ENVIRONMENT, EVOLUTION, AND INFECTIOUS DISEASES

GEOG 469/BIO A 469
 
5 credits
Meets M,W,F  1 hr 20 min
 
Instructors:
 
Dr. Jonathan Mayer                                                              Dr. Bettina Shell-Duncan
Professor, Departments of Geography,                    Associate Professor, Departments of 
Medicine, Family Medicine, and                              Anthropology and Health Services
Health Services
Office:  412-C Smith Hall                                       Office:  M42 Denny Hall
Office Hours: Th 11:30-1; F 1-2:30                         Office Hours:  T 2:30-3:30, or by appt.
Tel: 543-7110                                                        Tel:  543-9607
Email: jmayer@u.washington.edu               Email:  bsd@u.washington.edu
 
Web page:  www/anthro.washington.edu/Bioa469
 
 
Human disease ecology is the study of interrelationships between cultural, environmental and biological dimensions of human health.  That humans adapt to their environment through a variety of biological mechanisms, behavioral strategies, and social mechanisms is a central tenet of disease ecology. This course will examine human health as a measure of the effectiveness with which individuals adapt to their environment, and will evaluate selective pressures affecting the interaction of human hosts and pathogens.  Interest will focus on the sociocultural dimensions of human groups and the consideration of pathogens not simply as disease-causing agents, but self-replicating organisms affected by evolutionary pressures.  In this context, human behavior and the environment will be evaluated in terms of their effect on the spread of infectious disease, and interactions with biological determinants of human health.
 
Recent attention has focused on “evolutionary” or Darwinian medicine, which emphasizes the co-evolution of hosts and pathogens. Neither humans nor their pathogens are passive in the dance of co-adaptation. Evolutionary thinking has been providing a new lens for examining biomedical issues that would not have been suggested by other perspectives.  This approach has shed insights on numerous issues including the evolution of virulence, antibiotic resistance, the implications of signs and symptoms of disease, the effects of environmental change on host-parasite dynamics, and host adaptations that may have contributed to fitness in the Stone Age but are obsolete today.  We will examine the concepts of environmental pressures on the evolution of human-pathogen relationships in this interdisciplinary course, which is cross-listed in the Departments of Geography (GEOG 495) and Anthropology (BIOA 469).  While there are no specific prerequisites for the course, students should have a background either in medical geography, biological anthropology, biology, or public health.
 
 
 

Readings:  Readings will include Randolph Nesse and George C. Williams, Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine; Paul Ewald, The Evolution of Infectious Diseases.  These books are available at the University Book Store.  Additional readings will include a number of articles that will be available on electronic reserve through the University of Washington Library web page. 

 
 

Requirements and Grading:  Grades for the course will be determined by performance on a number of required assignments:

 

 

E-posts (25%): For class sessions devoted to informal lecture and discussion, you are to e-post (no later than 10:00 am on the day of class) a response to the readings for that day. This should be a short (about ½ double-spaced page) but coherent paragraph that develops a line of thought, and/or raises a question for discussion.  Please follow one of these formats:

1) Identify a point or section from one of the readings that either intrigues you, or stumps and frustrates you; briefly explain how or why it does so; and pose a question that might help move our discussion forward to follow your inspiration, or address your frustration

                                             …..OR…..

2) Write a short paragraph situating the day’s readings within the context of the course as a whole:  what new elements do they bring to the subject of evolutionary medicine?   Which previous readings do they build upon, which do they forget?  What questions do they raise?

 

For guidance on using e-posts, visit http://catalyst.washington.edu/student/EPost.html

            These e-posts will be used to guide and enrich class discussion, and will also provide an archive of your developing responses to and reflections on the course materials, as well as those of your classmates. You are not required to read your classmates’ postings, though you may find it helpful, especially when working on papers. E-posts will not be graded, but you must complete all but 2 possible e-posts in order to get full credit.

 

Critical Thinking Papers (25%):  You will be asked to write 4 short (2 pp) critical thinking or position papers.  These papers will apply concepts learned in class to new examples, or alternatively will focus on topics of debate that are as yet unresolved.  Students will be asked to prepare a written draft considering both sides of debated issues, as well as their preferred stance on the issue, prior to designated class meetings (note no eposts will be required on these days).  A copy of the draft will be handed I on the discussion day, but not graded.  Students will be allowed to revise the papers before handing in a final copy at the next class meeting. 

 

Final Paper (25%) and Presentation (25%):  One final written project will involve researching the medical microbiology, epidemiology and intervention strategies for an emerging infectious disease, and applying evolutionary principles to evaluation of the impact of social factors and disease control strategies.     A small group of students will be assigned to one particular topic, and on days designated for brainstorming, the small groups will meet to discuss evolutionary strategies for disease control.  The instructors will help facilitate these small group discussion.  In the 9th and 10th week of the quarter, each group will give a powerpoint presentation on their topic.  Presentations will springboard into a broader discussion among the class as a whole – of cross-cutting themes among the papers, points of difference between them,  linkages among the various topics, and so forth. Students who are not presenting on a given day will nonetheless have an active role to play. Final papers on the assigned topic will be individually written and individually graded.

