(R)evolutionary Medicine

human-musculature-systemConventional medicine has helped us combat many infectious diseases and does a great job of treating acute, life-threatening illnesses and injuries. However, it fails miserable when it comes to preventing and properly treating diabetes, obesity, acne vulgaris, irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease, and many of the other non-infectious, chronic health disorders that plague us in the modern world. Why? Largely because mainstream medicine has a tendency to focus on pharmaceutical treatments rather than diet and lifestyle changes. This doesn’t work when the goal is to combat the aforementioned disorders, because they aren’t caused by a specific pathogen or one single factor that can be addressed with a drug or pill.

As long as mainstream medicine doesn’t place more emphasis on evolutionary health principles and lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, microbial exposure, sun exposure, exposure to harmful substances, stress, and physical activity, it will continue to fail at addressing the true causes of our chronic modern ills. To combat these mismatch diseases, we have to turn our attention towards Darwinian/evolutionary medicine, and acknowledge that the so-called diseases of civilization don’t arise because the human body is inherently flawed, but because our genome – which was shaped through millions of years of evolution – is poorly matched to our modern environment. While this is something those who’ve been reading this blog are well aware of, the average Joe has little knowledge about these things – and his health probably suffers from it.

Since I’ve written a lot about the ramifications of evolutionary mismatches before, I’m not going to delve more into that here. Instead, for today’s post, I wanted to share a quick Ted Talk that I stumbled upon this morning. In it, Rachel Abrams, a medical doctor with a Master’s Degree in Holistic Health and Medical Sciences from the University of California-Berkeley, talks about the importance of getting back into alignment with our evolutionary nature. This talk is a great primer for someone who is new to Darwinian medicine, so if you have any friends or family members who struggle with chronic disease and/or are looking to improve their health, take the time to share this post with them by using the social media sharing buttons at the bottom.

Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    What a great speech! Thank you for this article; I hope it helps many and of course I will share it!

    • Thanks for sharing, Jennifer!

      Many, if not most, people in contemporary Western societies struggle with some kind of chronic health issue (e.g., IBS, obesity, type-2 diabetes), so I really believe this is important information to get out to a wider audience. The ancestral health movement and Darwinian medicine have gained traction these last couple of years, but it’s still a long way to go before evolutionary health wisdom and good diet and lifestyle advice reach the masses.

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