Plant Chemicals

Oestrogen Dependent Cancer

Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Do we have an evolutionary predisposition to oestrogen dependent cancer and ASD?
These draft summaries provide an evolutionary context that could revolutionise our understanding of these and other hormonally related traits and conditions.

Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning and neuro-cognitive performance


Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning and neuro-cognitive performance

Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning and neuro-cognitive performance
Jeremy P. E. Spencer
Emerging evidence suggests that dietary-derived flavonoids have the potential to improve human memory and neuro-cognitive performance via their ability to protect vulnerable neurons, enhance existing neuronal function and stimulate neuronal regeneration. Food for thought: the role of dietary flavonoids in enhancing human memory, learning and neuro-cognitive performance
Flavonoids: modulators of brain function? Jeremy P. E. Spencer Emerging evidence suggests that dietary phytochemicals, in particular flavonoids, may exert beneficial effects on the central nervous system by protecting neurons against stress-induced injury, by suppressing neuroinflammation and by improving cognitive function. Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Breast Cancer Risk among Women on Long Island

Dietary Flavonoid Intake and Breast Cancer Risk among Women on Long Island.
Brian N. Fink et al

Flavonoids are found in a variety of foods and have anticarcinogenic properties in experimental models. Few epidemiologic studies have examined whether flavonoid intake is associated with breast cancer in humans. In this study, the authors investigated whether dietary flavonoid intake was associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in a population-based sample of US women.

Overview of Dietary Flavonoids: Nomenclature, Occurrence and Intake. Gary R. Beecher

ABSTRACT Flavonoids and their polymers constitute a large class of food constituents, many of which alter metabolic processes and have a positive impact on health. Overview of Dietary Flavonoids Nomenclature, Occurrence and Intake
Flavonoids: some of the wisdom of sage? G.A.R. Johnston & P.M. Beart Extracts from plants are used in herbal medicine as sedatives and tranquilizers. It is very likely that the active ingredients in some of these extracts are flavonoids possessing remarkable activity for g-aminobutyric acid A (GABAA) receptors. Flavonoids some of the wisdom of sage
Blueberries 'reverse memory loss' BBC NEWS Eating blueberries can reverse memory loss and may have implications in the treatment of diseases like Alzheimer's, University of Reading scientists claim. Blueberries 'reverse memory loss'
The Effects of Plant Flavonoids on Mammalian Cells:Implications for Inflammation, Heart Disease,and Cancer. Elliott Middleton, Jr.,Chithan Kandaswami, and Theoharis C. Theoharides

Flavonoids were abundant in our evolutionary diet for millions of years, their hormonal and neuroactive properties were an integral part of our biochemistry significantly modifying the activity of our hormones and neural function.

The Effects of Plant Flavonoids on Mammalian Cells
Soy formula can reduce testosterone levels This article demonstrates the principle of plant hormones to significantly alter key growth and development windows. While Soya is not likely to have been an influence in the evolution of our brain, hormones similar to those found in Soya were abundant in our forest diet for millions of years. While I do not condone the feeding Soya to infant primates the kinds of hormonal effects it produces may have been normal for most of our evolutionary past. Soy formula can reduce testosterone levels
Fruit for health: the effect of flavonoids on humoral immune response and food selection in a frugivorous bird

An intriguing study highlighting the instinctive preference for flavonoid rich fruit in birds.

Flavonoids birds
Compounds from soy affect brain and reproductive development
Further demonstration of the permanent effects induced by the presence plant hormones during foetal development, as discussed elsewhere Soya flavonoids are unusually powerful as are their effects. Scientific American Mind The Orgasmic Mind

Induction of Cancer Cell Apoptosis by Flavonoids Is Associated withTheir Ability to Inhibit Fatty Acid Synthase Activity
Koen Brusselmans, Ruth Vrolix, Guido Verhoeven, and Johannes V. Swinnen

Increasing interest in the role flavonoids may play in the prevention and treatment of cancer, links to more recent papers via this site Scientific American Mind The Orgasmic Mind

Instant insight: Nature's fruitful chemistry

Bernhard Kräutler and Thomas Müller

Interesting research demonstrating the kinds of biochemical changes that occur when the seed is ready for dissemination and the nutritional quality of the fruit increases.

