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Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health

Randolph M Nesse, Caleb E Finch, Charles L Nunn
Compared with other primates, humans sleep less and have a much higher prevalence of Alzheimer 's disease (AD) pathology. This article reviews evidence relevant to the hypothesis that natural selection for shorter sleep time in humans has compromised the efficacy of physiological mechanisms that protect against AD during sleep. In particular, the glymphatic system drains interstitial fluid from the brain, removing extra-cellular amyloid beta (eAβ) twice as fast during sleep. In addition, melatonin - a peptide hormone that increases markedly during sleep - is an effective antioxidant that inhibits the polymerization of soluble eAβ into insoluble amyloid fibrils that are associated with AD...
January 16, 2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Sarah Myers, Oskar Burger, Sarah E Johns
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Edward H Hagen, Randy Thornhill
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Heather Shattuck-Heidorn, Meredith W Reiches, Andrew M Prentice, Sophie E Moore, Peter T Ellison
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: The human immune system is an ever-changing composition of innumerable cells and proteins, continually ready to respond to pathogens or insults. The cost of maintaining this state of immunological readiness is rarely considered. In this paper we aim to discern a cost to non-acute immune function by investigating how low levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) relate to other energetic demands and resources in adolescent Gambian girls. METHODOLOGY: Data from a longitudinal study of 66 adolescent girls was used to test hypotheses around investment in immune function...
December 21, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
James J Bull
The use of 'selfish' gene drive systems to suppress or even extinguish populations has been proposed on theoretical grounds for almost half a century. Creating these genes has recently become possible with CRISPR technology. One seemingly feasible approach, originally proposed by Burt, is to create a homing endonuclease gene (HEG) that inserts into an essential gene, enabling heterozygote viability but causing homozygote lethality. With 100% segregation distortion in gametes, such genes can cause profound population suppression if resistance does not evolve...
December 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Joseph L Graves, Chris Reiber, Anna Thanukos, Magdalena Hurtado, Terry Wolpaw
Evolutionary science is indispensable for understanding biological processes. Effective medical treatment must be anchored in sound biology. However, currently the insights available from evolutionary science are not adequately incorporated in either pre-medical or medical school curricula. To illuminate how evolution may be helpful in these areas, examples in which the insights of evolutionary science are already improving medical treatment and ways in which evolutionary reasoning can be practiced in the context of medicine are provided...
October 15, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Michael D Gurven, Benjamin C Trumble, Jonathan Stieglitz, Aaron D Blackwell, David E Michalik, Caleb E Finch, Hillard S Kaplan
Heart disease and type 2 diabetes are commonly believed to be rare among contemporary subsistence-level human populations, and by extension prehistoric populations. Although some caveats remain, evidence shows these diseases to be unusual among well-studied hunter-gatherers and other subsistence populations with minimal access to healthcare. Here we expand on a relatively new proposal for why these and other populations may not show major signs of these diseases. Chronic infections, especially helminths, may offer protection against heart disease and diabetes through direct and indirect pathways...
September 25, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Martin Brüne
The term 'Borderline Personality Disorder' (BPD) refers to a psychiatric syndrome that is characterized by emotion dysregulation, impulsivity, risk-taking behavior, irritability, feelings of emptiness, self-injury and fear of abandonment, as well as unstable interpersonal relationships. BPD is not only common in psychiatric populations but also more prevalent in the general community than previously thought, and thus represents an important public health issue. In contrast to most psychiatric disorders, some symptoms associated with BPD may improve over time, even without therapy, though impaired social functioning and interpersonal disturbances in close relationships often persist...
February 28, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Nicole Mideo, Jeffrey A Bailey, Nicholas J Hathaway, Billy Ngasala, David L Saunders, Chanthap Lon, Oksana Kharabora, Andrew Jamnik, Sujata Balasubramanian, Anders Björkman, Andreas Mårtensson, Steven R Meshnick, Andrew F Read, Jonathan J Juliano
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Current tools struggle to detect drug-resistant malaria parasites when infections contain multiple parasite clones, which is the norm in high transmission settings in Africa. Our aim was to develop and apply an approach for detecting resistance that overcomes the challenges of polyclonal infections without requiring a genetic marker for resistance. METHODOLOGY: Clinical samples from patients treated with artemisinin combination therapy were collected from Tanzania and Cambodia...
January 27, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Rainer H Straub, Carsten Schradin
It has been recognized that during chronic inflammatory systemic diseases (CIDs) maladaptations of the immune, nervous, endocrine and reproductive system occur. Maladaptation leads to disease sequelae in CIDs. The ultimate reason of disease sequelae in CIDs remained unclear because clinicians do not consider bodily energy trade-offs and evolutionary medicine. We review the evolution of physiological supersystems, fitness consequences of genes involved in CIDs during different life-history stages, environmental factors of CIDs, energy trade-offs during inflammatory episodes and the non-specificity of CIDs...
