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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Editorial

Evolutionary medicine – the quest for a better understanding of health, disease and prevention

Martin Brüne1* and Ze’ev Hochberg2

Author Affiliations

1 Division of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry and Psychiatric Preventive Medicine, LWL University Hospital, Ruhr-University Bochum, Alexandrinenstrasse 1, Bochum, D-44791, Germany

2 Rappaport Family Faculty of Medicine and Research Institute, Meyer Children’s Hospital, Rambam Med Center, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, 30196, Israel

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BMC Medicine 2013, 11:116  doi:10.1186/1741-7015-11-116

Published: 29 April 2013


Clinical medicine has neglected the fact that the make-up of organs and body functions, as well as the human-specific repertoire of behaviors and defenses against pathogens or other potential dangers are the product of adaptation by natural and sexual selection. Even more, for many clinicians it does not seem straightforward to accept a role of evolution in the understanding of disease, let alone, treatment and prevention.

Accordingly, this Editorial seeks to set the stage for an article collection that aims at dealing precisely with the question of why evolutionary aspects of health and disease are not only interesting, but necessary to improve clinical medicine.