Notices
Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Evolution and Medicine

  1. #1 Evolution and Medicine 
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    510
    What contributions do you think evolution has given to medicine?

    This guy thinks none:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/03...doctor_to.html

    What do you think?


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Time Lord
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    5,328
    I think evolution's pretty relevent to the doctors who routinely push flu vaccines and antibiotics on a basically healthy population.


    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    2,256
    Well evolution is why we can research proteins in mice and fruit flies and learn where we should look inside humans to study disease.

    For most general practitioners this means they probably don't need to understand evolution. Someone involved in epidemiology or immunology would have greater need. If we are to properly understand how disease causing organisms change over time, we need to understand the evolution of viruses and bacteria.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    Forum Freshman Incoming Dessert's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    North Yorkshire, England
    Posts
    81
    I'd be interested to see where he got his statistics about doctors' beliefs from. They might not be wrong, but even so, it'd be nice to see. You can find statistics to support everything these days...
    The wise man believes half of what he reads. If he knew which half to believe, he'd be a much wiser man.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Montreal
    Posts
    2,256
    It doesn't surprise me, I've seen a few documentaries commenting on the general lack of understanding of evolution in the medical community. A good many doctors are quite old and received their degrees before life sciences started to become more integrated at universities.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    Forum Masters Degree Golkarian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    510
    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    It doesn't surprise me, I've seen a few documentaries commenting on the general lack of understanding of evolution in the medical community. A good many doctors are quite old and received their degrees before life sciences started to become more integrated at universities.
    At UBC evolutionary biology is now a prerequisite course for med school. But I suppose that's new.

    As someone who grew up while evolution was taught in high schools (even my Christian one), it always surprises me how little it was taught in the past.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7 Re: Evolution and Medicine 
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    2,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Golkarian
    What contributions do you think evolution has given to medicine?

    This guy thinks none:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2007/03...doctor_to.html

    What do you think?
    That's a creationism website. They generally don't mind lying as long as they're doing it for Jesus.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    2
    Physics, chemstry, molecular biology arent requiered for medicine (you can still be a doctor ignoring all these and follow guidlines etc), that doesnt mean if you are a doctor you dont need to know about evolution. Evolution is a way of thinking and better understanding the living organisms around you and i am sure in the future this way of thinking will help a lot of scientist to understand important mechanisms in life and so to improve medicine!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Posts
    20
    Doctors may not need to understand evolution to do things like give proscriptions, but it's pretty foolish to pretend that knowledge of evolution hasn't shaped the health industry in regards to things such as bacteria and viruses.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    New Zealand
    Posts
    4,843
    The branch of medicine where a knowledge of evolution is absolutely critical, is medical microbiology. Microorganisms have very short generation times, so their rate of evolution is massively greater than that of long lived animals. It is so fast that it can be observed in real time in the laboratory, and medical microbiologists are only too aware of its workings.

    Take the treatment of tuberculosis. This disease is caused by a bacterium. Mycobacterium tuberculae. Treatment is by antibiotics, but the treatment time is 12 months. Patients will show massive improvement on antibiotics well before the 12 months is up, and will often quit while they still have viable bacteria in their systems. The disease flares up again, and they do a second course, which they also stop early. Since people are often stupid, this can happen several times in one patient, and that can be enough for evolution to hit, making the bacterium immune to those antibiotics.

    Knowing how evolution works is necessary to design treatment regimens that do not involve the wrong kind of evolution occurring in pathogenic microorganisms.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11 Evolution and Aging Medicine 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    6
    There is a new web site that discusses the connection between evolution theory and medicine directed at age-related diseases.

    http://www.programmed-aging.org/

    According to them, evolution theory is critical to theories of aging that in turn are critical to developing treatments and methods for preventing age-related diseases like cancer.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Posts
    30
    I know this statement is somewhat baseless, but of course evolution is relevant to medicine. Both in the individual applications of evolution to medicine, and in the way that a good understanding of evolution allows you a different perspective on all science which is arguably beneficial.

    Onto a more solid argument, in my studies I've found that the two most common places evolution can be found in medical practice and science is when you're talking about immunity and diseases with a genetic component (which these days seems to be pretty much all of them). Working out why we've evolved these genetic defects can be a powerful tool in working out ways to fights them, and understanding population based evolutionary biology is essential in understanding pathogens.

    One good example of this is antibiotics. At first, many were surprised that bacteria developed immunities to antibiotics so quickly but they shouldn't have been. Antibiotics are for the most part based off of defense mechanisms of other organisms (such as penicillin from fungi), which have been developed into pharmaceuticals 100x the strength of their natural counterparts. The importance of this is that if the defense mechanisms were already there, then the bacteria had already started forming countermeasures. So when we started using antibiotics all the bacteria had to do was increase the strength of the already present immunities. Much research is being done into developing novel antibiotics, rather than ones copied from nature, as bacteria would theoretically not have any latent resistance to these and would take a long time to develop novel countermeasures to them, and to then strengthen them.

    A good understanding of evolution can help you understand anatomy as well, which is otherwise the single most boring thing you'll ever learn. It give insight out dentition (comparing the teeth of a carnivore to an omnivore, whose teeth have to be formed in a way that they can both rip meat and grind vegetation) to the form of our knee joints in comparison to a quad-aped. Some would simply call this comparative animal biology, but personally I think comparative animal biology is just a down stream study of evolution.

    Another interesting application is why humans have trouble during child birth (we have evolved large brains, which in turn has caused our heads to be just a bit too large to comfortable fit through a woman's birth canal). There's the benefit in increased intelligence of increasing brain growth during gestation, which in turn puts evolutionary pressure for a woman's hips to widen. However wider hips lead to lower levels of mobility, and that means you're more likely to be eaten/less likely to catch your food as well as other things such as being able to carry less etc. Smaller hips allow for better mobility, so there's evolutionary pressure to shrink the hips. Modern day women can be though of as an equilibrium between these two evolutionary pressures.

    Now as many have said already, to your average GP most of this is probably irrelevant but to a researcher or a specialist the evolutionary basis of disease and health is important.

    Hope that was alright for a first post.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13 the truth is rigth here! 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    earth
    Posts
    1
    the pain that you feel is the love that you withhold!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Freshman AlphaMuDelta's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    24
    Medicine will eventually allow us to control our own evolution by directly altering our genes or at least phasing the unhealthy genes out of the pool.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •