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Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health

Robert Bayersdorf, Arrigo Fruscalzo, Francesco Catania
In jawed vertebrates, the adaptive immune system (AIS) cooperates with the innate immune system (IIS) to protect hosts from infections. Although targeting non-self-components, the AIS also generates self-reactive antibodies which, when inadequately counter-selected, can give rise to autoimmune diseases (ADs). ADs are on the rise in western countries. Why haven't ADs been eliminated during the evolution of a ∼500 million-year old system? And why have they become more frequent in recent decades? Self-recognition is an attribute of the phylogenetically more ancient IIS and empirical data compellingly show that some self-reactive antibodies, which are classifiable as elements of the IIS rather then the AIS, may protect from (rather than cause) ADs...
2018: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Marco Archetti
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2018: 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
(no author information available yet)
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1093/emph/eox011.][This corrects the article DOI: 10.1093/emph/eox011.].
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Sylvia Kirchengast
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Milind Watve
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Karin B Michels
Developmental plasticity - the concept that adaptation to changing and unfavorable environmental conditions are possible but may come at the price of compromised health potentials - has evolutionary grounding as it facilitates survival but dissents with fundamental evolutionary principles in that it may advance the lesser fit. It is an important cornerstone of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD). Unlike evolutionary adaptation developmental plasticity may be short-lived and restricted to one or few generations and inheritance is uncertain...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Stephen Stearns
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Amanda J Lea, Jenny Tung, Elizabeth A Archie, Susan C Alberts
Early life experiences can have profound and persistent effects on traits expressed throughout the life course, with consequences for later life behavior, disease risk, and mortality rates. The shaping of later life traits by early life environments, known as 'developmental plasticity', has been well-documented in humans and non-human animals, and has consequently captured the attention of both evolutionary biologists and researchers studying human health. Importantly, the parallel significance of developmental plasticity across multiple fields presents a timely opportunity to build a comprehensive understanding of this phenomenon...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Jonathan C K Wells
In this issue of Evolution, Medicine and Public Health, Lea and colleagues argue that there are major advantages to bringing together biomedical and evolutionary perspectives on plasticity. To develop this approach, they propose two contrasting scenarios for 'developmental plasticity as adaptation': that it reflects adjustments to resolve the effects of early 'constraints', or that it adjusts phenotype to ecological cues in anticipation of similar conditions in adulthood. Yet neither scenario highlights the unique role of maternal phenotype, mediated by maternal investment strategy, in generating such constraints or cues...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Jonathan C K Wells, José N Figueiroa, Joao G Alves
Patterns of fetal growth predict non-communicable disease risk in adult life, but fetal growth variability appears to have a relatively weak association with maternal nutritional dynamics during pregnancy. This challenges the interpretation of fetal growth variability as 'adaptation'. We hypothesized that associations of maternal size and nutritional status with neonatal size are mediated by the dimensions of the maternal pelvis. We analysed data on maternal height, body mass index (BMI) and pelvic dimensions (conjugate, inter-spinous and inter-cristal diameters) and neonatal gestational age, weight, length, thorax girth and head girth (n = 224)...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Christopher W Kuzawa
No abstract text is available yet for this article.
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Laura J Brown, Rebecca Sear
Background and Objectives: Breastfeeding is an important form of parental investment with clear health benefits. Despite this, rates remain low in the UK; understanding variation can therefore help improve interventions. Life history theory suggests that environmental quality may pattern maternal investment, including breastfeeding. We analyse a nationally representative dataset to test two predictions: (i) higher local environmental quality predicts higher likelihood of breastfeeding initiation and longer duration; (ii) higher socioeconomic status (SES) provides a buffer against the adverse influences of low local environmental quality...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Melissa B Manus, James J Yu, Lawrence P Park, Olaf Mueller, Sarah C Windsor, Julie E Horvath, Charles L Nunn
Background and objectives: The skin harbors a dynamic community of microorganisms, where contact with humans, other animals and the environment can alter microbial communities. Most research on the human skin microbiome features Western populations living in hygienic conditions, yet these populations have vastly different patterns of environmental contact than the majority of people on Earth, including those living in developing countries. Methodology: We studied skin microbial communities of humans and cattle (zebu) in rural Madagascar to investigate how zebu ownership affects microbial composition of the human skin, and to characterize non-Western human and zebu skin communities more generally...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Katherine Wander, Bettina Shell-Duncan, Eleanor Brindle
Objective: We posited a trade-off in iron nutrition, with iron deficiency decreasing risk for infection by depriving infectious agents of iron while increasing risk for infection by compromising immune protection. We described associations between iron deficiency and prevalent and incident infectious disease episodes and cell-mediated immunity (CMI) among 283 children in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. Methodology: Whole blood specimens were evaluated for hemoglobin and dried blood spots (DBS) were evaluated for biomarkers of iron deficiency (transferrin receptor) and inflammation (C-reactive protein and α1-acid glycoprotein)...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Jennie L Lovett, Margo A Chima, Juliana K Wexler, Kendall J Arslanian, Andrea B Friedman, Chantal B Yousif, Beverly I Strassmann
Background and objectives: In the evolutionary past, women spent most of their reproductive lives either pregnant or in lactational amenorrhea, and rarely menstruated. The current pattern of frequent menses, and the associated increase in endogenous hormonal exposure, has been implicated in the current breast cancer epidemic. It is not known, however, whether oral contraceptives further increase, or actually decrease, hormonal exposure over one menstrual cycle. Here, we examined variation in hormonal exposure across seven oral contraceptive (OC) formulations, and produced the first quantitative comparison of exogenous versus endogenous hormone exposure...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Jang Ik Cho, Buddha Basnyat, Choongwon Jeong, Anna Di Rienzo, Geoff Childs, Sienna R Craig, Jiayang Sun, Cynthia M Beall
Background and objectives: Tibetans have distinctively low hemoglobin concentrations at high altitudes compared with visitors and Andean highlanders. This study hypothesized that natural selection favors an unelevated hemoglobin concentration among Tibetans. It considered nonheritable sociocultural factors affecting reproductive success and tested the hypotheses that a higher percent of oxygen saturation of hemoglobin (indicating less stress) or lower hemoglobin concentration (indicating dampened response) associated with higher lifetime reproductive success...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
(no author information available yet)
[This corrects the article DOI: 10.1093/emph/eox001.].
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Lee T Gettler, Mallika S Sarma, Rieti G Gengo, Rahul C Oka, James J McKenna
Background and objectives: In many settings, partnered, invested fathers have lower testosterone than single men or fathers who are not involved in caregiving. Reduced testosterone has been identified as a risk factor for multiple chronic diseases, and men's health also commonly varies by life history status. There have been few tests of whether variation in testosterone based on partnering and parenting has implications for men's health. Methodology: We analysed data from a US population-representative sample (NHANES) of young-to-middle aged US men (n = 875; mean age: 29...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
Birgitte Hollegaard, Jacob A Lykke, Jacobus J Boomsma
Background and objectives: Pre-eclampsia often has detrimental health effects for pregnant women and their fetuses, but whether exposure in the womb has long-term health-consequences for children as they grow up remains poorly understood. We assessed overall morbidity of children following exposure to either mild or severe pre-eclampsia up to 30 years after birth and related disease risks to duration of exposure, i.e. the time from diagnosis to delivery. Methodology: We did a registry-based retrospective cohort study in Denmark covering the years 1979-2009, using the separate diagnoses of mild and severe pre-eclampsia and the duration of exposure as predictor variables for specific and overall risks of later disease...
2017: Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health
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