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Be fruitful and multiply: Fitness and health in evolutionary mismatch and clinical research

Morris, Rick (2019) Be fruitful and multiply: Fitness and health in evolutionary mismatch and clinical research. [Preprint]

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Abstract

Evolutionary mismatch is, roughly, poor fit between an organism and its environment. Researchers in evolutionary medicine have proposed mismatch as a possible cause for morbidity and mortality in contemporary Homo sapiens
populations. Mismatch hypotheses are often taken to provide an evolutionary explanation for the health outcome in question, while simultaneously offering possible interventions for researchers and clinicians to pursue. A problem: fitness outcomes and health outcomes are distinct. Natural selection operates on fitness, not on health per se. There are cases where increased health may not contribute to fitness in the modern environment. I propose an approach for using evolutionary mismatch in clinical research which sidesteps this problem. The gist of the proposal: given structural analogies between environmental causes of morbidity and environmental causes of fitness reductions, evolutionary mismatch can be used as a heuristic to shrink the space through which clinical and public health researchers must search for possible interventions in response to contemporary health problems.


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Item Type: Preprint
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Morris, Rickjemorr@ucdavis.edu0000-0002-4011-1579
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Health and Disease
Specific Sciences > Medicine
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Depositing User: Rick Morris
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2021 01:05
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2021 01:05
Item ID: 18777
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Biology
Specific Sciences > Biology > Evolutionary Theory
Specific Sciences > Medicine > Health and Disease
Specific Sciences > Medicine
General Issues > Philosophers of Science
Date: 13 June 2019
URI: http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18777

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