Evolutionary Medicine

Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. It provides a complementary scientific approach to the present mechanistic explanations that dominate medical science, and particularly modern medical education. Researchers in the field of evolutionary medicine have suggested that evolutionary biology should not simply be an optional topic in medical school, but instead should be taught as one of the basic medical sciences.

Such adaptations concern:

  • The evolution of pathogens in terms of their virulence, resistance to antibiotics, and subversion of an individual’s immune system.
  • The processes, constraints and trade-offs of human evolution.
  • The evolved responses that enable individuals to protect, heal and recuperate themselves from infections and injuries such as immunity, fever, and sickness behavior, and the processes that regulate their deployment to maximize fitness.
  • How past adaptation of early humans to their ancestral environment now affects contemporary humans with their different diet, life expectancy, degree of physical exercise, and hygiene.

Important researchers in evolutionary medicine include: Randolph M. Nesse, George C. Williams, Paul W. Ewald, James McKenna, Paul W. Turke and Rainer H. Straub.

Read more about Evolutionary MedicineHistory, Pathogens, Human Adaptations, Evolved Defense Mechanisms, “Diseases of Civilization”, Specific Explanations, Evolutionary Psychiatry / Clinical Evolutionary Psychology

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