alexa The dawn of Darwinian medicine.


Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity

Author(s): Williams GC, Nesse RM

Abstract Share this page

Abstract While evolution by natural selection has long been a foundation for biomedical science, it has recently gained new power to explain many aspects of disease. This progress results largely from the disciplined application of what has been called the adaptations program. We show that this increasingly significant research paradigm can predict otherwise unsuspected facets of human biology, and that it provides new insights into the causes of medical disorders, such as those discussed below: 1. Infection. Signs and symptoms of the host-parasite contest can be categorized according to whether they represent adaptations or costs for host or parasite. Some host adaptations may have contributed to fitness in the Stone Age but are obsolete today. Others, such as fever and iron sequestration, have been incorrectly considered harmful. Pathogens, with their large populations and many generations in a single host, can evolve very rapidly. Acquisition of resistance to antibiotics is one example. Another is the recently demonstrated tendency to change virulence levels in predictable ways in response to changed conditions imposed incidentally by human activities. 2. Injuries and toxins. Mechanical injuries or stressful wear and tear are conceptually simpler than infectious diseases because they are not contests between conflicting interests. Plant-herbivore contests may often underlie chemical injury from the defensive secondary compounds of plant tissues. Nausea in pregnancy, and allergy, may be adaptations against such toxins. 3. Genetic factors. Common genetic diseases often result from genes maintained by other beneficial effects in historically normal environments. The diseases of aging are especially likely to be associated with early benefits. 4. Abnormal environments. Human biology is designed for Stone Age conditions. Modern environments may cause many diseases-for example, deficiency syndromes such as scurvy and rickets, the effects of excess consumption of normally scarce nutrients such as fat and salt, developmental diseases such as myopia, and psychological reactions to novel environments. The substantial benefits of evolutionary studies of disease will be realized only if they become central to medical curricula, an advance that may at first require the establishment of one or more research centers dedicated to the further development of Darwinian medicine.
This article was published in Q Rev Biol and referenced in Journal of Osteoporosis and Physical Activity

Relevant Expert PPTs

Relevant Speaker PPTs

Recommended Conferences

Relevant Topics

Peer Reviewed Journals
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
International Conferences 2017-18
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri, Food, Aqua and Veterinary Science Journals

Dr. Krish

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Clinical and Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals


1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Katie Wilson

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science and Health care Journals

Andrea Jason

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics and Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Informatics Journals

Stephanie Skinner

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Material Sciences Journals

Rachle Green

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Mathematics and Physics Journals

Jim Willison

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

John Behannon

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

© 2008-2017 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version