The Evolution & Medicine Review
Zoobiquity Conference – Female Health July 4, 2002 in Lisbon–ISEMPH 2022 Pre-meeting

Zoobiquity Conference – Female Health July 4, 2002 in Lisbon–ISEMPH 2022 Pre-meeting

Zoobiquity Conference – Female Health Across the Tree of Life

July 4, 2022 – Ordem dos Médicos, Lisbon, Portugal

Zoobiquity Conferences explore the phylogenetic origins of health and illness by promoting interdisciplinary collaborations between human, animal and environmental health professionals. Hosted by the Portuguese Medical Association, this year’s conference has the theme of Female Health Across the Tree of Life and is dedicated to investigating the unique disease resistance of some females and the shared biological vulnerabilities of female animals. Women’s health challenges to be explored include ovarian and breast cancer, osteoporosis, pre-eclampsia, reproductive senescence and infertility.

Registration by June 23rd:
Professionals – €50
Students – €30
Registration after June 23rd:
Professionals – €75
Students – €50

For more information and to register, please see the program listing and registration page.

Lisbon workshop on Philosophy and EvMed – 12 places for early researchers

Lisbon workshop on Philosophy and EvMed – 12 places for early researchers

Conceptual and Philosophical Issues in Evolutionary Medicine

 Lisbon, July 2-5 2022

Organised by Theory and Method in Biosciences (University of Sydney and Macquarie University) and ImmunoConcEpT (Université de Bordeaux) with support from the John Templeton Foundation.

This four-day workshop is an opportunity for early career researchers to join field leaders in evolutionary medicine and public health (EMPH) and in the philosophy of biology and medicine for a series of intensive discussions. Rather than simply teaching the state of the field, the aim is to progress key issues in the foundations of evolutionary medicine and to encourage researchers in the philosophy of science and medicine to engage more closely with the field of EMPH.

All participants will be expected to be active participants in achieving these goals. We also hope that new collaborative relationships between philosophers and EMPH researchers will emerge from the meeting.

The workshop will run from midday Saturday July 2nd to midday Tuesday July 5th, immediately proceeding the 2022 International Society for Evolutionary Medicine and Public Health (ISEMPH) conference which commences on July 5th.

Discussion leaders will include:

Dan J. Stein (University of Capetown)
Jonathan Sholl (Université de Bordeaux)
Anya Plutynski (Washington University of St Louis)
Randolph M. Nesse (Arizona State University)
Dominic Murphy (University of Sydney)
Shane Glackin (University of Exeter)
Paul E. Griffiths (University of Sydney)
Pierrick Bourrat (Macquarie University)

Topics to be addressed will include: Framing and defining the field of EMPH; evolutionary perspectives on the distinction between the normal and the pathological; implications of evolution for psychiatry and psychiatric nosology; whether approaches to studying adaptation in EMPH are consistent with current developments in population genetics, adaptive dynamics and related fields; the interaction of biological and cultural change in explaining disease.

Twelve places for early career researchers (ECRs) are available at the workshop. Successful applicants will receive free accommodation in Lisbon for the duration of the workshop. Some funding is available to support travel by ECRs who do not have access to other funding. Applicants should have commenced or completed PhD research and should send a Curriculum Vitae and a letter of not more than one page (double spaced A4) explaining why they wish to attend the workshop. Applications should be sent to philosophy.tmb@sydney.edu.au by May 15th 2022.

2022 G.C. Williams Prize Award

2022 G.C. Williams Prize Award

The 2022 prize for the most significant article published the previous year in Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health is awarded to:

Evolutionary selection of alleles in the melanophilin gene that impacts on prostate organ function and cancer risk, by Ermini, Luca, Jeffrey C Francis, Gabriel S Rosa, Alexandra J Rose, Jian Ning, Mel Greaves, and Amanda Swain, all from The Institute of Cancer Research in London.

First author Luca Ermini, pictured above, will present the work in a plenary session at ISEMPH 2022.

The Prize Committee also recognized three other articles as finalists.

The Prize Committee included Konstantinos Voskarides (chair), Eric Shattuck, and Jessica Hoffman,

EvMed Workshop in Sicily April 19-23

EvMed Workshop in Sicily April 19-23

DARWIN IN MEDICINE: Why Evolution is relevant for research and medical practice

April 19-23, 2022 Erice, Sicily, ITALY

WORKSHOP ORGANIZERS: Martin Brϋne, MD (Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Germany) Paola Palanza, PhD (Università di Parma, Italy) Stefano Parmigiani (Università di Parma, Italy)

