Health and Disease According to Darwinian Evolution

 
9789843361639: Health and Disease According to Darwinian Evolution
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We know a great deal about the construction and functioning of the human body, but we rarely ask how and why the human body came into existence. The evolution of the human body and mind provides answers to longstanding and hard-to-answer questions on human health, disease and treatment. The Quantum theory gives the most fundamental explanation of the creation of atoms and molecules, organic compounds, DNA and its replication, crossover during Meiosis, etc. The Big Bang, the creation of the Universe, the galaxies, stars, atoms, molecules, Earth, organic compounds, DNA and mitochondria are all a huge jigsaw puzzle that falls into place with Relativity and Quantum theory. Central is the theme that our bodies are made of the very product of primordial supernova explosions from billions of years ago. The astronomer Carl Sagan once remarked that We are the universe contemplating itself. Understanding the body may be the ultimate extension of quantum physics and evolution. Man, his fellow animals, health, germs, and disease are a huge mystery novel, and it is for us to solve with evolution how it all happened. For thousands or millions of years, man s DNA was programmed by natural selection from his life as a hunter gatherer or a farmer. Our genetic makeup has been unable to keep pace with the rapid changes in diet, lifestyle and environment over the last few decades. Much of today s health disorders arise from the DNA s inability to cope with these rapid changes. The internal environment of the body contains at least hundreds of chemicals, organic and inorganic, detectable and undetectable, known and unknown. From permutation and combination there are countless ongoing reactions between the chemicals. We can never hope to know all the chemicals and their reactions. A new concept is introduced about our hidden arms race with farm animals. This book is based on an understanding of evolution of human life, and life in general on the planet. It has a common-sense approach to immunity, and the ability of the body to heal itself. The approaches are not dramatic new discoveries, but an extension of well-established principles of anthropology and evolution. The language does not require specialized knowledge, and may be read by anyone with an interest in health and disease. The author is not a medical doctor. The material should be taken not as a report or a research paper, but an adventure of ideas.

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About the Author:

Shahriar Khan did his M.S. and Ph.D. at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. He is currently a faculty member at a private university.

Review:

The book Health and Disease According to Darwinian Evolution by S Khan is about human health and diseases seen from the perspective of Charles Darwin s theory of evolution. The concept of evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is nothing new. Modern medical science tries to understand health and disease discovering the secrets of molecular and physiological mechanisms. Evolutionary medicine has broadened the scope of the study to include why evolution has shaped these mechanisms in ways that can make us susceptible to disease. The topic of evolutionary medicine is indeed a very big one and it is really interesting that a professor of electrical engineering of Independent University Bangladesh, S. Khan, has written this full-length book of 200 pages explaining health and disease from that angle which is precisely not his area academically. But the command on the subject that S. Khan has shown in the pages of book never gives the reader an impression that he is an amateur here and not a specialist. His versatility as a scientist reminds us of the polymaths of the old days. To S. Khan, Man, his fellow animals, health, germs, and disease are a huge mystery novel, and it is for us to solve with Darwinian evolution how it all happened. And it can be said with certainty that his Health and Disease According to Darwinian Evolution gives us comprehensive and useful ideas about the mystery of human body and diseases. This book would be able to, this reviewer believes, both attract students of medicine in general as well as the common readers who are interested to broaden insights on personal health. However, the writer, making a brief introduction and background on the topic, goes on to discuss diverse things such as creation of the universe, earth, life, the DNA, Darwinian evolution, dietary changes, toxicity of foods and changes in the lifestyle of human beings from the earliest times to the present day. Thoroughly well-versed on the great scientific achievements over the centuries particularly on human body and medicine, S. Khan writes that for thousands or million of years, man s DNA was programmed by natural selection from his life as a hunter gatherer or a farmer. But over the last few decades, man s genetic makeup has been unable to keep pace with the rapid changes in diet, lifestyle and environment. Thus much of today s health problems are the results of human being s inability --- his DNA s inability to be precise --- to cope with the rapid changes. Environmental changes also have greatly affected health and disease. The phenomenon of global warming explains how man s life on earth can quickly be affected by changes in nature and environment where he lives. The rapid deterioration of the environment with fast depletion of ozone layer is also challenging the DNA built over millions of year ago. Health and Disease According to Darwinian Evolution has tried to explain various major diseases plaguing the modern people such as hypercholesteromia, diabetes, tumours and cancers, and other lethal and non-lethal diseases. According to evolutionary medicine, elevated blood glucose is not a failure to regulate blood sugar, but a planned evolutionary response. That is why evolutionary medicine urges physicians to take into account diet and lifestyle foremost for remaining healthy: the response should be to reduce refined sugar, processed foods, and food quantity, increase exercise and reduce exposure to toxins. S Khan's book throws light on a wide range of human diseases from this evolutionary perspective which is informative on the one hand and explanatory on the other. He finally gives holistic advice on what ought to be done for taking preventive as well as curative action. --The Independent, Bangladesh

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