Body By Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health And Transforms Medicine by Jeremy TaylorBody By Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health And Transforms Medicine by Jeremy Taylor

Body By Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health And Transforms Medicine

byJeremy Taylor

Hardcover | October 22, 2015

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We think of medical science and doctors as focused on treating conditions—whether it’s a cough or an aching back. But the sicknesses and complaints that cause us to seek medical attention actually have deeper origins than the superficial germs and behaviors we regularly fault. In fact, as Jeremy Taylor shows in Body by Darwin, we can trace the roots of many medical conditions through our evolutionary history, revealing what has made us susceptible to certain illnesses and ailments over time and how we can use that knowledge to help us treat or prevent problems in the future.
 
In Body by Darwin, Taylor examines the evolutionary origins of some of our most common and serious health issues. To begin, he looks at the hygiene hypothesis, which argues that our obsession with anti-bacterial cleanliness, particularly at a young age, may be making us more vulnerable to autoimmune and allergic diseases. He also discusses diseases of the eye, the medical consequences of bipedalism as they relate to all those aches and pains in our backs and knees, the rise of Alzheimer’s disease, and how cancers become so malignant that they kill us despite the toxic chemotherapy we throw at them. Taylor explains why it helps to think about heart disease in relation to the demands of an ever-growing, dense, muscular pump that requires increasing amounts of nutrients, and he discusses how walking upright and giving birth to ever larger babies led to a problematic compromise in the design of the female spine and pelvis.  Throughout, he not only explores the impact of evolution on human form and function, but he integrates science with stories from actual patients and doctors, closely examining the implications for our health.
 
As Taylor shows, evolutionary medicine allows us think about the human body and its adaptations in a completely new and productive way. By exploring how our body’s performance is shaped by its past, Body by Darwin draws powerful connections between our ancient human history and the future of potential medical advances that can harness this knowledge.
Jeremy Taylor was previously a senior producer and director for BBC Television, and he has made numerous science films for the Discovery Channel and Learning Channel, among others. He is also the author of Not a Chimp: The Hunt to Find the Genes that Make Us Human. He lives in London.
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Title:Body By Darwin: How Evolution Shapes Our Health And Transforms MedicineFormat:HardcoverDimensions:304 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.1 inPublished:October 22, 2015Publisher:University of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022605988X

ISBN - 13:9780226059884

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Table of Contents

Introduction
 
ABSENT FRIENDS
How the Hygiene Hypothesis Explains Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases
 
A FINE ROMANCE
How Evolutionary Theory Explains Infertility and Diseases of Pregnancy
 
THE DOWNSIDE OF UPRIGHT
The Relationship between Bipedalism and Orthopedic Illnesses
 
DIY EYE
How Developmental Biology Cures Blindness and Rebuts Creationism
 
HOPEFUL MONSTERS
Why Cancer Is Almost Impossible to Cure
 
A PROBLEM WITH THE PLUMBING
Why the Evolution of Coronary Arteries Makes Us Prone to Heart Attacks
 
THREE SCORE YEARS—AND THEN?
How Evolution Is Breathing New Life into Moribund
 
Dementia Research
 
Acknowledgments
 
Suggestions for Further Reading

Editorial Reviews

“Body by Darwin attempts to trace the evolutionary history of many common medical issues, including heart disease, miscarriage, dementia, cancer, and back pain, with an eye toward what evolution can tell people about the possible origins of these problems and, ultimately, strategies for treatment.  . . . Taylor succeeds in drawing provocative connections between health and evolution that add an important perspective to how people should think about the theory and practice of modern medicine. Recommended.”