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Evolution and Depression

We will explore adaptive and non-adaptive hypotheses for depression, fear, and anxiety during next week’s lecture. There will be a total of 4 required readings, three of which focus on links between microbiota and depressive symtpoms

The first reading is by Leif Kennair, who gave a lecture at the UNM Department of Psychology last week:
1) Kennair Evolutionary Psychology

2) The second is concerned with a bacterial cause of depression: Rook Can We Vaccinate Against Depression

3) This is a long but good paper that also proposes a pathogen source of depression: Pathos D

4) This review summarizes evidence for a microbiota-depression link: Melancholic Microbes


5) Immune links with depression: McCusker and Kelley Sickness Behavior

6) Lyte Probiotics BioEssays


Here is the NY Times link on Bernard Crespi’s work

Here is the NY Times piece on depression

Both of these are easily accessible descriptions of evolutionary ideas about these depression and autism. Here are some more scholarly articles.

This piece is a bit more digestible than last week’s reading: Badcock & Crespi

Re-read: Paradox of heritable mental disorders

Writing assignment:

Anxiety and depression often go together. Do you think that anxiety and depression are most often adaptive (beneficial to the organism) or maladaptive (harmful to the organism). In light of the readings, defend your answer.

Categories: Uncategorized

Joe Alcock

Emergency Physician, Educator, Researcher, interested in the microbiome, evolution, and medicine

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