Why do we get sick? Read Randolph Nesse's book on evolutionary medicine to learn about the origins of human disease, and how Darwinian. Why we get sick: The new science of darwinian medicine. by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams Times Books, $ hbk (xi + pages) ISBN. The next time you get sick, consider this before picking up the aspirin: your body may be doing exactly what it's supposed to. In this ground-breaking book, two.


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Why We Get Sick by Randolph M. Nesse, MD, George C. Williams |

Their strategy is, to why we get sick it crudely, spray and pray throughout life; any male that ceased reproduction early would be at a large reproductive fitness disadvantage. Cue joke about just running faster away from lion than the slowest person Some genes may do the opposite of the above, conferring advantages throughout adult life at some cost.

Gout is caused by urate, which is an antioxidant that scavenges radical oxygen species.

Might be interesting to why we get sick decreased senescence with gout sufferers. Our organ systems remarkably seem to decay their reserve capacity at the same rate — heart, lungs, kidneys, neurons.

Any organ that prematurely fails before the others would be strongly selected against.

They grow frail enough that any insult to one may spell death. Legacies of Evolutionary History Evolution is path dependent, making incremental changes on what came before. This can why we get sick to some local maxima that are not global maxima. In all vertebrates, esophagus and trachea have the same input the mouthwhich can lead to choking.

This resulted from an early why we get sick ancestor that used the same tube for both respiration mere passive gas exchange and digestion.

From this starting point, local optimization led to accessory openings for air breathing at nostrils at edge of snout, then shortening the intersection of nostrils into back of throat.

Why We Get Sick: the New Science of Darwinian Medicine

Insects and mollusks have complete separation Our retina is inside-out, why we get sick by a layer of blood vessels and nerves, an artifact of positioning in transparent animals. To overcome the blind spots of vessels, our eyes perform microsaccades in fractions of seconds to form a complete picture.

Promotes detached retina, vs squid eyes that have retina anchored from below by nerve fibers.


Appendix was used for digestion as caecum, but now mainly causes appendicitis. Interestingly, if the why we get sick gets too small, it is more prone to bursting, since swelling is more likely to burst a long thin appendix than a large one. Thus there is a counterforce to gradual reduction of appendix size.

Other vestigial traits might be maintained because further diminishing them increases vulnerability to disease.

Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine

Childbirth process has to deal with increased skull size, limited by constraint of fitting through pelvic ring of bone. Might otherwise design uterus to be below pelvis.

Problems with becoming bipedal Lower back pain from compressive forces Knees, ankles, feet subject to different forces than quadrupeds Abdominal viscera designed to hang from upper wall of abdominal cavity The increased size of modern humans might cause blood pressure problems, as an overcorrection for We have two why we get sick and one heart, like all vertebrates.

In heart muscle is too weak to pump fully, congestion happens. Consider major aspects of modern society to which we may not be adapted. Staying sedentary most of day early humans squatted more Artificial lighting most of day, then periodic intense bouts of sun exposure Nuclear family largely separate from other families Even further, transient caretakers nannies, day care Large exposure to diverse strangers Jet lag Lack of exposure to outdoors, natural light Addictive, endless information customized to us Lack of food resource scarcity Defense against internal parasites and bacteria Worm parasites stimulate local IgE why we get sick, and IgE is protective against parasite infection Yet the inverse may be true: