How The Modern World Tricks Our Bodies Into Hurting Themselves

How The Modern World Tricks Our Bodies Into Hurting Themselves

Hi this is David from MinuteEarth. Throughout history, the biggest threat to
humans has been physical harm either through injury or infection. So it’s not surprising that our bodies have
developed a bunch of internal systems that respond once our external defenses have been
breached. One of those systems is led by a special enzyme
called COX that lives in tissues throughout our bodies. When we get injured, the nearby COX makes
a chemical that triggers the production of lots of extra sticky platelets, which rush
to stop the bleeding by clotting the wounds. And when we get an infection, the nearby COX
makes a different chemical that helps dilate our blood vessels, so that a rush of fluid
brings our tough immune cells to fight the intruders. But the world has changed; not only are pathogens
and violence no longer our biggest threats, but we also have other – sometimes better
– ways to deal with them. Our COX enzymes don’t know that, though. And in an ironic twist, we may be more likely
to be harmed by our COX’s response to perceived threats than we are from the actual injuries
and infections it’s supposed to protect us from. That’s because in the modern world, COX
is often triggered into action unnecessarily, and the ensuing response can have disastrous
results. For example, compared to our ancestors, modern
humans – with our sedentary lifestyles and fatty diets – are far more likely to build
up cholesterol deposits in our blood vessels – including the ones in our hearts and in
our brains. If one of the globs happens to break open,
COX gets confused and initiates the same sticky platelet response that it does when you actually
rupture a blood vessel. Except that this time the resulting clot can
stop blood flow altogether. If this happens near the heart, you get a
heart attack. And when this happens in the brain, the clot
can cause a stroke. And to make things even worse, those same
sedentary lifestyles, fatty diets and other modern behaviors seem to make our bodies think
that we have infections in certain places when we don’t. But COX helps flood our system with fluid
and immune cells anyway. And with no actual infection to fight, some
of those excited immune cells start attacking the body instead, which can result in autoimmune
disease, depression, and even certain types of cancers. As a result, even as our chance of dying from
injuries and infections has decreased, our chances of dying from COX-related problems
has actually increased. We don’t want to totally eliminate COX – we
still want it around in case we do get a serious injury or infection, and because it also helps
protect our stomach lining. But for certain parts of the population – like
older folks with more cholesterol deposits – it makes sense to deliberately lower COX’s
ability to react to any threats, real or perceived. And it turns out that Aspirin – yep, that
little pain pill in your cupboard – actually ties up any COX it comes across, thus decreasing
your chances of getting certain COX-related problems. Taking Aspirin regularly has some risks: by
blocking COX, we’re more prone to internal bleeding and stomach ulcers. But even so, studies show that when people
over 50 with high risk of heart problems regularly take low-dose Aspirin, they on average have
reduced health care costs and longer lifespans. For modern humans, it seems, one of the best
ways to save lives is to deliberately stop our bodies from trying to save their own lives. This video was sponsored by the University
of Minnesota, where students, faculty and staff across all fields of study are working
to solve the Grand Challenges facing society. One of these challenges is advancing health
through tailored solutions, which includes improving our understanding of the risks and
benefits of the COX enzyme. Dr. Jeffrey Chipman, of the Department of
Surgery, was part of the team that discovered a second form of COX and changed its story. And Dr. Russell Luepker leads the Minnesota
Heart Health Program and its “Ask About Aspirin” campaign. Thanks University of Minnesota!

100 thoughts on “How The Modern World Tricks Our Bodies Into Hurting Themselves”

  1. Viewer support makes MinuteEarth possible! Want to become our Patreon or member on YouTube? Just visit or click "JOIN". Thanks!!

  2. stop the body from trying to save itself how about eating healthier?
    Seriously, just trying to medicate symptoms makes things worse in the long run!

  3. Would you happen to be following up this video with another explaining cox inhibitors other than ASA? Perhaps a discussion explaining what cox-1 and cox-2 enzymes are and and how the anti-inflammatory drugs treat them, perhaps an introduction to celocoxib, naprosin, ibuprofen etc? It's probably an interesting subject for anyone over 18 or so.

  4. Citing COX as a cause of depression is premature and not supported by your references. Granted, there are some interesting associations and papers out there, but nothing causal.

  5. We should start hacking our bodies to turn off some redundant systems.
    grabs hatchet What do you mean that's not how hacking works?

  6. Y'all in the comments need to chill with the laughter… I honestly will never understand what's so funny about the word you're insinuating…

  7. By the end of this video you sounded like an add for medicine. You even have the all the pictures to back it up lol 😂. Anyone else see that!?!?

  8. please stop with the annoying messages at the bottom of the screen that don't stay there long enough to read them without going back and pausing

  9. I wish I could find the person who normalizes the audio in these videos to 0dB and ask him to politely stop with a bullhorn, similar to how these videos start blaring out of my TV when I watch them.