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Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again


Scientists are taking a new look at hallucinogens, which became taboo among regulators after enthusiasts like Timothy Leary promoted them in the 1960s with the slogan “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Now, using rigorous protocols and safeguards, scientists have won permission to study once again the drugs’ potential for treating mental problems and illuminating the nature of consciousness.

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The Effect of Fluoride on the Physiology of the Pineal Gland

By Jennifer Anne Luke, 1997

Also a short video here

The near total loss of the complex bio-chemical formula that enhanced pineal activity in turn fuelling neural expansion is being compounded by the consumption of chemicals that severely inhibit pineal function. Fluoride is perhaps one of the most dangerous chemical re inhibiting the pineal and we add it to drinking water. See the research of Dr. Jennifer Luke from the University of Surrey in England here.

Recent Harvard study looking at the damage fluoride causes in the developing brain.

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Micronutient intakes of wild primates: are humans different?

Dr Katharine Milton

Dr Katharine Milton has studied the eating habits of our closest living relatives and published papers on the nutritional composition of a typical primate diet.

This paper highlights the severity of our biochemical impoverishment. The astoundingly complex cocktail of biochemical nutrients were once the essential evolutionary construction materials for our brain!

Archaic versus modern diets

Nutritional Characteristics of Wild Primate Foods: Do the Diets of Our Closest Living Relatives Have Lessons for Us?

Katharine Milton, PHD

Dr Katharine Milton has studied the eating habits of our closest living relatives and published papers on the nutritional composition of a typical primate diet.



Visit her publications page for more relavent papers.

Archaic versus modern diets
Archaic versus modern diets A somewhat technical summary looking at the problems caused by the relatively sudden switch in the human diet. No comment on how this might affect the developing brain but at least it's suggesting that such major and rapid changes can have serious implications. Archaic versus modern diets
The Best Medicine

An article by science writer and biologist Colin Tudge highlighting the biochemically impoverished lives we now lead compared to our ancestors, the key section is highlighted in bold type.

Evolution of cerebral dominance
Study Of Raw Vegetarian Diet A rare study of humans eating a raw diet, it highlights the inability of research based on a 'normal' cooked diet to predict the biochemical effects of a raw diet. Study Of Raw Vegetarian Diet
Construction Materials This early draft chapter was omitted from ‘Left in the Dark’ as the depth of preconception around 'food' and 'nutrition' etc risked the book being too easily categorised/dismissed as just another diet book. Construction Materials
Dental Microwear and Diet of the Plio-Pleistocene Hominin Paranthropus boisei. The use of dentition to predict diet in fossil hominids has thrown up several contradictory theories, this paper highlights some of the current thinking.
As ever several possible interpretations. One might be... if thick enamel/large jaws/teeth etc are in many cases adaptive for seasonal or occasional fallback/survival situations and whenever possible softer nutrient high fruit is preferred then what can be inferred from species with relatively thin enamel and a fine jaw and small teeth? Possibly that for evolutionary time scales there was very little if any requirement to eat fall back foods?
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Age at puberty linked to mother's prenatal diet
Further demonstration of the permanent effects of diet during foetal development.


Flavonoids birds

Theories of Human Evolutionary Trends in Meat Eating and Studies of Primate Intestinal Tracts

Patrick Pasquet
Claude-Marcel Hladik

Theories of hominid evolution have postulated that switching to meat eating permitted an increase in brain size and hence the emergence of modern man. However, comparative studies of primate intestinal tracts do not support this
hypothesis and it is likely that, while meat assumed a more important role in hominid diet, it was not responsible for any major evolutionary shift.

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Raw food and consciousness

Holly Paige

Holly Paige explores new theories about the link between nutrition and brain chemistry, and shares tips for reaching our highest potential.

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Delusion Anosognosia

Hollow mask illusion fails to fool schizophrenia patients.

Anosognosia, a psychological condition that is an integral part of the 'normal' functioning in the left side of our brain. The orthodox view is that Anosognosia is adaptive, could it be a symptom of degeneration? A brief introduction to 'Anosognosia'

A brief introduction to 'Anosognosia'
Highly recommended!

Anosognosia, a psychological condition that is an integral part of the 'normal' functioning in the left side of our brain. The orthodox view is that Anosognosia is adaptive, could it be a symptom of degeneration? A brief introduction to 'Anosognosia'
On the perception of incongruity Bruner and Postman 1949.


