Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives: How Evolution Has Shaped Women's Health

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Oxford University Press, May 26, 2010 - Health & Fitness - 272 pages
Winner of the 2011 W.W. Howells Book Award of the American Anthropological Association How has bipedalism impacted human childbirth? Do PMS and postpartum depression have specific, maybe even beneficial, functions? These are only two of the many questions that specialists in evolutionary medicine seek to answer, and that anthropologist Wenda Trevathan addresses in Ancient Bodies, Modern Lives. Exploring a range of women's health issues that may be viewed through an evolutionary lens, specifically focusing on reproduction, Trevathan delves into issues such as the medical consequences of early puberty in girls, the impact of migration, culture change, and poverty on reproductive health, and how fetal growth retardation affects health in later life. Hypothesizing that many of the health challenges faced by women today result from a mismatch between how their bodies have evolved and the contemporary environments in which modern humans live, Trevathan sheds light on the power and potential of examining the human life cycle from an evolutionary perspective, and how this could improve our understanding of women's health and our ability to confront health challenges in more creative, effective ways.
 

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User Review  - bodhisattva - LibraryThing

An excellent look at women's health from an evolutionary medicine perspective: Chapter Titles: Introduction Are We Grown Up Yet? Read full review

Contents

What Does Evolution Have to Do with Womens Health?
3
1 Are We Grown Up Yet?
23
2 Vicious Cycles
41
Why Cant Everyone Just Get Along?
62
4 Staying Pregnant
75
5 Welcome to the World
90
6 The Greasy Helpless OneHourOld Human Newborn
108
7 Women Are Defined by Their Breasts
122
8 But Women Are More Than Breasts
145
9 If Reproduction Is What Its All About Why Does It Stop?
156
10 What Good Are Old Women? Quite a Lot Thank You
171
11 Implications for Womens Health in the 21st Centuryand Preventing the Epidemiological Collision
185
Notes
197
References
218
Index
249
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About the author (2010)

Wenda Trevathan, PhD, is the Regents Professor of Anthropology at New Mexico State University. A biological anthropologist whose research focuses on the evolutionary and biocultural factors underlying human reproduction, she published Evolutionary Medicine and Health: New Perspectives in 2008 with OUP.

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