Evolutionary medicine: the future looking at the past.

Serafim Carvalho, Margarida Rosado


Evolutionary medicine is an emergent basic science that offers new and varied perspectives to the comprehension of the human health and disease, considering them as a result of a gap between our modern lives and the environment where human beings evolve. This work's goals are to understand the importance of the evolutionary theories on concepts of health and disease, providing a new insight on medicine investigation. This bibliography review is based on Medline and PsycINFO articles research between 1996 and 2007 about review and experimental studies published in English, using the key words evolutionary and medicine, psychiatry, psychology, behaviour, health, disease, gene. There were selected forty-five articles based on and with special interest on the authors' practice. There were also consulted some allusive books. The present human genome and phenotypes are essentially Palaeolithic ones: they are not adapted to the modern life style, thus favouring the so called diseases of civilization. Fitting evolutionary strategies, apparently protective ones, when excessive, are the core syndromes of many emotional disruptive behaviours and diseases. Having the stone age's genes, we are obliged to live in the space age. With the evolutionary approach, postmodern medicine is detecting better the vulnerabilities, restrictions, biases, adaptations and maladaptations of human body, its actual diseases and its preventions and treatment.

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