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26 news posts in Public Health

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28 Feb 2023

From anti-antibiotics to extinction therapy: how evolutionary thinking can transform medicine

by Liad Hollender, Frontiers science writer Image: Shutterstock Antibiotic resistance, cancer, and obesity are on the rise despite intense drug development efforts. To curb this trend, scientists release a research plan for evolutionary medicine, guiding the way for innovative biomedical therapies and more effective public health measures.  The word ‘evolution’ may bring to mind dusty dinosaur bones, but it impacts our health every day. For example, even though antibiotics were invented only a century ago, the evolution of antibiotic resistance is already a major concern. The rise in modern health problems such as obesity can also be traced back to evolutionary principles.    An article published in Frontiers in Science demonstrates how applying an evolutionary perspective to medicine can inspire new ways of preventing and treating disease.   “Evolutionary medicine holds promise to transform our understanding of why we get sick and strengthen our ability to protect human health,” said Dr Barbara Natterson-Horowitz of Harvard University and the University of California, Los Angeles. “We came together with experts across many fields to create an overarching research agenda for this field.”    “Our aim is to drive new biomedical innovations and effective public health measures, for everything from infectious disease and pandemics to cancer, […]


28 Feb 2023

‘We cannot change the human body, but we can change the environment’

by Liad Hollender, Frontiers science writer Dr Barbara Natterson-Horowitz (a cardiologist) and Prof Daniel Blumstein (a behavioral ecologist) were faculty members at the Los Angeles campus of the University of California for decades before they met. Since their serendipitous encounter in the mid-2000s at a lecture on evolution, the two have become prolific scientific collaborators. They are leading researchers in the emerging field of evolutionary medicine, which applies insights from ecology and evolution to drive biomedical innovation and public health reform.  Their most recent article, published in Frontiers in Science, brings together diverse experts to chart a research agenda of staggering scope. Their aim is to tackle major health challenges by applying an evolutionary perspective to everything from antibiotic resistance and drug-resistant cancers to obesity, diabetes, and other ‘modern’ diseases. We met with them to learn more about this disruptive field.    Evolution and medicine seem like very distinct disciplines. How are they related?    Barbara: There is a famous saying – ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’ by Theodosius Dobzhansky. But what is medicine if not the biology of the human body and mind? Viewing health through the lens of evolutionary biology helps explain why we […]

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20 Aug 2021

World Mosquito Day: How the pest’s diet could lead to discovery of new antimalarial drug

By Suzanna Burgelman/ PhD student and fellow Trizah Koyi Milugo, ICIPE PhD student and fellow Trizah Koyi Milugo. Image: Trizah Koyi Milugo A preventable disease, malaria still threatens millions of people around the world. World Mosquito Day raises awareness about malaria and its transmission via mosquitos. Researchers such as PhD student Trizah Koyi Milugo focus their research on malaria control and prevention and, in her case, is researching the development of a novel tool for controlling malaria transmission. In 2019, 229m clinical cases of malaria occurred and 409,000 people died of the disease, most of them children in Africa. The disease is found in more than 100 countries worldwide, but roughly 70% of the world’s malaria burden is concentrated in Africa and India. Humans get infected with the malaria virus through mosquito bites. Other than malaria, mosquitos carry an array of dangerous diseases, such as dengue, zika, and west Nile virus. Mosquitos are the world’s deadliest creature. World Mosquito Day raises awareness about the dangers of mosquitos and the devastating consequences of malaria. Trizah Koyi Milugo, a PhD student at the International Center of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), is currently researching the development of a novel tool for controlling […]

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19 Mar 2021

Tragedy of the Commons: The potential role of individualism in the spread of Covid-19

By Dr Yossi Maaravi, Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at IDC, Herzliya John David Photography / Dr Yossi Maaravi of the Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at IDC, Herzliya asks whether the phenomenon of social dilemmas and individualism resulted in worse outcomes for the Covid-19 pandemic?   Covid-19 is a real tragedy. But why did this tragedy hit some countries harder than others? While this question has recently been answered based on population age or health policy, a few months ago, my thoughts drifted to another possible explanation: ‘The tragedy of the commons’. A few months later, these thoughts led to research that has been recently published in Frontiers in Public Health. But the story of the inspiration for this research begins many years back. 16 years ago, when I was still a PhD student, I came across Garrett Hardin’s classic article, The Tragedy of the Commons. I was fascinated by the simple yet powerful phenomenon of social dilemmas described in this article. Social dilemmas are circumstances in which certain behaviors that serve the self-interest of every individual member of society might be harmful to the common good. YESSS!!! My new @FrontiersIn article is OUT!We rely on the "The Tragedy of […]