BPH Inevitability Questioned by Researchers

Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) is at times considered an inevitable disease for men at a determined age and part of the aging process. However, the investigator Benjamin Trumble from the University of California, Santa Barbara questions this statement. His speech on the International Society for Evolution, Medicine & Public Health 2nd Annual Meeting (ISEMPH) was recently released bringing the topic to light again.

BPH is a common disease among men in western populations and Dr. Trumble’s work is focused on analyzing “age-related change in prostate size and BPH risk and related serum biomarkers among the Tsimane Amerindians of the Bolivian Amazon who live a traditional lifestyle of hunting and small-scale horticulture.” The purpose of the study was to assess the importance of risk factors for the development of BPH and refute the statement that the disease is inevitable.

While the speech has now been released into the public domain, Benjamin Trumble had already published his study on the topic, which is titled “Challenging the Inevitability of Prostate Enlargement: Low Levels of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia Among Tsimane Forager-Horticulturalists.” During his research, the investigator conducted ultrasounds on 348 men between the ages of 28 and 89 years and analyzed the levels of testosterone, PSA, and HbA1c in comparison to the prostates’ sizes and BPH.

The population chosen was the Tsimane Amerindians of the Bolivian Amazon to understand the etiology of BPH as well as to study if BPH was always part of men aging process, or if it is a result of determined factors. Living a much different life than the majority of the Americans, based on hunting and horticulture, the Tsimane have lower levels of testosterone, obesity, and metabolic syndrome, which are parameters known to be associated with BPH development.

“Tsimane have less than half of the BPH prevalence experienced by US men, and age-adjusted prostate volumes 62.6% smaller. While Tsimane have low levels of testosterone and subclinical levels of metabolic syndrome compared to US men, Tsimane with high testosterone were more likely to experience BPH, as were those with higher HbA1c,” concluded the author. “Overall, this data suggest that BPH may not have been an inevitable part of male aging throughout human evolutionary history.”

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