Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Evolution of Diseases of Modern Environments: my report now up

Many of you know that I attended a conference in Berlin last month entitled "Evolution and Diseases of Modern Environments" that was convened by Randolph Nesse and dove-tailed with the 350th World Health Summit. Ben Campbell (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) and I were the rapporteurs for our group "Early Development and Reproductive Function." Our report is now online at The Evolution and Medicine Review and can be found here.

A highlight to get you over there:

The fertility group’s main conclusion was that we need to bring our particular approach to variability to medicine.... The main problem we note is that we are uncomfortable making strong recommendations to medicine regarding reproductive health because we do not yet have enough baseline data of the normal range of variation within and between women and within and between populations. The focus in funding mechanisms is on basic molecular science and disease-focused science, and our discipline falls between these two extremes. Thus we first propose a greater emphasis on research that assesses normal variation in the following ways: longitudinal, repetitive sampling, an assessment of lifestyle factors, documentation of ethnic and geographic variation, and a focus on the major lifestyle transitions as these can be periods of major variability.... Finally, we wanted to point out that the population that the majority of our data is western and economically developed, and that they represent the most extreme and highest concentrations of ovarian hormones (and likely other indicators of reproductive function).


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