A simple experiment in perception that further highlights the inability of the left side of the brain to perceive reality and an inability to update its reality in the face of overwhelming evidence, see under the heading dominance reactions.
This classic experiment conducted in 1949 demonstrates the degree to which we are governed by preconceptions or beliefs and the resistance and irrational reactions that emerge when those beliefs are shown to be false. While no reference is made to the left and right side of the brain later research would conclude that the dominant side of the brain is responsible for these perceptual and psychological quirks (see files on Anosognosia).

On the Perception of Incongruity
Anosognosia, another example Another example of what happens when the left side of the brain is left in charge Anosognosia, another example
Anosognosia re Schizophrenia This document provides an overview of the left brains delusion in regard to and as part of its dysfunction. If we were all suffering from a neurological condition affecting the left side of our brain and our perception is dominated by its sense of reality how would we know??? Anosognosia re Schizophrenia
Mind controlling parasites in your brain ? Perhaps the idea that you could be suffering from delusion is a bit far fetched, here is an example of how easily our perception can be altered without our knowledge. Read this article, wtch this intriguing video or download the pdfs
Schizophrenia, Cats and Toxoplasmosis Parasite that makes cat-lovers neurotic Parasite from cats blamed for brain and birth defects Cat parasite found to affect human behaviour, sex ratio A PARASITE THAT CONTROLS YOUR MIND Can the common brain parasite, Toxoplasma gondii, influence human culture

False memories and delusional ideation in normal healthy subjects

Keith R. Laws, Reena Bhatt

Little doubt remains that patients with schizophrenia have substantial memory deficits and that multiple aspects of memory are affected (see Aleman, Hijman, De Haan, & Kahn, 1999 for a meta-analysis); with deficits reported in short-term memory, working memory, semantic memory, episodic memory, recognition memory and recall.

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Measurement of Delusional Ideation in the Normal Population

Emmanuelle R. Peters, Stephen A. Joseph, and Philippa A. Qarety

The view that there may be a thread of continuity between normality and psychosis is by no means a recent one (e.g., Bleuler 1911; Rado 1953; Meehl 1962). Psychotic symptoms are now conceptualized as the severe expression of traits that are present in the general population and manifest themselves as psychological variations observable among individuals ranging from the perfectly welladjusted to those who, while showing signs of psychopathology, would not be considered clinically psychotic
(Claridge 1972; 1987).

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"Sleights of mind": Delusions, Defences, and self-deception

Ryan McKay, Robyn Langdon, and Max Coltheart

Two different modes of theorising about delusions are explored. On the one hand is the motivational approach, which regards delusions as serving a defensive, palliative, even potentially adaptive function. On the other, is the cognitive deficit approach, which conceptualises delusions as explicitly pathological, prominently exemplified by the psychoanalytic tradition.

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The evolution of misbelief

Ryan T. McKay and Daniel C. Dennett

Abstract: From an evolutionary standpoint, a default presumption is that true beliefs are adaptive and misbeliefs maladaptive. But if humans are biologically engineered to appraise the world accurately and to form true beliefs, how are we to explain the routine exceptions to this rule?

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Split Brain/Cerebral Dominance

Savant Syndrome: An Extraordinary Condition. A Synopsis: Past, Present, Future. Darold A. Treffert, MD

An excellent overview of savant syndrome with particular reference to the neurological evidence supporting a partial switch from the left to the right side of the brain to explain some of the phenomenal abilities that emerge.

Savant Syndrome
Brief split brain introduction A very short summary with diagrams Brief split brain introduction
Savant for a day The following article contains a snapshot of the research into latent function in the right hemisphere. Despite the intrigue these experiments have created the results are still considered within the framework of adaptive selection. The 'highly advanced' and 'specialised' left hemisphere is pressumed to have traded its savant like skills for speech and conceptual thought (rather than reality). Of course these are the conclusions of the dominant left hemisphere mmmme, ever wondered why the left can speak yet the right can sing? Savant for a day
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

A brief introduction to TMS

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation
Weird behaviour, creativity linked. Research that supports the claim for 'creativity' being a right brain function Weird behaviour
Creative and Noncreative Problem Solvers Exhibit Different Patterns of Brain Activity, Study Reveals New study adds further evidence to support the idea of creative thinking being a right hemisphere function. Creative and Noncreative
Evolution of cerebral dominance This article suggests the theory that the specialist skills ascribed to the left hemisphere are not selected adaptations as generally presumed. Evolution of cerebral dominance
Whorf hypothesis is supported in the right visual
field but not the left

