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Category Archive for 'evolutionary medicine'

 Many have asked if there are meetings they can attend to learn more about evolutionary medicine and to get up-to-date on the latest advances.  Two just-announced major conferences will meet this need, one in Europe, one in the USA. Both will soon be inviting abstract submissions and meeting registrations. July 30–August 1, 2015 Evolutionary Medicine […]

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Koren, Gideon, Madjunkova, Svetlana, & Maltepe, Caroline. (2014). The protective effects of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy against adverse fetal outcome—A systematic review. Reproductive Toxicology, 47(0), 77-80. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.05.012 The article considered 2367 articles and selected 16 for inclusion in a meta-analysis. They found dramatcially lowered rates of miscarriage and congential defects in women who […]

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Missing Microbes

Martin Blaser has written a terrific book, Missing Microbes,  about the dire effects of killing off the useful bacteria we evolved with.   Book excerpt here.  Jane Brody commentary here NYTimes review here and excerpted below. Genes make you … you. But where do they come from? Antibiotics save lives, but their overuse is evolving supergerms […]

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Wick, G., Jakic, B., Buszko, M., Wick, M. C., & Grundtman, C. (2014). The role of heat shock proteins in atherosclerosis. [Review]. Nat Rev Cardiol,  doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2014.91 (not open access) Vulnerability to atherosclerosis is looking more and more like a result of the trade-off between protection against infection vs. vascular preservation.  Or, is the immune response […]

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Epistasis refers to the influence of one genomic mutation or variant on the phenotypic effects of another mutation or variant.  Based on available evidence and theory, this phenomenon has a major influence on evolutionary trajectories for organisms of all sorts.  The role of epistasis has been studied primarily in the context of adaptive evolutionary change.  […]

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The evolutionary paradox and the missing heritability of schizophrenia by van Dongen, J., & Boomsma, D. I. (2013). American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B: Neuropsychiatric Genetics, 162(2), 122-136. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.b.32135 Schizophrenia is one of the most detrimental common psychiatric disorders, occurring at a prevalence of approximately 1%, and characterized by increased mortality and reduced reproduction, especially in […]

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An iTunes version of the course by Steve Stearns is now available free online, with vast supplementary material that is not available in the YouTube version.    To subscribe, launch the course on iTunes, or go to this site   Course Description

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Toxoplasma gondii is an intracellular protozoan parasite that infects many different vertebrate species asexually and undergoes a sexual cycle after infecting cats (http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/, 2013).  Parasite oocysts are potentially introduced into the human environment in cat feces.  T. gondii is of interest in clinical medicine because humans can serve as accidental intermediate hosts when they ingest […]

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After almost two years as an unofficial medical student interest group the Evolutionary Medicine Group at the Louisiana State University  School of Medicine in New Orleans  has gained official recognition by the institution.  If you know of other groups of medical students who are meeting to talk about evolutionary medicine, please add information as a comment below […]

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45 lectures from the Yale Evolutionary Medicine course taught by Stephen Stearns are now available online, open access on a special You Tube channel. This is a complete course, with high production values,  by a world leader in the field. The lecture segments are 6 to 26 minutes in length, well suited to insertion into lectures […]

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The Placental Microbiome

The placenta was long thought to be sterile, but a new study finds nucleic acid signatures of multiple species in a pattern similar to that in the oral cavity. PlacentalMicrobiome K. Aagaard, J. Ma, K. M. Antony, R. Ganu, J. Petrosino, J. Versalovic, The Placenta Harbors a Unique Microbiome. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 237ra65 (2014). A report in Nature by Katia […]

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An innovative format, Clinical Briefs cover crucial topics in just a page. They are available as html, or pdf format. All are open access.  See below and here for the first few published. Editorial Gillian Bentley Editorial Full Text (HTML) Full Text (PDF)   Elspeth V. Best and Mark D. Schwartz Fever

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The mathematician versus the malignancy An engaging story about using mathematical models to improve chemotherapy.  By Elie Dolgin Nature Medicine 20, 460–463 (2014) doi:10.1038/nm0514-460 (open access) The way in which people receive cancer therapy is pretty much the same as it’s been for decades: researchers determine the highest dose of a drug or treatment that […]

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A report from the American Academy of Microbiology that is clear, short and engaging, and open access. Executive Summary Do you think the oncologists at a cutting-edge research hospital ever sit down with local farmers? Do you think the pharmaceutical researchers developing the next generation of anti-HIV drugs spend any time with the plant scientists […]

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Germline Selection

Spermatogonial stem cells replicate and produce sperm throughout adult life, while oocyte precursors complete all of their mitotic cell divisions during fetal development and primary oocytes are arrested in meiosis at birth. Because many more rounds of cell division occur in spermatogenesis than in oogenesis, the incidence of germline mutations, and particularly of single base […]

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John W. Pepper, Barbara K. Dunn, Richard M. Fagerstrom, John K. Gohagan, and Nadarajen A. Vydelingum, “Using Systems Biology to Understand Cancer as an Evolutionary Process,” Journal of Evolutionary Medicine, vol. 2, Article ID 235678, 8 pages, 2014. doi:10.4303/jem/235678  (Open Access) Abstract:  Unsatisfactory progress in cancer medicine and prevention calls for new research approaches. Research […]

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The Foundation for Evolution, Medicine, & Public Health announces the winner of the Omenn Prize for the best article published in 2013 on a topic related to evolution in the context of medicine and public health.  The Prize Committee, Allen Rodrigo (chair), Carl Bergstrom, and Sarah Tishkoff, considered 47 articles, and awarded the prize to […]

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A prion is a protein that can adopt a conformation other than the ‘standard’ functional conformation and this alternative conformation favors self-association. The aggregation-associated conformation can then be imposed on additional copies of the protein in the original conformation.  This self-templating mechanism for propagation is known primarily for causing neurodegenerative conditions in humans and in […]

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Troubled sleep: Night waking, breastfeeding and parent–offspring conflict A target article in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health by David Haig on why infants cry at night, has  accompanying responses from Jim McKenna, Katie Hinde, Bernie Crespi, Patrick McNamara, and Jon Wilkins.  Open access Abstract: Disrupted sleep is probably the most common complaint of parents with a new […]

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This past December, science writer David Dobbs published an essay (2013) in the online magazine Aeon (aeon.co/magazine/) that purports to explain why the ‘selfish gene’ concept is outmoded and should be retired.  It elicited a good deal of commentary, and in early March, Aeon published responses (Sapolsky et al., 2014) to the original article from […]

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