January 27, 2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
A D Higginson, J M McNamara
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Peoples' attempts to lose weight by low calorie diets often result in weight gain because of over-compensatory overeating during lapses. Animals usually respond to a change in food availability by adjusting their foraging effort and altering how much energy reserves they store. But in many situations the long-term availability of food is uncertain, so animals may attempt to estimate it to decide the appropriate level of fat storage. METHODOLOGY: We report the results of a conceptual model of feeding in which the animal knows whether food is currently abundant or limited, but does not know the proportion of time, there will be an abundance in the long-term and has to learn it...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Christine E Campbell, Beverly I Strassmann
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Non-communicable diseases may reflect an evolutionary mismatch between our human ancestry and modern environments. To explore the mismatch hypothesis for Acne vulgaris, we studied the prevalence and severity of acne in Dogon adolescents in Mali, West Africa. METHODOLOGY: We graded the prevalence and severity of acne in 1182 Dogon adolescents aged 11-18 years from nine villages using facial photos taken as part of a prospective cohort study...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Sean G Byars, Jacobus J Boomsma
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Effects of maternal and paternal age on offspring autism and schizophrenia risks have been studied for over three decades, but inconsistent risks have often been found, precluding well-informed speculation on why these age-related risks might exist. METHODOLOGY: To help clarify this situation we analysed a massive single population sample from Denmark including the full spectrum of autistic and schizophrenic disorders (eliminating between-study confounding), used up to 30 follow-up years, controlled for over 20 potentially confounding factors and interpret the ultimate causation of the observed risk patterns using generally accepted principles of parent-offspring conflict and life-history theory...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Alexander Q Vining, Charles L Nunn
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Research in evolutionary medicine provides many examples of how evolution has shaped human susceptibility to disease. Traits undergoing rapid evolutionary change may result in associated costs or reduce the energy available to other traits. We hypothesize that humans have experienced more such changes than other primates as a result of major evolutionary change along the human lineage. We investigated 41 physiological traits across 50 primate species to identify traits that have undergone marked evolutionary change along the human lineage...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Camille Jacqueline, Youssef Bourfia, Hassan Hbid, Gabriele Sorci, Frédéric Thomas, Benjamin Roche
The immune system is a key component of malignant cell control and it is also involved in the elimination of pathogens that threaten the host. Despite our body is permanently exposed to a myriad of pathogens, the interference of such infections with the immune responses against cancer has been poorly investigated. Through a mathematical model, we show that the frequency, the duration and the action (positive or negative) of immune challenges may significantly impact tumor proliferation. First, we observe that a long immunosuppressive challenge increases accumulation of cancerous cells only if it occurs 14 years after the beginning of immunosenescence...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Frazer Meacham, Carl T Bergstrom
Normal anxiety is considered an adaptive response to the possible presence of danger, but is susceptible to dysregulation. Anxiety disorders are prevalent at high frequency in contemporary human societies, yet impose substantial disability upon their sufferers. This raises a puzzle: why has evolution left us vulnerable to anxiety disorders? We develop a signal detection model in which individuals must learn how to calibrate their anxiety responses: they need to learn which cues indicate danger in the environment...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Alexander V Georgiev, Christopher W Kuzawa, Thomas W McDade
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Life history theory predicts resource allocation trade-offs between competing functions and processes. We test the hypothesis that relative investment towards innate versus acquired immunity in humans is subject to such trade-offs and that three types of early developmental exposures are particularly salient in shaping adult immunophenotype: (i) pathogen exposure, (ii) nutritional resources; and (iii) extrinsic mortality cues. METHODOLOGY: We quantified one aspect each of innate and acquired immune function, via C-reactive protein and Epstein-Barr virus antibodies, respectively, in a sample of 1248 men and women from the Philippines (ca...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Alistair M Senior, Alison K Gosby, Jing Lu, Stephen J Simpson, David Raubenheimer
Meta-analysis, which drives evidence-based practice, typically focuses on the average response of subjects to a treatment. For instance in nutritional research the difference in average weight of participants on different diets is typically used to draw conclusions about the relative efficacy of interventions. As a result of their focus on the mean, meta-analyses largely overlook the effects of treatments on inter-subject variability. Recent tools from the study of biological evolution, where inter-individual variability is one of the key ingredients for evolution by natural selection, now allow us to study inter-subject variability using established meta-analytic models...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Charles L Nunn, David R Samson, Andrew D Krystal
Sleep is essential to cognitive function and health in humans, yet the ultimate reasons for sleep-i.e. 'why' sleep evolved-remain mysterious. We integrate findings from human sleep studies, the ethnographic record, and the ecology and evolution of mammalian sleep to better understand sleep along the human lineage and in the modern world. Compared to other primates, sleep in great apes has undergone substantial evolutionary change, with all great apes building a sleeping platform or 'nest'. Further evolutionary change characterizes human sleep, with humans having the shortest sleep duration, yet the highest proportion of rapid eye movement sleep among primates...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Thomas Arn Hansen, Tejal Joshi, Anders Rhod Larsen, Paal Skytt Andersen, Klaus Harms, Sarah Mollerup, Eske Willerslev, Kurt Fuursted, Lars Peter Nielsen, Anders Johannes Hansen
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Widespread use of antibiotics has resulted in selection pressure on genes that make bacteria non-responsive to antibiotics. These antibiotic-resistant bacteria are currently a major threat to global health. There are various possibilities for the transfer of antibiotic resistance genes. It has been argued that animal vectors such as Rattus norvegicus (R. norvegicus) living in hospital sewage systems are ideal for carrying pathogens responsible for fatal diseases in humans...
2016: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
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