Should we be getting more sun, not less? Should pregnant women be encouraged to eat more fish rather than less? Why should we be letting our children get dirty and expose them to as many animals as we can? Is it safe to go out for a walk without carrying a bottle of water to stave off dehydration?
Evolutionary medicine offers answers to these questions which may surprise you. In Evolution Rx Dr. William Meller applies the findings of evolution to some of the most common health problems we face today, and in the process debunks much conventional wisdom and provides practical advice to help us live longer, healthier lives.
Through 25 years of medical practice and 10 years of teaching at the University of California at Santa Barbara, Dr. Meller has pioneered the application of the latest findings in paleontology, archeologic anthropology, ethnography and molecular genetics to our every day lives. The results will astound you. When looked at through an evolutionary perspective it appears that many of our most common health practices and beliefs actually work against us. In many cases coughing and sneezing is the worst thing we can do when we have a cold, stretching causes more injuries than it cures, most cancers are caused by voluntary behaviors over which we have complete control, and avoiding the sun can even contribute to a greater risk of skin cancer!
These conclusions, and more than 100 similar remarkable findings, arise from the study of our evolutionary past. Our early human ancestors, after splitting off from the family tree that led to apes and chimps more than 6 million years ago, endured a wide range of environmental conditions many of which we no longer encounter. Their adaptations to those conditions make up our genetic heritage. In the forthcoming book Evolution Rx, and on this website, we explore the long history of human origins and see how the changing needs of our forbears have profound effects on our lives and health today.