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Commentary: The Invention of Aboriginal Diabetes: The Role of the Thrifty Gene Hypothesis in Canadian Health Care Provision.

Hay, Travis.
Ethn Dis; 28(Suppl 1): 247-252, 2018.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30116094
The purpose of this study was to analyze the extent to which the 'thrifty gene hypothesis' remains embedded within regimes of Canadian health care. The thrifty gene hypothesis, formulated by the American geneticist and travelling scientist James V. Neel in 1962, proposed that Indigenous peoples were genetically predisposed to Type 2 diabetes due to the foodways of their ancestors. The hypothesis was functionally racist and based on what biological anthropologists now call 'the myth of forager food insecurity.' Importantly, Neel reconsidered his own hypothesis in 1982 before he ultimately rejected it in 1999; nonetheless, in the mid-1990s, a team of Canadian scientists led by the endocrinologist Robert Hegele of Western University conducted a genetic study on the OjiCree community of Sandy Lake First Nation in northern Ontario. Thereafter, Hegele told the academic world and news media that he had discovered a thrifty gene in Sandy Lake. Like Neel, Hegele later came to reject his own study in 2011. Nonetheless, the 'thrifty gene hypothesis' and Hegele's Sandy Lake study continue to be cited, referenced, and reproduced in the current Clinical Guidelines of the Canadian Diabetes Association, as well as across state-related health literature more broadly. The purpose of this study, then, will be to apply the PHCRP to the thrifty gene hypothesis in a Canadian context.
Selo DaSilva