Randolph M. Nesse
Resources on Darwinian/Evolutionary Medicine
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Global resources

The Evolution and Medicine Review
A web home for everything related to evolution and medicine

Henry Stewart Lectures on evolution and medicine
32 talks with slides -  On DVD or the Web


Best Introductions to the topic

Nesse, RM: Evolution: Medicine's Most Basic Science, The Lancet, 2008
A very short simple introduction

Nesse & Dawkins: Evolutionary medicine chapter in Oxford Textbook of Medicine, 2010

Very short practical overview

Nesse RM, Stearns SC: The Great Opportunity: Evolutionary Applications in Medicine.  Evolutionary Applications, 1 (1): 28- 48, 2008
This is the most complete recent overview of the field, with an emphasis on how evolution can be useful in medicine and public health.  

Nesse RM, Bergstrom CT, Ellison PT, Flier JS, Gluckman P, Govindaraju DR, Niethammer D, Omenn GS, Perlman RL, Schwartz MD, Thomas MG, Stearns SC, Valle D. Making evolutionary biology a basic science for medicine. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.November 16, 2009(online in advance of print):-, 2009.

Based on the work of a group at the Berlin Institute of Advanced Study and a PNAS meeting in 2009; a group of distingished biologists and physicians offer their advice about what doctors need to learn about evolution, why, and how to provide it.

Nesse, RM: Maladaptation and natural selection. Quarterly Review of Biology 80(1):62-70, 2005.
This article, written to honor George Williams, is my clearest statement of the opportunities and challenges that come from  trying  to discover why aspects of the body leave us vulnerable to disease.


Nesse RM, Williams GC: Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine, Vintage Books, New York, 1995. Also available in  German, Italian, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish.
This book develops the main ideas in an engaging style. Intended for general readers, it has been widely adopted for courses in general  biology, as well  as more specialized courses in Darwinian medicine.

Evolution and Medicine video of an interview with Randolph Nesse, conducted by Richard Dawkins for a UK television program.
This is the unedited video, now viewed on You Tube over 30,000 times.
 




Articles and Chapters
Preferred resources are in boldface type


Williams GW, Nesse RM: The dawn of Darwinian medicine. The Quarterly Review of Biology, 66:1-22, 1991.
This is the original article.

Nesse RM and GC Williams. Evolutionary biology in the medical curriculum: What every physician should know. Bioscience 47: 664-666, 1997.
Our first go at curriculum recommendations.

Nesse RM, & Williams, GC Evolution and the Origins of Disease. Scientific American, 29 (5): 86-93, 1998.
Probably the best very brief introduction.

Nesse RM Research designs that address evolutionary questions about medical disorders. pp. 16-26 in Evolutionary Medicine, S. Stearns. New York, Oxford University Press, 1999.
I have become preoccupied with standards of evidnce for testing evolutionary hypotheses about disease.  This is an early exploration of the challenges.   See more below on this topic. 

Nesse RM, Williams, GC On Darwinian medicine. Life Science Research 3 (1): 1-17, 1999.
A fairly complete overview, published in China

Nesse, RM On the difficulty of defining disease: A Darwinian perspective. Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 4:37-46, 2001.
Scores of articles try to define disease. This one offers an evolutionary view of why the question  is so challenging, and a biologically based answer to the question.  

Nesse, RM: How is Darwinian medicine useful? Western Medical Journal, 174: 358-359, 2001.
A very brief article on the utility of Darwinian medicine

Nesse, RM: Medicine's missing basic science. The New Physician, Dec. 2001: 8-10.
An introduction for medical students

Nesse RM, Schiffman JD: Evolutionary Biology in the Medical School Curriculum. BioScience 53 (6): 585-587, 2003.
A more sophisticated approach to the role of evolution in medical education, with data from 50 medical schools.

Nesse, RM: Natural selection and the regulation of defensive responses. Evolution and Human Behavior, 26(1) 88-105, 2005.
This article applies signal detection theory to the question of how selection shapes systems that regulate defenses such as fever and pain and concludes that  inexpensive defenses are often expressed in situations when they are not needed.  This  Smoke Detector Principle, has important clinical implications.

Nesse, RM: Maladaptation and natural selection. Quarterly Review of Biology 80(1):62-70, 2005.
This article, written to honor George Williams, is my clearest statement of the opportunities and challenges that come from  trying  to discover why aspects of the body leave us vulnerable to disease.

Nesse RM, Weder A: Darwinian medicine: What evolutionary medicine offers to endothelium researchers. In Endothelial Biomedicine, Edited by William Aird, Cambridge University Press, 122-129, 2007.
The endothelium is crucial to health, but several trade-offs make it vulnerable to diseases including atherosclerosis.

Nesse RM, Bhatnagar S, Young, E: The evolutionary origins and functions of the stress response, The Encyclopedia of Stress, Second Edition, Edited by George Fink, Academic Press: San Diego, 2007, 965-970.
Much stress research proceeds as if stress is abnormal. This chapter reviews the origins and useful functions of the stress response.

Nesse RM: The importance of evolution for medicine. Chapter 23 in Evolutionary Medicine, Edited by Trevathan W, Smith EO & McKenna, JJ, Oxford University Press, 416-232, 2007.
This chapter emphasizes  the history and basic principles  of Darwininian medicine. It includes a discussion of  Darwinian versus evolutionary medicine, and, most importantly, an outline useful for testing evolutionary hypotheses in medicine, and a list of common serious mistakes

Nesse RM: How to Test an Evolutionary Hypothesis About Disease, 2007.
This is the table from the above article, especially useful for students writing papers on evolution and medicine. 

Nesse RM, Stearns SC, Omenn GS: 2006 Medicine needs evolution (editorial). Science 311:1071.
A brief editoral that has had wide influence.

Stearns SC, Nesse RM, Haig D: Introducing evolutionary thinking for medicine, Chapter 1 in Evolutionary Biology in Health and Disease, Edited by Stephen Stearns & Jacob Koella, Oxford University Press, 3-15, 2007.
This chapter introduces the second edition of the  volume edited by Stearns and Koella.

Nesse RM, Stearns SC: The Great Opportunity: Evolutionary Applications in Medicine.  Evolutionary Applications, 1 (1): 28- 48, 2008
This is the most complete recent overview of the field, with an emphasis on how evolution can be useful in medicine and public health.  

Nesse, RM: Evolution: Medicine's Most Basic Science, The Lancet, 2008
A very short, simple introduction


Web lectures

An interview of Randolph Nesse conducted by Richard Dawkins for a UK television program on evolution and medicine. This is the unedited video, now viewed on You Tube over 30,000 times.  
Case Western University‚Äôs Year of Darwin: The Great Opportunity: New Evolutionary Applications in Medicine  

Podcast of an Australian Broadcasting Corporation  interview on evolution and medicine, with some emphasis on depression and other mental disorders.  (right click to download in MP3 format)  Transcript also available on the ABC website.

Darwinian Medicine: The Pleasures and Perils of New Questions Lecture at a Symposium: Darwinian Evolution Across the Disciplines Realplayer version of talks from a Dartmouth Interdisciplinary Symposium October 29-30, 1999, Dartmouth College.

Evolution: The missing basic science that brings psychiatry coherence and deeper empathy.  American Psychiatric Association Distinguished Psychiatrist Lecture 2005, recorded in MP3. (right click to download)

See other lectures at http://EvolutionAndMedicine.org and at http://HSTalks.com/evomed