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Medication-taking and loss of appetite as sickness behaviors


Wooly bear caterpillars seek out foods with plant toxins when they are parasitized. Is this self-medication behavior? Are we, like the caterpillars, predisposed to take medication when we don’t feel well.

Read:Self-Medication as Adaptive Plasticity: Increased Ingestion of Plant Toxins by Parasitized Caterpillars

And:Leaf-swallowing in Nigerian chimpanzees: evidence for assumed self-medication

Sometimes, when we get sick, we are not interested in eating at all. This loss of appetite (anorexia) is art of what has been termed “sickness behavior.” Is sickness behavior adaptive? Could anorexia, too, be adaptive?

Read: Immune Brinksmanship

Categories: Uncategorized

Joe Alcock

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

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