  10. yeah or just avoid building up cholesterol in the first place
    We shouldn't search for a solution to the problem but rather try to eliminate causes for this problem

  11. doesn't sound like cox is the problem…. an unhealthy lifestyle is.
    how 'bout we stop trying to find ways around nature and try working within the system, for a change?

  12. So, you think this only happens in modem times? No, it's be going on since the beginning. The only difference is that people would die and nobody knew why.

  13. Shouldn't older people change their diet and have a healthier lifestyle to prevent cholesterol buildup instead of taking Aspirin?

  14. My father's heart doctor at the Cleveland Clinic wrote a book–I don't have the title right now–that definitely speaks against a daily aspirin regimen. So, keep in mind that this pro-aspirin view is not completely settled science.

  15. Aspirin is a blood thinner. DO NOT take a blood thinner without your Doctors approval! Irresponsible video since it failed to give this warning!

  16. it's not our fatty diets that are clogging our arteries. it's our carby diets. in the past, we've eaten way more fat so these days our diet is less fatty. that started in the 80s. thanks to prepackaged food. our bodies just don't need nearly as many carbs as we stuff our faces with. all our fat piles up cuz insulin forces fat AND carbs to fat storage and prevents fat mobilizin'. and now that we're fat, we get high blood pressure and inflamed arteries. the cholesterol piles up there to try to fix the inflamation tears. cuz cholesterol's job is to rebuild cell walls with fat – every cell's wall is fat. so if we eat just enough fat, colorful vegis, proteins, n a teeny bit o carbs… like we usta…

  17. Implying fatty foods cause auto-immune diseases? What? My crohns, my cousin’s celiac, my friend’s type 1 diabetes and many others have nothing to do with diet or sedentary lifestyle. Do you have anything to point to other than type 2 diabetes?

  18. This is a serious subject…
    3 years of trying different antidepressants didn't work for me but just using aspirin or ibuprofen magicly solved almost all of my problems… Read more about inflammation guys

  19. I call this a misinformation. That cholesterol is there precisely because of ongoing accumulation of immune cells. It's nothing modern. And dietary implications are chronically overestimated.

  20. I have type 1 diabetes and a possible albeit rare second autoimmune disorder eating away the left side of my brain. COX can officially die in a fire as far as I am concerned.

  21. literally 90% of comments: COX! It's funny because it sounds like "cocks", lol

    Me: 0:05 is that a RAIKOU??? Awesome.

    -Me, 2019

  22. I disagree with the conclusion! We need to adapt to a healthier lifestyle and not have our body compromise with our bad habits

  23. This whole "fatty diet" thing needs to be portrayed a bit more carefully. It's not necessarily the fat that's the issue; it's the monstrous amount of sugar and starch that almost always accompanies that fat that is the real killer.

  24. The question NOBODY asks is "are we supposed to live to an old age?" …. seriously, what's the benefit (in terms of evolution) to live 80-90 or even 100 years?
    … and why nobody dares answer this?

  25. I would have to strongly disagree with the statement that our fatty diets cause celestial deposits in blood vessels. With more research, we have been finding more and more evidence that fat isn't what causes high cholesterol. It's a bigger issue of not only what we eat but how consistently we eat said food and what combination of food we eat. This causes our bodies to develop a "fatty" metabolism (metabolism that will more likely store fat in our bodies than burn it).

    I've been on the keto diet(high fat, and low carbs) with my brother for a few months and have already lost all visible body fat(from 225 to 190). So I can speak from some experience and research on the matter. However, there are probably more people more eligible than me on the subject. So please reply if you do. Your body will prioritize carbs and sugar for energy(bread and sweat things……donuts), and any excess energy will be stored as fat. This causes our bodies to get very good at storing fat and not so much at burning it. This is why just exercise is not enough. You can try to run 10kl runs every day. But if your body is more used to storing fat than using it, it will be an uphill battle. Certainly possible to lose fat with exercise but it would be much easier if your body burns more fat more often.
    That said, does this mean that you will have fewer blood clots? It's likely. After all, if your body has less overall stored fat it's less likely that it would be stored in your blood vessels. The research is still developing. So we shall see. I feel like people often assume fat is what directly causes you to be fat and have high cholesterol. But obviously less fat fast food isn't' helping the obese population of the US. You need fat, our ancestors had to eat fat from animals. So why is it that they weren't as fat? Why is it that our high carb and sugar diet(that Americans often get from fast food, pizza, donuts) produces so many obese citizens?

    Sorry for the lecture, but I feel like people get this issue wrong, or at least not all right, it is a complex issue after all. I just hope people try to understand this stuff a bit more so they know what is causing(or likely causing) their health problems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *