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Evolution in Health and Disease - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Evolutionary Biology to Evolutionary Medicine – A Short Step Between Two Similar Ideas One does not need to perform an exhaustive study to realize that the rate of change that is exhibited within the field of medicine is rapid to say the least…
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Evolution in Health and Disease
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"Evolution in Health and Disease"

Download file to see previous pages However, another form of evolution exists with relation to disease and patient health. In fact, an entire field of study is termed as “evolutionary medicine”. As such, this particular field is interested in determining the ways in which health and disease closely mirror evolutionary biology. As a function of understanding this fact, medical health professionals and researchers of ever variety are able to formulate treatments and care plans that will more effectively speak to the needs of the patient within the framework of understanding disease from the evolutionary standpoint. As a function of seeking to understanding this particular field of study in a more full and complete manner, this analysis will define, categorize, and explore some of the key realms within which evolutionary medicine has and continues to make valuable contributions to the medical community and treatment of disease. In such a way, the study of evolutionary biology as related to the human body and the field of medicine and health is ultimately the study of change and how it is exhibited on the body as well as the pathogen, organ, or feature of the body that is targeted for treatment. When one considers evolutionary biology, one of the first items that comes to mind is of course the way that living organisms have the innate ability to shift, change, and adapt in order to survive and thrive within their environment (Trotter et al 2011, pg. 41). Ideally, this is a good thing; however, with the case of a variety of pathogens, the ability to morph, change, and alter the way in which they react to certain substances and environments means that pathogens that had been able to be treated using a variety of different means can eventually become somewhat immune to such efforts and require the medical community to actively engage and seek out new ways in which to stop the spread of disease; oftentimes utilizing entirely different means than the pathogen itself has become immune to. One of the ways that pathogens can exhibit a type of evolutionary biology with reference to a type of “learned” immunity is with respect to the way that certain pathogens survive the administration of a given antibiotic (Valles 2012, p. 256). As with the model of the natural selection and survival of the fittest, this means that those pathogens that survive the administration of the antibiotic are generally less affected by its subsequent administration than the original culture of pathogens which were first exposed. This is very much the same principle whereby humans themselves develop a type of immunity to certain diseases based upon the fact that their body’s immune system has “seen” the pathogens at an earlier date and becomes, at least in some way, resistant to them. Figure 1.0 below shows the ways in which bacteria becomes resistant to antibiotics over time. Figure 1.0 Although a natural process and merely part of evolution itself, this particular aspect of evolutionary medicine is both worrisome and troublesome for pharmacologists, researchers, and medical healthcare professionals alike as they seek to develop and utilize new strains of drugs to treat increasingly resistant pathogens. However, the fact of the matter is that not only do some pathogens become immune themselves to the drugs that doctors might administer to help the body fight them off, the most dangerous pathogens have “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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