Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine


by Randolph M. Nesse and George C. Williams

This text was required in Medical Anthropology, a senior class offered at Boise State University–the concepts covered are very thought-provoking.

“The next time you get sick, consider this before picking up the aspirin: your body may be doing exactly what it’s supposed to. In this ground-breaking book, two pioneers of the science of Darwinian medicine argue that illness as well as the factors that predispose us toward it are subject to the same laws of natural selection that otherwise make our bodies such miracles of design.  Among the concerns they raise:

  • When may a fever be beneficial?
  • Why do pregnant women get morning sickness?
  • How do certain viruses “manipulate” their hosts into infecting others? [Especially apropos in today’s health climate.]
  • What evolutionary factors may be responsible for depression and panic disorder?

Deftly summarizing research on disorders ranging from allergies to Alzheimer’s, and from cancer to Huntington’s chorea, Why We Get Sick, answers these questions and more.  The result is a book that will revolutionize our attitudes toward illness and will intrigue and instruct lay person and medical practitioners alike.” Synopsis from amazon.com

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