PDF_notes_Evol_Med-1 - Medical science? Thur Feb. 12:...

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1 Thur Feb. 12: Evolutionary Medicine D2L quiz closes Feb 19 Medical science? • Medicine is practiced by clinicians, who use a vast amount of medical knowledge gained mostly through apprenticeships. • Medical knowledge is generated largely by scientists, who use the hypothesis –testing method to gain a deeper understanding of the causes underlying illness and health. Types of medical questions • Clinicians focus on proximate “how” and “what” questions with direct practical import. • Scientists focuses on less proximate “why” questions. The answers are not always of practical use in the short term, but they ultimately lead to the breakthroughs on the hardest problems. Interlude: On the overhead projector: • Chains of causation in biology • Proximal and ultimate causes – Of adaptations – Of maladaptation (e.g. disease) Basic science and medicine: • The foundation for medicine is biology. • The foundation for biology is evolution. • Therefore, it ought to pay to consider medical problems in an evolutionary context • The researchers doing so have recently created a new field: Evolutionary Medicine Evolutionary medicine questions Evolutionary medicine questions Evolutionary medicine asks why the body is designed in a way that makes us vulnerable to disease and physical ailments. The answers fall into just a few categories, and discriminating among these can illuminate the study of medicine.
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2 Biological causation: Biological causation: proximate and ultimate (1) proximate and ultimate (1) Much of biology is focused on the physical and biochemical mechanisms that are the immediate ( proximal ) causes of traits or processes: physiology, development, biochemistry, genetics, etc. Similarly, most of medicine is focused on the immediate (proximal) causes of disease Biological causation: Biological causation: proximate and ultimate (2) proximate and ultimate (2) Evolutionary biology tends to focus, instead, on ultimate causation: How evolution shaped the trait under consideration, on a time scale of many generations Similarly, Evolutionary Medicine tends to focus on the ultimate causation of disease conditions. This can yield some useful new insights Biological causation: Biological causation: proximate and ultimate (3) proximate and ultimate (3) All traits have both types of causes! A complete biological explanation requires analysis of both. It would be a mistake to focus always on one while
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This note was uploaded on 01/31/2009 for the course BIO 182 taught by Professor Chaux during the Spring '08 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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PDF_notes_Evol_Med-1 - Medical science? Thur Feb. 12:...

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