Both of these studies highlight the dominance of the left brain and language in how we perceive the world. If there is a flaw in this arrangement then our current perception of colour (and everything else) may be seriously limited. For example there are countless reports of colours being perceived much more intensely during spontaneous or induced altered states. Are these experiences simply a glimpse of how colour at least would be perceived with a more fully functional brain.
left right colour
Do Infants See Colors Differently? Mind Matters
Brain tumor opens her mind to art A life of math and science changes course after surgery By Carol Smith

Another case of damage to the left releasing complex function in the right, the standard theory of hemispheric co-operation is cited in the article despite the apparent contradictions this and other cases imply.

Brain tumor opens her mind
Can You Recognize People By Their Voices? Case Study Of Phonagnosic
ScienceDaily Oct. 28, 2008

If speech is the crowning glory of the rational left brains specialised evolution it seems a little odd that it does not have the ability to recognise voices without input from the 'normally' taciturn right brain.

Voice Recognition
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so the saying goes, and this is certainly true of the different ways men and women appreciate art, research from the University of California has shown.

Daily Telegraph

Further neurological evidence for cerebral asymmetry and of most interest the way it manifests between the genders. The standard adaptive explanation is of course the product of cerebral asymmetry, you may need to read 'Left in the Dark' to understand what that means.

Voice Recognition

The Row Of Our Times



Joseph Serra, Devon, Sept. 2007

An astute overview of the typical ‘psychological’ incompatibilities between the genders, while culturally conditioned behavioural expectations are undoubtedly part of the problem, any underlying neurological origins of such behaviour and psychology will need to be addressed if a solution is to emerge.

Voice Recognition

Add in another insightful perspective from the noted Darwinian philosopher and rationalist Dr Helena Cronin and it starts to get a little easier to join the dots....

From the emergence of the patriarchal/dominator culture and all the happy times that has brought us to Venus and Mars theories re gender differences it is apparent that there are some serious issues to resolve. However attempting to address these differences while presuming they are adaptive behavioural traits will make little progress. If the variation is hard wired during early neural development and the variation in its symptomolgy relates to variation in cerebral asymmetry then addressing the structural integrity and cerebral imbalance is where the solution lies.

Voice Recognition

Evolutionary Origins of Your Right and Left Brain



By Peter F. MacNeilage, Lesley J. Rogers and Giorgio Vallortigara

One of the most common questions I get asked is ‘Why is the left side of our brain more hormonally retarded than the right?’

This recent article attempts to explain the ‘evolution’ of left hemisphere and right hemisphere specialisation in the human brain via adaptive selection. It is based on the same underlying genetic asymmetry that is central to the theory outlined in ‘Left in the Dark’. The key difference is current thinking makes no reference to the unique cocktail of chemicals that are sufficiently powerful to re-interpret genetic asymmetry when they are present. Lose those chemicals after tens of millions of years and the asymmetry re-emerges. Not as the product of adaptive selection, rather the delicate and precise structural, functional and perceptual results of a long period of co-evolution, left high and dry in a hormonally hostile developmental environment.

Voice Recognition

The Neuropsychiatry of
Paranormal Experiences

Michael A. Persinger, Ph.D., C.Psych.

From the perspective of modern neuroscience, all experiences are generated by brain activity, or at the very least strongly correlated with brain activity.

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Why Alzheimers' Can Make You More Artistic

Steven Waldman

'Most interesting were the studies shwoing that Alzheimers patients become more artistically creative as their disease progresses. Bruce Miller, the researcher who performed this study, theorized that the left hemisphere is the "bully part of the brain" that suppresses the creativity of the right part. When the left brain degenerates (as happens with Alzheimers) the right brain is given a brief moment to flower and dominate.'

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Summary.—The recognition of the correct solution to a problem after a period when one is not actively searching for an answer is well documented.

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The genius machine

Helen Phillips

No one is quite sure where creativity comes from, but that doesn’t worry Allan Snyder. He says he knows how to turn it on at the flick of a switch.

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The astonishing skills of savants have been suggested to be latent in everyone, but are not normally accessible without a rare form of brain impairment. We attempted to simulate such brain impairment in healthy people by directing lowfrequency magnetic pulses into the left fronto-temporal lobe.

