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Why do we get sick?

Is our tendency to "fix" our bodies with medicine keeping them from working exactly as they're supposed to? Two pioneers of the emerging science of Darwinian medicine argue that illness is part and parcel of the evolutionary system and as such, may be helping us to evolve towards better adaptation to our environment.

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Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine Why We Get Sick:
The New Science of Darwinian Medicine

by George C., Phd Williams, Randolph Nesse
Paperback (1996)

Although they realize that evolution selects not for health but for reproductive success, the Darwinian physicians of Nesse and Williams' trope see the body as "a bundle of careful compromises."

These Darwinians also see trouble-causing genes as those that combine good and bad features because they have not adapted completely from their Stone Age purposes to the diverse demands of today's environment and ways of living. Physicians should look for the evolutionary, not the proximate, causes of disease, Darwinians say. For example, the gene that causes sickle-cell anemia, which is most often seen in malaria-ridden areas, actually protects the individual who has it from malaria (and now, apart from in areas endangered by malaria, this gene is decreasing in frequency). When physicians look at allergy, cancer, even mental diseases, through Darwinian eyes they see and, Nesse and Williams say, will increasingly see medical problems in a new and thought-provoking light. Why We Get Sick deserves pondering by both physicians and laypersons. William Beatty From Booklist, 1995

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