An Introduction to Why We Get Sick
A primary focus of evolutionary medicine is to understand why we get sick. In some cases, this may be a question of frequency - why hasn't natural selection eliminated our risk for this disease? In other cases, this may be a question of recent changes to disease risk - how can evolution help us understand why certain disease states are becoming more common? Sometimes this question simply pertains to overall health - why aren't we healthier, or why don't we live longer?
Evolutionary answers to these questions typically require understanding six principles.
One or more of these concepts typically underlie
evolutionary explanations for any given disease vulnerability. For this reason,
this list serves as a useful conceptual framework for students in EvMed. As
students move from novices in EvMed toward expertise, they should increasingly
think about disease in light of these different explanations.