 

 

Topics and Readings

 

(R-required readings, O – optional readings, E – eposts due by 10:00 am)

 

 

Introduction and Overview of the Course

 

Reading (E): 

R          Ewald Chapter 1.

O         George C. Williams and Randolph M. Nesse. The Dawn of Darwinian Medicine. The Quarterly Review of Biology 1991: 66:1-22.

 

 

 

Introduction to Evolutionary Thinking

 

Readings (E):             

R          Nesse and Williams, Chapter 1 and 2.

R          Gould and Lewontin (1979)  The Spandrels of San Marco and the Panglossian Paradigm:  A critique of the Adaptationist Program.  Proc. R. Soc. London  205: 581

 

Disease Ecology and Ecosystems Approach to Studying Disease Stress

 

 

Readings (E):

           

R          Meade and Erikson

 

Immunity and Modes of Transmission

 

Reading (E): 

R          Abbas et al. (1997)  General Properties of Immune Responses.  In Cellular and Molecular Immunology, 3rd Edition.

R          Brock et al. (1994)  Epidemiology and Public Health Microbiology.  In:  Biology of Microorganisms, pp. 506-523.

 

           

Historical Perspectives on Disease Patterns in Human Populations

 

Readings(E):  

R          Barrett et al. (1998)  Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases:  The Third Epidemiological Transition.  Annu. Rev. Anthropol. 27: 247-71.    

 

 

Signs and Symptoms of Disease

 

           

Readings(E): 

R          Ewald, Chapter 2

R          Nesse and Williams Chapter 3

 

Is a Low Iron Diet a Nutritional Adaptation to Infectious Disease?:  An Evolutionary Medicine Approach.

 

Presentation by Bettina Shell-Duncan on research in northern Kenya.

 

Reading:         

O         Shell-Duncan, B. (forthcoming).  Is a low iron diet a nutritional adaptation to infectious disease?:  An evolutionary medicine approach.  Submitted to American Journal of Human Biology

 

 

Evolution of Virulence:  Malaria and Other Vectorborne Diseases

 

 

Readings (E): 

R          Ewald, Chapter 3

R          Nesse and Williams Chapter 4

 

Evolution of Malaria

 

 

Reading (E):   

R          Richard Carter and Kamini N. Mendis (2002) Evolutionary and historical aspects of the burden of malaria. Clinical Microbiology Reviews 15:564-594.

 

JONATHAN:  SHOULD WE DELETE THE OPTIONAL READINGS THE CARTER AND MENDIS PAPER IS GOOD, AND THE PRESENTATION WE PUT TOGETHER WAS GOOD TOO

 

O         Malaria:  A Reemerging Disease in Africa.  Emerging Infectous Disease 4:398-403

O         Ruebush et al. (1986)  Malaria.  Reviews of Infectious Diseases 8: 47-59

O         Nussenzweig and Long (1994)  Malaria Vaccines:  Multiple Targets.  Science 265: 1381-1383.

 

Lethal Parasitism

 

Reading(E): 

R          Ewald,Chapter 4

 

JONATHAN:  SHOULD WE KEEP THESE OPTIONAL READINGS?  I GAVE A PRESENTATION ON KURU AND HYDATID CYST DISEASE THAT WAS RECEIVED WELL, BUT I DON’T THINK THAT STUDENTS READ THE PAPERS, OR THAT THEY NECESSARITY NEED TO.  BUT I SUPPOSE WE COULD JUST LIST THEM AS OPTIONAL.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

O         Pattison (1998)  The Emergence of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and Related Diseases.  Emerging Infectious Diseases 4: 390-394.

O         Gajdusek (1977)  Unconventional viruses in the origins and disappearance of Kuru.  Science 197: 943-960.

O         Watson-Jones and MacPherson (1988)  Hydatid disease in the Turkana Distric of Kenya  VI.  Man:dong contact and its role in the transmission of hydatidosis amongst the Turkana.  Annals of tropical Medicine and Parasitology 82: 343-356.

 

Epidemiology, Geography, and Control of Diarrheal Diseases

 

Readings(E):

R          Ewald Chapter 5

 

Antimicrobial Resistance

 

Reading:

TBA

 

READINGS WERE LISTED LATER IN THE QUARTER.  I THINK THERE WERE TOO MANY, AND THEY COULD BE NARROWED DOWN.

 

 

 

The Origins of HIV/AIDS

 

Reading (E):

R          Ewald, Chapter 8

R          Robin A. Weiss. The Leeuwenhoek Lecture 2001. Animal origins of human infectious      diseases. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 2001;356:957-77.

R          Albert Osterhaus. Catastrophes after crossing species barriers. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond.            B. 2001; 356:791-93.

