Category Archives: Evolutionary Medicine

Familial Mediterranean fever

FMF is a recessive hereditary disorder caused by mutations in MEFV, the gene for the protein pyrin. Pyrin, produced in white blood cells,  inhibits inflammation, and the FMF mutations unleash inflammation to varying degrees. The disease manifests in painful inflammatory … Continue reading

Posted in Ashkenazi Jews, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Uncategorized | 9 Comments

Faster than Fisher

There’s a simple model of the spread of an advantageous allele:  You take σ, the typical  distance people move in one generation, and s,  the selective advantage: the advantageous allele spreads as a nonlinear wave at speed  σ * √(2s).  … Continue reading

Posted in Denisovans, Dietary adaptations, European Prehistory, Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics, Indo-European, Linguistics, Neanderthals, Skin color | Tagged | 77 Comments

The Evil Dead

Someone asked me to go over a chapter he wrote, about the impact of certain customs on human health. One of them was the health advantages of quick burial: the problem is, usually there aren’t any.   People seem to think … Continue reading

Posted in Evolutionary Medicine | Tagged | 70 Comments


I’m going to use words, rather than equations, so this is going to be a bit sloppy. For our purposes, aging is the gradual decline of biological function that leads to increasing mortality with time.  Threescore and ten, and all … Continue reading

Posted in Evolutionary Medicine, Genetics | 75 Comments

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that principally attacks joints.  It causes a lot of trouble,  attacking about half a percent of the population in the US. It causes characteristic changes in the bones.  Key point:  it is vanishingly … Continue reading

Posted in Evolutionary Medicine | 39 Comments

Depths of Madness

I’ve said it before, but it’s probably time to say it again.  The most likely explanation for human homosexuality is that it is caused by some pathogen.  It’s too common to be mutational pressure (and we don’t see syndromic versions, … Continue reading

Posted in Evolutionary Medicine, Homosexuality | 315 Comments