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Disease 'part of evolution'

20th October 2009

A new brand of medical research that uses Charles Darwin's theory of evolution was the focus of attention at the recent World Health Summit in Berlin.

World Health

Darwinian medicine looks at the emergence of modern diseases such as asthma and obesity as if they were part of the next evolutionary stage of human beings.

Randolph Nesse, a Darwinian medicine pioneer from the University of Michigan, said that people's bodies are not machines like those designed by engineers, and that natural selection has left them with flaws in different places.
He said that such flaws make people vulnerable in the extreme, and that his rapidly growing field of medical research is deeply significant both for medicine overall and for public health care policies.
He said that the epidemic of asthma worldwide may be linked to world health efforts to eliminate intestinal worms.

Kathleen Barnes said that where parasites and microbial infections are high, people have less incidence of asthma.
William Leonard from Northwestern University in the United States said that fast food is one reason why obesity is such a problem in Europe and America.
He said, however, that it is also due to the fact that people only have to expend a fraction of the energy they would have needed in order to hunt in prehistoric times.

Dan Stein from the University of Cape Town in South Africa said that people’s perception of what constitutes depression or anxiety is warped by current medical perspectives.
He said it was perfectly normal to grieve the death of a loved one, and that using cognitive behavioural therapy on victims of all traumas might actually worsen some of those traumas.
The aim of the World Health Summit was to raise worldwide standards of health.
Some 700 delegates came to the event from dozens of countries.



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Article Information

Title: Disease 'part of evolution'
Author: Luisetta Mudie
Article Id: 12963
Date Added: 20th Oct 2009


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