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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. To facilitate the learning of evolutionary principles, concepts derived from evolutionary science that medical students and professionals should understand are outlined. These concepts are designed ...

Contributors
Graves, Joseph L., Reiber, Chris, Thanukos, Anna, et al.
Created Date
2016-10-15

It has long been accepted that modern reproductive patterns are likely contributors to breast cancer susceptibility because of their influence on hormones such as estrogen and the importance of these hormones in breast cancer. We conducted a meta-analysis to assess whether this ‘evolutionary mismatch hypothesis’ can explain susceptibility to both estrogen receptor positive (ER-positive) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-negative) cancer. Our meta-analysis includes a total of 33 studies and examines parity, age of first birth and age of menarche broken down by estrogen receptor status. We found that modern reproductive patterns are more closely linked to ER-positive than ER-negative breast ...

Contributors
Aktipis, C. Athena, Ellis, Bruce J., Nishimura, Katherine K., et al.
Created Date
2014-11-11

In a meta-analysis published by myself and co-authors, we report differences in the life history risk factors for estrogen receptor negative (ER−) and estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancers. Our meta-analysis did not find the association of ER− breast cancer risk with fast life history characteristics that Hidaka and Boddy suggest in their response to our article. There are a number of possible explanations for the differences between their conclusions and the conclusions we drew from our meta-analysis, including limitations of our meta-analysis and methodological challenges in measuring and categorizing estrogen receptor status. These challenges, along with the association of ...

Contributors
Aktipis, C. Athena, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Department of Psychology, et al.
Created Date
2016-05-21

Risk factors for breast cancer are often confusing and contradictory. Discrepancies are likely due to different subtypes having divergent risk factors. An important distinction between breast cancer subtypes is hormone-receptor status. Compared to women diagnosed with estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer, those with estrogen receptor negative (ER−) tumors are usually diagnosed at a younger age and have a higher mortality [1]. Few studies have attempted to explain ‘why’ breast cancer subtypes have different risk factors.

Contributors
Hidaka, Brandon H., Boddy, Amy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, et al.
Created Date
2016-01-18

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. To facilitate the learning of evolutionary principles, concepts derived from evolutionary science that medical students and professionals should understand are outlined. These concepts are designed ...

Contributors
Graves, Joseph L., Reiber, Chris, Thanukos, Anna, et al.
Created Date
2016-10-15

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. Sleep ...

Contributors
Nesse, Randolph, Finch, Caleb E., Nunn, Charles L., et al.
Created Date
2017-01-24

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. As part of a strategy to insure their own survival and reproduction, helminths exert multiple cardio-protective ...

Contributors
Gurven, Michael D., Trumble, Benjamin, Stieglitz, Jonathan, et al.
Created Date
2016-09-25