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Evolutionary Medicine.doc

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University of Toronto St. George
Dan Sellen

EvolutionaryMedicine- Application of principles of evolutionary theory to practice/research in field of medicine. Look at proximal (what are immediate consequences of the issue; how do we solve the disease via biomedicine) and ultimate (why did we evolve this trait; what purpose does this trait serve) causes for each health issue. ConceptualContributionsofAnthropology(Thesemakemoresenseafterreadingthe3health issuesbelowbutarewhatyoushouldtakeawayfromthereading) 1) Redefine “normal” based on specific culture / population -biomedicine is based on what is “normal” in Western Populations -drugs are often dosed too high for other cultures leading to ill effects on health 2) Development is highly influenced by culture - immune strength is dependent on breastfeeding b/c antibodies are transmitted through breast milk; western society is moving away from breastfeeding so new trend of “weaker” immune systems. - maternal exposure to pathogens has effect on assortment of antibodies transferred through breastfeeding; ie) mothers from third-world countries are exposed to more pathogens in their lifetime compared to mothers in developed nations. 2) Must take socioeconomic conditions into considerations - intragenerationalphenotypicinertia = if family has history of glucose intolerance because of low birth weights (ie. great grandparents, grandparents, parents all born low bw) then mother eating a lot during pregnancy will not remove glucose intolerance for her kids in one generation. - this is a problem in poor neighborhoods bc no money to be well-fed. - low % educated population, teenage pregnancy, crime all limit access to good food, social services, available opportunities Anthropologicalresearchhasprimaryeffectonthreeareasofevolutionarymedicine. 1) Nutritional Health - ancestral hunter-gatherer diet was drastically dif
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