Amyloid Beta is a Feature not a Flaw

Amyloid Beta is a Feature not a Flaw

Amyloid beta is turning out to be an effective antimicrobial not a rouge dangerous byproduct. The slowness to recognize its function illustrates  the danger of pursing only proximate explanations without thinking deeply about why selection shaped mechanisms to make such a molecule. Two new papers this month clinch the case. ALZforum offers a lovely succinct summary of these advances.

A paper by Readhead et al. published June 21 in Neuron shows herpesviruses 6 and 7 are more common in brains with Alzheimer’s than those of controls. A paper due out July 11 from the Tanzi and Moir group at Mass General clinches the case. “herpesvirus glycoprotein B binding induces Aβ fibrillization, mediating protective activities against neurotropic herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV1) and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6).” Details below.

Readhead B, Haure-Mirande JV, Funk CC, Richards MA, Shannon P, Haroutunian V, Sano M, Liang WS, Beckmann ND, Price ND, Reiman EM, Schadt EE, Ehrlich ME, Gandy S, Dudley JT. Multiscale Analysis of Independent Alzheimer’s Cohorts Finds Disruption of Molecular, Genetic, and Clinical Networks by Human Herpesvirus. Neuron 99, 1–19 

Eimer WA, Kumar DK, Shanmugam NK, Washicosky KJ, Rodriguez AS, György B, Breakefield XO, Tanzi RO, Moir RD.Alzheimer’s disease-associated β-amyloid is rapidly seeded by herpesviridae to protect against brain infection. Neuron. 2018 Jul 11.

ISEMPH Meeting Aug 1-4 CME approved for up to 29.75 hours

ISEMPH Meeting Aug 1-4 CME approved for up to 29.75 hours

The University of Utah School of Medicine has designated the Fourth Annual ISEMPH meeting for up to 29.75 hours of AMA PRA Category I Credit. The meeting also includes a special wilderness medicine preconference August 1st.

The 4th Annual International Society for the Evolution, Medicine & Public Health (ISEMPH) brings together evolutionary biologists, anthropologists, public health researchers and medical professionals to discuss the latest advances in using evolutionary biology to improve human health.  The program pdf is here. 

The meeting is Aug 1-4 in Park City, a recreation paradise just above Salt Lake City.  Register now before fees go up

PLENARY SPEAKERS

EVOLUTION OF DISGUST AS A PARASITE AVOIDANCE BEHAVIOUR
Val Curtis  London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

LEARNING AND PERTURBING THE EVOLUTIONARY MECHANISMS DRIVING THERAPEUTIC RESISTANCE IN CANCER AND PATHOGENS
Jacob Scott Cleveland Clinic

BUILDING A COSTLY BRAIN: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE EVOLUTION OF HUMAN CHILDHOOD AND THE DEVELOPMENTAL ORIGINS OF METABOLIC DISEASE
Chris Kuzawa Northwestern University

RESISTANCE EVOLUTION AND ITS MANAGEMENT IN A MULTI-DRUG HOSPITAL PATHOGEN
Andrew Read Pennsylvania State University

ADOLESCENT REPRODUCTIVE DEBUT: LIFE HISTORY TRADEOFFS IN A CLINICAL CONTEXT
Katie Hinde Arizona State University

SPECIAL CME PRE-CONFERENCE: EVOLUTION AND WILDERNESS MEDICINE:  ADAPTATION TO EXTREME ENVIRONMENTS
Joe Alcock, Chair Faculty: Cynthia Beall, Rick Henriksen, Melissa Ilardo,
Michael Lauria, Scott McIntosh, Diane Rimple, Blair Wolf

SYMPOSIUM I: EVOLUTION AND HEALTH BEHAVIOUR
Chair: Gillian Pepper
Presentations: Athena Aktipis, Bruce Ellis, Mike Gurven, Dandara Ramos

SYMPOSIUM II: COMPARATIVE ONCOLOGY
Co-Chairs: Athena Aktipis & Amy Boddy
Presentations: Lisa, Abegglen, Athena Aktipis, Amy Boddy, Valerie Harris

SYMPOSIUM III: NOVEL SOLUTIONS TO CHEMOTHERAPEUTIC RESISTANCE
Chairs: Michael Hochberg
Presentations: Sam Brown, Ben Chan, Michael Hochberg, Nina Wade

SYMPOSIUM IV: EVOLUTION AND MEDICINE IN LIGHT OF THE MICROBIOME
Chair: Seth Bordenstein
Presentations: Katherine Amato, Seth Bordenstein, Jennifer Stearns

SYMPOSIUM V: ADAPTATION AND CRITICAL CARE
Chair: Joe Alcock
Presentations: Scott Aberegg, Janelle Ayres, and John Marshall

Postdoc at Baylor

Postdoc at Baylor

The Department of Anthropology at Baylor University seeks to fill a post-doctoral fellowship focused on biomedical anthropology. This Fellow will join a growing department with interest in applied perspectives on the anthropology of health, broadly conceived. Candidates should have personal research interests that combine topics and tools from the social/behavioral and physical/life sciences to address problems relating to global/public health, human biology, and/or evolutionary medicine.  Full information at https://jobs.baylor.edu/postings/3826

Does tonsillectomy do more harm than good?

Does tonsillectomy do more harm than good?

A new study of over 1 million Danes reports increased risks of infection and allergy in a group of over 60,000 children who had tonsils or adenoids removed.

Byars, S. G., Stearns, S. C., & Boomsma, J. J. (2018). Association of long-term risk of respiratory, allergic, and infectious diseases with removal of adenoids and tonsils in childhood. JAMA Otolaryngology–Head & Neck Surgery. https://doi.org/10.1001/jamaoto.2018.0614 (open access)

The authors, all leaders in evolutionary medicine, conclude that “tonsillectomy was associated with a nearly tripled risk of upper respiratory tract diseases, and that adenoidectomy was associated with doubled risk of COPD and upper respiratory tract diseases and nearly doubled risk of conjunctivitis. Large increases in absolute risk for upper respiratory tract diseases also occurred. Smaller elevated risks for a broad range of other diseases translated into detectable increases in absolute disease risks with high prevalence in the population (infectious/parasitic, skin, musculoskeletal,andeye/adnexadiseases).”

An accompanying commentary notes the possible influence of confounding variables, such as a predisposition to infections or smoking in the home or  made infections and therefore surgery more likely, and also caused subsequent health problems. However, the probability that surgical removal of tonsils and adenoids cause later problems is high, and the documented benefits are low. Like many medical treatments, tonsillectomy is implemented when a problem peaks, ensuring that simple regression to the mean will create the illusion the treatment is effective.

Zoobiquity Colorado Oct 4-5

Zoobiquity Colorado Oct 4-5

A very interesting conference Oct 4-5 for those interested in evolution, health and  disease in diverse species.  Full info here. 

Zoobiquity Colorado: Connecting Human and Animal Health through Regenerative Medicine

This conference aims to uncover the astonishing connection between human and animal health by highlighting laboratory and clinical research of human and veterinary investigators and fostering future collaboration across disciplines.