosis. This phenomenon has deleterious effects on both the reproductive and nervous system. A German study showed that 24 hours of cell phone use had the same impact on your DNA as 1,600 chest x-rays.
  4. Cardiac effects: The heart is a complex electrical system. Digital-age toxins cause arrhythmias. Initial exposure can cause a rapid heartbeat (tachycardia), while long-term exposure will slow the heart down (bradycardia).
  5. Dementias: Digital toxins cause leaks in your blood-brain barrier. Alzheimer’s, as well as other dementias, including early-onset dementia, have been linked to digital toxins.
  6. There are indications of a sixth serious and irreversible effect of digital-age toxins; autismResearch at Yale University has shown that late prenatal and early postnatal exposure of digital toxins on laboratory animals causes syndromes analogous to ADHD and autism in humans. ADHD has increased a staggering 3% per year since 1997. The causes of this should be rigorously studied. The implications are worrisome.

A Multitude of Evolutionary Mismatches

We have identified two of the most important digital-age toxicities. We are experiencing a multitude of them in modern society – I will cite a few here. This is, in my opinion, is the most important field of study for those interested in healthy longevity. The following are a small sample of some common evolutionary mismatches:

  1. Sleep deprivation – Matthew Walker, Ph.D., in his book Why We Sleep identifies a litany of environmental mismatches that create “short sleep” and he discusses the devastating impact these mismatches have on health and safety.
  2. Circadian Clock – Satchidananda Panda, Ph.D., of the Salk Institute, identifies how time-restricted eating and our sleep/wake cycle affects health. Our bodies are programmed to turn on a staggering 15% of our genome with morning’s first light (nervous system) and your first bite of food (metabolic system). He has identified several evolutionary mismatches in our modern society. Shift work is just one example. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) considers shift work a “probable” carcinogen. This affects 20% of our population directly and indirectly.
  3. Isolation – Loneliness is now considered an epidemic by many experts. We evolved in tribes where everyone knew everyone else. Cooperation was necessary to survive and raise children. As you can imagine, isolation from the group was a death sentence which created severe emotional distress. Loneliness is a greater predictor of morbidity and mortality than obesity.
  4. Stress – We evolved in the glacially slow process of evolution. We were not designed for rapid change. This is the exact opposite of our current environment. This is the greatest moment of change in human history. Automation, digitization, robotics and artificial intelligence are disrupting entire industries and individual lives overnight.

The toxicities listed above – and many more – are a looming health crisis, decreasing life expectancy. The world needs a “Humanity Upgrade.” We need to understand how modern society is affecting us to develop solutions founded on reliable information.


This is Part One of a two-part series. Find Part Two here.

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