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General Interest

Pictorial overview A simplified pictorial overview presented at a conference on maths and consciousness in 1998. An attempt to compress several disciplines from neurology and psychology through to culture and ecology into one coherent model. Pictorial overview
Theory of human evolution

Summary of theory re human evolution with
emphasis on the influence of plant bio-chemistry.

Theory of human evolution
Groves Colin Groves Professor of Biological Anthropology at the Australian National University has proposed that the expanding human brain was not a product of adaptive selection but a consequence of an increasing juvenile phase. He offers no suggestion as to what caused the increase in juvenility. However his perspective is most unusual and highlights the difficulty in explaining the evolution of the human brain through adaptive selection alone. A summary of his thoughts are included in this excerpt from 'Scars of Evolution' by Elaine Morgan. Groves
Chimps beat people in memory task Quite how humans generally have ended up with such abysmal memory when compared to one of our closest living relatives is a bit of a puzzle. This is particularly intriguing as it is still widely presumed that our large brains and superior intelligence were honed by hostile environments, language and conceptual abilities that required superior neural function including memory. Whether the chimp in the article would have fared so well against a memory savant is unclear. However to presume our memory is fully functional when a few individuals display the same kind of photographic memory exhibited by the chimp, only vastly superior, is perhaps a little premature. Chimps beat people in memory task
Vertical jumping performance of bonobo (Pan paniscus) suggests superior muscle properties
Melanie N. Scholz Kristiaan D’Aout Maarten F. Bobbert and Peter Aerts
The greatly superior physical strength of our closest relatives has long been a mystery, this study seems to confirm that humans are relative weaklings in the ape world and ponders why this might be. Explaining this may depend on a number of factors, what has not been considered is the relative efficiency of the respective neural systems that operate the muscles. It is perhaps significant that bonobos do not appear to suffer from 'muscle' fatigue during repeated tests. Bearing in mind the anecdotal evidence associated with peak athletic performance in humans i.e. a significant shift or breakthrough in psychology it might be worth considering whether it is the neural system that is inefficient rather than the muscle. Chimps beat people in memory task
The Orgasmic Mind: The Neurological Roots
of Sexual Pleasure
As with many other studies these findings can have more than one possible explanation, ‘Left in the Dark’ attempts to find the common denominators that must be present if the proposed theory has any validity. In this case there is much information regarding the mechanisms involved in sexual pleasure, however the requirement for the inhibition of fear to facilitate orgasm is of particular interest (See bold text) Scientific American Mind The Orgasmic Mind
Androgens in Human Evolution. A New Explanation of Human Evolution James Michael Howard

James Howard has spent more than 20 years researching the role of steroids in human evolution. His conclusions differ from those outlined in Left in the Dark but add support to the significant role steroids have played in shaping our evolution development and function.
Also of interest is the chart showing how levels of testosterone compare between the great apes.
In order to make sense of the variation in these levels and the role they played in our evolution it would be necessary to account for any environmental or epigenetic factors that significantly modified or inhibited steroid activity.

Testosterone Summary
A selection of articles outlining several known neuro-chemical mechanisms regulating pineal activity. These mechanisms explain how various neuro-active chemicals can directly and indirectly elevate pineal activity.

Recent research has identified a number of chemicals including MAOi type antidepressants that can stimulate or over stimulate pineal activity. Obviously if pineal stimulating chemicals with similar properties were abundant in our ancestral forest diet and now they are chronically deficient then it follows that what is now considered typical pineal activity will be significantly lower than our ancestors.

Testosterone Summary

Testosterone Summary

Testosterone Summary

Ancestral TSH Mechanism Signals
Summer in a Photoperiodic Mammal


A recent summary outlining some of the complex chemical feedback mechanisms that are dependent on melatonin. If melatonin production was higher in our evolutionary past and has since declined the knock on effects will have been very significant and complex.

Testosterone Summary

First Chimp fossils found; Humans were neighbors

Cameron Walker

Researchers have found the first reported chimpanzee fossils in Kenya's Rift Valley, providing the first physical evidence that chimpanzees coexisted with early human ancestors, known as hominins.

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New fossils provide insights into early human evolution.

By William Moore

After 15 years of painstaking study by 47 researchers, the journal Science has devoted its October 2 issue to reports, 11 papers in all, on the fossilized remains of what is interpreted to be an early form of hominin, the group including humans and all human ancestors back to the evolutionary split with the last common ancestor with chimpanzees.

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