Does Evolutionary Medicine have answers?
Health care costs in many countries of our Western World are increasing exponentially and becoming unmanageable for governments and health insurance companies. Disagreements and arguments between political parties and increasing frustration by the public are the results. The majority of health care resources are spent for the treatment of chronic diseases and their consequences of disability.
Governments are desperately seeking new ways to control costs. For therapists and people who are working and/or receiving Alternative Medicine it is clear: Health Care Costs could be reduced in large amounts through a different health care model by incorporating a system that integrates natural and preventative treatments.
According to studies of evolutionary medicine, about 90 % of all illnesses could be avoided if people lived according to their biological needs of body, mind and spirit.
The environment of our industrial countries does not agree with the nature of human beings – this growing diversity is one of the most evident bases for the exploding costs of the health care systems in our countries. The most costly diseases don’t have to exist in such large numbers. The studies concluded that about 70 percent of the health care expenses could have been avoided.
Why we are not created for the modern world.
Evolutionary medicine or Darwinian medicine is the application of modern evolutionary theory to understanding health and disease. It provides a complementary scientific approach to the present mechanistic explanations that dominate medical science, and particularly modern medical education. An international team of scientists in anthropology, medicine, biology, psychology, and geography contributed to some very interesting findings.
Together they represent an integrative and multidisciplinary approach that takes into account the dialogue between biology and culture as it relates to understanding, treating, and preventing disease.
Evolutionary medicine investigates how past adaptation of early humans to their ancestral environment now affects contemporary humans with their differences in diet, life expectancy, degree of physical exercise, and hygiene. It also studies the evolution of pathogens in terms of resistance to antibiotics and the changes to an individual’s immune system. It relates to a broad range of contemporary – especially chronic – health problems caused by stresses of modern life.
A common theme throughout Evolutionary Medicine shows examples of how biological human development conflicts with culturally based individual behaviors that affects ones health.
Evolutionary medicine investigates why we get sick. Its focus is especially on type II diabetes, arthritis, strokes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, autoimmune diseases, allergies and cancer.
Even though many of these studies are ongoing and raise even more questions, they all come to the simple conclusions; sedentary life styles, unhealthy diets, ongoing stress, social isolation and (believe it or not), too much hygiene are parts of the problems.
Scientists in Germany conducted an 8 year study investigating the lifestyle of 23 000 people. The result: A person who does at least 4 hours of extensive physical workout a week, does not smoke, has a balanced diet and was not overweight (body –mass index under 30) was much healthier. This lifestyle reduced the risk of getting one of the above mentioned illnesses by more than 78 percent. Scientist who participated in that study admitted that they did not expect such a surprising result.
The effect of physical activity and a healthy diet sounds so simple. Yet it is even today heavily underestimated. But even though more and more studies are proving these results, they are not being acknowledged by the general medical community. Physicians still have to treat symptoms of illnesses that could have been avoided.
We invented orthodontics, bracelets, surgeries and chemical drugs to be able to overcome the negative results of the modern life.
Will the evolution change us in hundreds or thousands of years to more tolerance of remote controls and hamburgers?
Nobody wants to go back to times of starving and uncontrollable epidemics. Pasteurized milk, antibiotics, canned food, robots are a blessing and our life span is longer than ever before. But unfortunately for a huge majority of people there is no life quality left – even though they live so much longer.
Examples of Evolutionary Medicine Thinking
Deformation Of Feet:
At times we need to walk without shoes, especially children. As studies have shown, wearing shoes protect us from injuries but they weaken muscles, ligaments and tendons and over time deformation of the foot structure occurs.
To build a strong jaw and healthy teeth we need to chew not solely on soft foods.
Allergies and Auto Immune Diseases
Do we have too much hygiene? Dr. Joel Weinstock, a specialist for gastroenterology at the New England Medical Center in Boston says “for hundred thousands of years people had a certain lifestyle. But during the last century this changed drastically. And some of these changes make us susceptible for diseases. Especially immune diseases are evident examples for these influences. Scientists working in the field of evolutionary medicine agree “We have to make our world a little bit less hygienic”.
Pain and fear, originally life saving mechanisms of protections, are causing the most expenses in our health care systems.
Mental illness, grief and chronic stress are the price for the general evolution of our human race and the development of our brain: For millions of years humans lived in groups and tribes and therefore are not designed for the social isolation of our modern world.
An internet search on “evolutionary medicine” will give much more information.
For more information: Barbara Rotthaler, German licensed Holistic Practitioner and Naturopath can be reached at
01 376 766 1987, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www. ChapalaHealth.com