R          Tuofu Zu and David Ho. Was HIV present in 1959? Nature 1995;374:503-504.

R          David M. Hillis. Origins of HIV. Science 2000;288:1757-58.

R          B. Korber, M. Muldoon, J. Theiler et al. Timing the ancestor of the HIV-1 pandemic        strains. Science 2000;2888:1789-1796.

R          Kevin M. De Cock. Epidemiology and the emergence of human immunodeficiency virus   and acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Phil. Trans R. Soc. Lond. B. 2001; 356:795-           798.

O         Feng Gao, Elizabeth Bailes, David L. Robertson et al. Origin of HIV-1 in the chimpanzee Pan Troglodytes troglodytes. Nature 1999;297:436-441.

O         Tuofo Zhu, Bette Korber, Andre J. Nahmias et al. An African HIV-1 sequence from 1959           and implications for the origin of the epidemic. Nature 1998;391:594-597.

 

 

JONATHAN:  I THINK THIS LIST OF READINGS NEEDS TO BE NARROWD DOWN A BUNCH

 

Evolutionary Perspectives on the Control of HIV and other STDs

 

Reading (E):

R          Ewald Chapter 9

 

 

 

Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness:  Stone Age Bodies in a Modern World

 

Reading (E):

R          Neese and Williams, Chapters 9 and 10

R          Eaton and Connor:  The Paleolithic prescription.  New England Journal of                                     Medicine 312(5): 283

O         Neel, J. (1962)  Diabetes Mellitus:  A “Thrifty” Genotype Rendered Detrimental by “Progress”?  Am. J. Hum. Genet. 14: 353.

 

 

 

Emerging Infectious Diseases

 

Reading:

TBA

 

JONATHAN:  WE NEVER REALLY CAME BACK TO THIS TOPIC AFTER TALKING ABOUT THE EPIDEMIOLOGICAL TRANSITION.   SHOULD WE DELETE THIS AS A SEPARATE LATER TOPIC?

 

Infectious Etiology of ‘Non-Infectious’ Diseases

 

Readings (E):

R          Zimmer (2001)  So Chronic Diseases Have an Infectious Root?  Science 293.

R          Ewald and Cochran (2000)  Chlamydia pneumoniae and cardiovascular disease:  An      evolutionary perspective on infectious causation and antibiotic treatment.  Journal of   Infectious Disease.

 

 

The Hygiene Hypothesis and the Evolution of Allergy/Atopy

 

Readings:

R          Nesse and Williams Chapter 11

R          Barnes et al. (1999)  Darwinian Medicine and the Emergence of Allergy.  In                                (Trevathan et al., eds):  Evolutionary Medicine.

R          M. Yazdenbakshsh, P. G. Kemsner, R. van Ree. Allergy, parasites, and the hygiene         hypothesis. Science 2002;296:490-494.

O         A. E. Barner. The increase in allergic respiratory diseases: survival of the fittest? Chest    2002;121:1308-1316.

O         S. C. Redd, Asthma in the United States: burden and current theories. Environmental        Health Perspectives 2002;110 suppl. 4:557-560.

 

 

JONATHAN:  I THOUGHT THAT BARNES WAS NOT REALLY WELL WRITTEN, AND THAT YAZDENBAKSHIS WAS REALLY DIFFICULT.  WHAT DO YOU THINK?

 

ANOTHER TOPIC WE MIGHT WANT TO ADD HERE IS MENSTRUATION.  WE COULD HAVE STUDENTS READ MARGIE PROFET’S PAPER THAT HYPOTHESIZES IT IS A DEFENSE AGAINST INFECTION, AND BEV STRASSSMAN’S PAPER THAT SHOOTS THAT THEORY DOWN

 

Part II: Environment of Evolutionary Adaptedness:  Stone Age Bodies in a Modern World

 

Readings (E): 

R          Nesse and Williams, Chapters 12

R          Eaton and Eaton (1999)  Breast Cancer in Evolutionary Context.  In                                             (Trevathan et al., eds):  Evolutionary Medicine.

R          McKenna et al. (1999)  Breastfeeding and Mother-Infant Cosleeping in Relation                           to  SIDS Prevention.  In (Trevathan et al., eds):  Evolutionary Medicine.

 

 

Psychiatric Disorders

 

Readings:

R          Nesse and Williams Chapter 14

R          R. Nesse, Emotional disorders in evolutionary perspective. British Journal of Medical        Psychology 1998;71:397-415

O         R. Nesse, The evolution of hope and despair. Social Research 1999;66:429-469.

 

JONATHAN:  THE READING THAT YOU ADDED THAT I REALLY LIKED WAS:  NESSE  (2000) IS DEPRESSION AN ADAPTATION?  ARCH GEN PHYCHIATRY 57:14

 

Western Medicine Meets Evolutionary Medicine:  What have we learned?

 

Readings:       

R          Nesse and Williams, Chapter 15.