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Evolutionary Medicine and Health

New Perspectives

Edited by Wenda R. Trevathan, E. O. Smith, and James McKenna

Publication Date - 30 November 2007

ISBN: 9780195307061

544 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

This new volume presents twenty-three original articles that examine how human evolution relates to a broad range of contemporary health problems.


Building on the success of their groundbreaking anthology Evolutionary Medicine (OUP, 1999), Wenda R. Trevathan, E. O. Smith, and James J. McKenna provide an up-to-date and thought-provoking introduction to the field with this new collection of essays. Ideal for courses in evolutionary medicine, medical anthropology, and the evolution of human disease, Evolutionary Medicine and Health: New Perspectives presents twenty-three original articles that examine how human evolution relates to a broad range of contemporary health problems including infectious, chronic, nutritional, and mental diseases and disorders. Topics covered include disease susceptibility in cultural context, substance abuse and addiction, sleep disorders, preeclampsia, altitude-related hypoxia, the biological context of menstruation, and the role of stress in modern life. An international team of preeminent scholars in biological anthropology, medicine, biology, psychology, and geography contributed the selections. Together they represent a uniquely integrative and multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the dialogue between biology and culture as it relates to understanding, treating, and preventing disease. A common theme throughout is the description of cases in which biological human development conflicts with culturally based individual behaviors that determine health outcomes. Detailed, evidence-based arguments make the case that all aspects of the human condition covered in the volume have an evolutionary basis, while theoretical discussions using other empirical evidence critique the gaps that still remain in evolutionary approaches to health.
Evolutionary Medicine and Health: New Perspectives features an introductory overview that covers the field's diverse array of topics, questions, lines of evidence, and perspectives. In addition, the editors provide introductions to each essay and an extensive bibliography that represents a state-of-the-art survey of the literature. A companionwebsite at www.oup.com/us/evolmed offers a full bibliography and links to source articles, reports, and databases. Written in an engaging style that is accessible to students, professionals, and general readers, this book offers a unique look at how an evolutionary perspective has become increasingly relevant to the health field and medical practice.

Table of Contents

    1. Introduction and Overview of Evolutionary Medicine, Wenda Trevathan, E. O. Smith, and James J. McKenna
    PART TWO. Politics, Nutrition, and Diet
    2. Human Evolution, Diet, and Nutrition: When the Body Meets the Buffet, Bethany L. Turner, Kenneth Maes, Jennifer Sweeney, and George J. Armelagos
    3. Diabesity and Darwinian Medicine: The Evolution of an Epidemic, Leslie Sue Lieberman
    4. To Eat or What Not To Eat, That's the Question: A Critique of the Official Norwegian Dietary Guidelines, Iver Mysterud, Dag Viljen Poleszynski, Fedon A. Lindberg, and Stig A. Bruset
    5. Cow's Milk Consumption and Health: An Evolutionary Perspective, Andrea S. Wiley
    6. Not by Bread Alone: The Role of Psychosocial Stress in Age at First Reproduction and Health Inequalities, James S. Chisholm and David A. Coall
    7. Early Life Effects on Reproductive Function, Alejandra Núñez-de la Mora and Gillian R. Bentley
    8. Impaired Reproductive Function in Women in Western and "Westernizing" Populations: An Evolutionary Approach, Tessa M. Pollard and Nigel Unwin
    9. Should Women Menstruate? An Evolutionary Perspective on Menstrual-Suppressing Oral Contraceptives, Lynnette Leidy Sievert
    10. An Evolutionary Perspective on Premenstrual Syndrome: Implications for Investigating Infectious Causes of Chronic Disease, Caroline Doyle, Holly A. Swain Ewald, and Paul W. Ewald
    11. The Possible Role of Eclampsia/Preeclampsia in the Evolution of Human Reproduction, Pierre-Yves Robillard, Gustaaf Dekker, Gérard Chaouat, Jean Chaline, and Thomas C. Hulsey
    12. Breastfeeding and Mother-Infant Sleep Proximity: Implications for Infant Care, Helen Ball and Kristin Klingaman
    13. Why Words Can Hurt Us: Social Relationships, Stress, and Health, Mark V. Flinn
    14. Why Are We Vulnerable to Acute Mountain Sickness?, Cynthia M. Beall
    15. Evolution and Modern Behavioral Problems: The Case of Addiction, Daniel H. Lende
    16. After Dark: The Evolutionary Ecology of Human Sleep, Carol M. Worthman
    17. Evolutionary Medicine and Obesity: Developmental Adaptive Responses in Human Body Composition, Jack Baker, Magdalena Hurtado, Osbjorn Pearson, and Troy Jones
    18. The Developmental Origins of Adult Health: Intergenerational Inertia in Adaptation and Disease, Christopher W. Kuzawa
    19. An Evolutionary Perspective on the Causes of Chronic Diseases: Atherosclerosis as an Illustration, Paul W. Ewald
    20. Genes, Geographic Ancestry, and Disease Susceptibility: Applications of Evolutionary Medicine to Clinical Settings, Douglas E. Crews and Linda M. Gerber
    21. From Ancient Seas to Modern Disease: Evolution and Congestive Heart Failure, E. Jennifer Weil
    22. Evolution at the Intersection of Biology and Medicine, Stephen Lewis
    23. The Importance of Evolution for Medicine, Randolph M. Nesse