Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Feb 8, 2012 - Health & Fitness - 304 pages
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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 pioneers of the science of Darwinian medicine argue that illness as well as the factors that predispose us toward it are subject to the same laws of natural selection that otherwise make our bodies such miracles of design.  Among the concerns they raise:

When may a fever be beneficial?
Why do pregnant women get morning sickness?
How do certain viruses "manipulate" their hosts into infecting others?
What evolutionary factors may be responsible for depression and panic disorder?

Deftly summarizing research on disorders ranging from allergies to Alzheimer's, and form cancer to Huntington's chorea, Why We Get Sick, answers these questions and more.  The result is a book that will revolutionize our attitudes toward illness and will intrigue and instruct lay person and medical practitioners alike.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

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Why we get sick: the new science of Darwinian medicine

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Offering new insights on the failure of evolution to eradicate disease, psychiatrist Nesse and ecologist Williams offer numerous suggestions on why certain seemingly negative traits have not been ... Read full review

Contents

The Mystery of Disease
3
Evolution by Natural Selection
13
Signs and Symptoms of Infectious Disease
26
An Arms Race Without End
49
Injury
66
New Old and Everywhere
77
Defects Quirks
91
Aging as the Fountain of Youth
107
Diseases of Civilization
143
Allergy
158
Cancer
171
Sex and Reproduction
182
Are Mental Disorders Diseases?
207
The Evolution of Medicine
234
Notes
251
Index
273

Legacies of Evolutionary History
123

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About the author (2012)

Randolph M Nesse, M.D., is a practicing physcian and professor and associate chair for education and academic affairs in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School.

George C. Williams, Ph.D., is a professor emeritus of ecology and evolution at the State University at Stony Brook and editor of The Quarterly Review of Biology.

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