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2019 UNM School of Medicine Elective

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The Evolutionary Medicine Elective for UNM Medical Students starts again this week. We will begin by discussing this paper by Steve Stearns:  Evolutionary medicine: its scope, interest, and potential. Read that article carefully prior to the first session.


Week 1 (session  one) will focus on a) life history theory, b)  tradeoffs involving the microbiome affecting obesity and allergy and c) the evolution of aging

Week 1 (session  two) is on the (relatively) recent evolution of high altitude people and what this means for oxygen therapy. We will also talk about evolutionary mistakes that doctors make.

Week 2 will cover the connection between the microbiome and the nervous system – are we manipulated by our gut microbes? Are microbes responsible for pain? What does this mean?

Week 3 will consider the microbiome as a trojan horse – what does this mean for the critically ill, surgical patients, and people exposed to heat and other stresses.

Week 4 will be a deep dive into sepsis as pathology versus adaptation to overwhelming infection. Why did Xigris, the only drug ever approved by the FDA specifically for sepsis, ultimately fail to help patients, leading to its removal from the market?  Can we harness evolutionary principles to design new treatments for sepsis? (Spoiler: yes we can!)

Categories: Uncategorized

Joe Alcock

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

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