Full information at https://centromajorana.it/darwin2022/

The purpose of this interdisciplinary course is to understand why and how the evolutionary perspective is relevant for medicine, both in terms of research and practice (i.e. why we need “Evolutionary Medicine”). Although there is controversy about to what extent modern human populations have deviated – genetically and behaviorally – from our hunter-gatherer ancestors, growing evidence suggests that humans have continued and still continue to evolve. However, when clinicians are asked about the relevance of evolutionary theory in their disciplines, many express interest but find the approach more or less irrelevant for everyday practice. This is a profound misconception of what evolution may tell about disease development and counterstrategies. The misconception, in part, resides in the belief that human evolution has been slow and that anatomical and physiological characteristics of our species (i.e. our bauplan) have changed very little in the last 80,000 years or so. A more detailed look, however, reveals that changing ecological contingencies have turned into risk factors for somatic disease and psychological disorders. For example, adaptations to the past environments including nutritional requirements, exposure to pathogens, social issues etc. have now turned into “epidemics” of autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, several forms of cancer, depression, anxiety and other psychiatric conditions. Taken together, we believe that the understanding of evolutionary processes in medicine is not just an academic exercise, but imperative to better understand, diagnose, prevent, and treat medical conditions.

Information and Registration: http://schools.centromajorana.it/evomed2022

Club EvMed in February

Club EvMed in February

Thursday, February 10th at 12pm EST/18:00 CET
Candidate gene studies have taught us little about trait genetics but a lot about the fallibility of the scientific process

Join us for a conversation with Matt Keller, Associate Professor in the Dept. of Psychology & Neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Boulder. The candidate gene (CG) approach has been used for 30 years to investigate the influence of specific polymorphisms in genes thought a-priori to be related to complex traits. Thousands of such studies have been and continue to be conducted, most reporting significant associations. In the last 15 years, a much different approach, the genome-wide association study (GWAS), has been used to investigate nearly all common genetic polymorphisms across the genome at once. Using sample sizes orders of magnitude larger than typical CG studies, GWASs have made tens of thousands of reliable discoveries, but the effect sizes are typically much smaller than those detected in CG studies, and specific CG hypotheses have failed to replicate when directly interrogated in GWAS data. What might explain these apparent contradictions? It is possible that CG studies measure traits with higher precision or that they investigate less complex “endophenotypes,” but neither explanation holds up under scrutiny. Rather, CG studies suffer from many factors—publication bias, inconsistent methodological practices, low priors, and low power—that increase the false positive rate in any field. We argue that the many positive findings using the GC approach are largely false positives and are a humbling reminder of the fallibility of the scientific process as currently practiced.

Attendees are encouraged to read Duncan and Keller 2011, “A critical review of the first 10 years of candidate gene-by-environment interaction research in psychiatry” and Border et al. 2019, “No support for historical candidate gene or candidate gene-by-interaction hypotheses for major depression across multiple large samples.” Attendees may also be interested in a response to critique (Border et al. 2019) and a popular media article about this research (Yong). Sign up here for the meeting link: https://duke.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEodOqsqD4qGtIh9AW_utDNUiz9ubSHwDw5.

Thursday, February 24th at 12pm EST/18:00 CET: Evolutionary medicine helps explain regional differences in pandemic dynamics: immunity, symbiosis, and COVID-19

Join us for a conversation with William Parker, CEO of WPLabs, Inc., and Dawit Wolday, Associate Professor of Medicine at Mekelle University College of Health Sciences. Data have been mounting for more than 50 years pointing toward the importance of “complex eukaryotic symbionts” in immune system development and function. These symbionts include protists, cestodes and nematodes, most of which have been lost to humans in high-income countries. Such loss is a direct result of the much-needed introduction of “systems hygiene” that effectively prevents pandemics of some communicable diseases. Unfortunately, available evidence indicates that the loss of complex eukaryotic symbionts in high-income countries can be defined as an evolutionary mismatch that leads to immune dysregulation and pathologic inflammation. With the immunological effects of these symbionts in mind, the speakers predicted that the presence of complex eukaryotic symbionts in areas without extensive systems hygiene would effectively decrease the clinical impact of COVID-19. This prediction was subsequently supported strongly by epidemiological evidence and eventually borne out in a study by Tobias Rinke de Wit, Dawit Wolday and colleagues in Ethiopia. Thus, evolutionary medicine proved a useful tool in understanding and anticipating regional differences in the clinical impact of COVID-19, and points toward the vital importance of understanding symbiotic relationships in the context of evolution and medicine.

Attendees are encouraged to read Parker et al. 2021, “Between a hygiene rock and a hygienic hard place: avoiding SARS-CoV-2 while needing environmental exposures for immunity” and Wolday et al. 2021, “Effect of co-infection with intestinal parasites on COVID-19 severity: a prospective observational cohort study.” Sign up here for the meeting link: https://duke.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJ0ucOmopjkuGtEnHVSe_bx-9cfLBWb2Ir5A.