Evolution in Health and Disease

ISBN 13: 9780198504450

Evolution in Health and Disease

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9780198504450: Evolution in Health and Disease
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For most of our history, humans lived in small hunter-gatherer groups whose diets, living conditions, and environmental pressures were very different from what most humans face today. The result is that the evolutionary adaptations which proved beneficial in our past may prove less so now. This fascinating book explores the implications of human evolutionary history for human health and medicine. The topics include the evolution of antibiotic resistance, the evolution of pathogen virulence, the evolution of aging, the design of vaccines, and population- and genotype-specific reactions to drugs and susceptibility to disease. The book also discusses new insights into mother-offspring conflict during pregnancy, menstruation, menopause, child abuse, homicide, depression, schizophrenia, and many chronic degenerative diseases, such as cancer and osteoporosis. Written by leading experts in evolutionary medicine and addressed to medical students and researchers and evolutionary biologists, the book describes the state of the art and provides clear access to the primary literature. It also provides compelling arguments for why the tools evolutionary biology belong in every doctor's tool-kit.

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About the Author:

Steve Stearns, Zoology Institute, Rheinsprung 9, CH-4051 Basel, Switzerland. Tel: 41-61-267-34-85/Fax: 41-61-267-34- 57. Email: stearns@ubaclu.unibas.ch

Review:


"Perhaps now is the right time for the new ways of thinking that Evolution in Health and Disease so effectively presents."--Science


"There is great breadth in what is covered--from chapters considering parasite virulence to those on complex genetic disorders (and including the entertainingly titled 'Putting the stone age in perspective'). That there is something of interest for everyone is its strength . . . There is much of interest in this book and I have no hesitation in recommending it."--Heredity


"Helps establish evolutionary biology as a legitimate discipline by challenging the notion that the body is a Platonic ideal designed for health and happiness except for happenstance flaws, and characterizing it instead as a bundle of trade-offs shaped by natural selection to maximize reproductive success in the ancestral environment. Scientists from around the world place within that context such matters as human history and human genes; natural selection, conflict, and constraints; pathogens, drugs, and virulence; and non-infectious and degenerative disease."--SciTech Book News


"it is perhaps most remarkable how little medicine has so far benefited from the unique insights of the Darwinian point of view. Hence, I am happy to report this book is a superlative effort. If it is not curative of this chronic " medical malady" of ignorance of evolution, then it is certainly a good dose of what the doctor ordered. The editor, Steven Stearns of the Zoological Institute of Basle, has forged a fine contribution. Indeed, it is really a book complete with a basic theme, sustained coherence, appealing substance, and style that arrives at a propitious time. Each is well-written, thought-stimulating, and expert. The book is a resounding success. It is a smart yet accessible synopsis of exactly what the title offers." -- Daniel R. Wilson, American Journal of Human Biology, Vol 13, No 2, Mar/Apr 2001


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