Many people including doctors do not think of evolution as of crucial definer of how human body looks and works and why it sometimes gets sick. What is more, they do not think that not only diseases may have an evolutionary background, but also self-understanding and the way person behaves. Evolution indeed is a primary determinant of all that happens to a human body and consciousness.
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According to Lieberman, “medicine needs a dose of evolution” (Lieberman 164), and evolution is a continuous process of human body adaptations to the surrounding it lives in, so it receives the best opportunities for reproduction, health, and longevity. Bearing in mind that there is the evolutionary imprint on diseases, it would be easier to treat them because understanding evolution means understanding that not only human body adapts to certain surrounding but also disease cells do, and any disease in itself is the result of evolution (Lieberman 165).
Evolution should be borne in mind not only when it comes to treating diseases but also preventing them. When evolving, human body adapts to the environment as well as lifestyle and diet, so when one of that changes it may result in a way a body functions and a disease. This phenomenon is referred to as evolutionary mismatch (Lieberman 169).
The simplest example of mismatch disease origins is migration when a human organism is forced to function in new environmental conditions and take nourishment from new products to which it is not adapted. What can also result in a mismatch disease is a rapid development of science and the use of new medicines in treating diseases that human body is not yet used to because evolution is a slow process and it takes hundreds of years for the genes to adapt.
What also causes mismatch diseases is diet and lifestyle. Not long ago people had to grow or hunt their food and were used to being hungry most of the time but today getting food is easy. What is more, the food contains a lot of sugars and fat, so the body receives more energy than it needs thus gaining excess weight (Lieberman 253).
People also do their best to live in comfort and novelty using too many chemicals and technologies in everyday life that may as well result in mismatch diseases. “We are inadequately adapted to being too physically idle, too well fed, too comfortable, too clean” (Lieberman 349) but nevertheless more sick.
It is known as the vicious circle of too much. Sometimes a mismatch disease is not a problem; a problem is how it is taken. If habits and environment causing mismatch diseases are passed to next generation, the disease is not eradicated but becomes acceptable because the society knows how to treat it. This phenomenon is known as dysevolution (Lieberman 176).
Understanding evolution can go far beyond medicinal issues and enhance not only understanding diseases and treatment but also human’s self-concept as a representative of the species Homo sapiens and humanity in general. It is known as evolutionary psychology.
While self-consciousness is genetic and every human being is born with it, though it develops later, self-concept is a social phenomenon aimed at providing the best chances for survival and reproduction. This idea was evolving for years and has proven to be right to object because only through socialization the first Homo sapiens managed to settle the planet and find ways to survive other than hunting and gathering (Lieberman 349).
So, understanding evolution as the continuous process of adaptations can help not only be aware of the way human body operates but also how to treat it in the case of a disease. Evolution affects every single sphere of human life as well enhances self-understanding in a way that all that the person does is aimed at living as long, healthy and happy as possible. Though the body keeps on adapting to the surroundings, what has become more important is socialization, so not only medicine needs a dose of evolution but also psychology.
Lieberman, Daniel E. The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease. New York, NY: Pantheon. 2013. Print.