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Mismatch

The Lifestyle Diseases Timebomb

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Paperback published by Oxford University Press, Incorporated

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About This Book
Our bodies evolved to allow our ancestors the best chance of survival as hunter-gatherers in the Savannah. Our brains, on the other hand, have allowed us to develop complex societies, cultures, and lifestyles, far removed from those of our ancestors. As a result, write Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson inMismatch, we have created a modern, artificial world that is painfully out of tune with our evolved bodies.

In a compelling narrative that begins with the Sherpa in Nepal, Gluckman and Hanson, both leading medical scientists, draw on the latest research, bringing together concepts from evolutionary biology, developmental science, medicine, anthropology and ecology to describe the nature of this mismatch, its consequences, and how we may counter it. The authors reveal that this mismatch has led to the current deadly explosion in "lifestyle" diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and it may well lead to increasingly frequent epidemics. There are broader consequences too for societies, such as the falling age of puberty, with its attendant mismatch with psychological maturity, and at the other end of life, the implications of increasing longevity. Is there any way out? Yes, say the authors. They propose that intervention in early human development, alongside a better focus on the health of potential mothers, can make future generations better suited to the modern world.

In this remarkable and lucidly written book, Gluckman and Hanson identify a profound and growing problem that we ignore at our peril.
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Our bodies evolved to allow our ancestors the best chance of survival as hunter-gatherers in the Savannah. Our brains, on the other hand, have allowed us to develop complex societies, cultures, and lifestyles, far removed from those of our ancestors. As a result, write Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson inMismatch, we have created a modern, artificial world that is painfully out of tune with our evolved bodies.

In a compelling narrative that begins with the Sherpa in Nepal, Gluckman and Hanson, both leading medical scientists, draw on the latest research, bringing together concepts from evolutionary biology, developmental science, medicine, anthropology and ecology to describe the nature of this mismatch, its consequences, and how we may counter it. The authors reveal that this mismatch has led to the current deadly explosion in "lifestyle" diseases such as diabetes and obesity, and it may well lead to increasingly frequent epidemics. There are broader consequences too for societies, such as the falling age of puberty, with its attendant mismatch with psychological maturity, and at the other end of life, the implications of increasing longevity. Is there any way out? Yes, say the authors. They propose that intervention in early human development, alongside a better focus on the health of potential mothers, can make future generations better suited to the modern world.

In this remarkable and lucidly written book, Gluckman and Hanson identify a profound and growing problem that we ignore at our peril.
Product Details
Paperback (272 pages)
Published: April 7, 2008
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
ISBN: 9780199228386
Other books byPeter Gluckman
  • Principles of Evolutionary Medicine

    Principles of Evolutionary Medicine
    Evolutionary science is critical to an understanding of integrated human biology and is increasingly recognized as a core underpinning discipline by medical and public health professionals. Advances in the fields of genomics, epigenetics, developmental biology and epidemiology have led to the growing realization that incorporating evolutionary thinking is essential for medicine to achieve its full potential. This is the first integrated and comprehensive textbook to explain the principles of evolutionary biology from a medical perspective and to focus on how medicine and public health might utilize evolutionary biology. It is written in a style which is accessible to a broad range of readers, whether or not they have had formal exposure to evolutionary science. Principles of Evolutionary Medicineis divided into three sections: the first provides a systematic approach to the principles of evolutionary biology as they apply to human health and disease, using examples specifically relevant to medicine. It incorporates chapters on evolutionary processes, molecular evolution, the evolution of humans, life history theory, and evolutionary-developmental biology. The second part illustrates the application of these principles to our understanding of nutrition and metabolism, reproduction, combatting infectious disease and stress, and human behaviour. The final section provides a general framework to show in practical terms how the principles of evolutionary medicine can be applied in medical practice and public health. This novel textbook provides the necessary toolkit for doctors and other health professionals, medical students and biomedical scientists, as well as anthropologists interested in human health, to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying human health and disease.

    Fat, Fate, and Disease

    Fat, Fate, and Disease
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    'Why are we losing the war against obesity and chronic disease?' This is the simple question Peter Gluckman and Mark Hanson ask, exploring the dominant myth that the exploding epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes can be tackled by focusing on adult life styles. Addressing the flawed approach of the weight-loss industry, they explain why a continued focus simply on diet and exercise will fail. Highlighting the implications of the growing burden of these problems in the developing world, they show that the scientific enterprise ignores the reality of the social, cultural, and biological determinants that make different populations and people respond differently to living in the modern nutritionally rich world. Gluckman and Hanson review the overwhelming scientific evidence that much of the problem emerges in early life and even before birth, identifying that to address these issues requires considering development in two dimensions - a life course approach and addressing the developmental challenges of countries emerging through the socioeconomic transition. Asking why the major global bodies and vested interests fail to consider these dimensions and continue with failed approaches, they conclude by discussing the complex interactions between health and the food industry, and suggest that the food industry must be co-opted as an ally in this battle, providing a clear pathway forward.

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