Medicine may be reducing the human capacity to survive

Stephan, C. N. and Henneberg, M. (2001) Medicine may be reducing the human capacity to survive. Medical Hypotheses, 57 5: 633-637. doi:10.1054/mehy.2001.1431

Author Stephan, C. N.
Henneberg, M.
Title Medicine may be reducing the human capacity to survive
Journal name Medical Hypotheses   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0306-9877
Publication date 2001
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1054/mehy.2001.1431
Open Access Status
Volume 57
Issue 5
Start page 633
End page 637
Total pages 5
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Churchill Livingstone
Language eng
Abstract It appears that limited natural selection is taking place in populations of developed countries, since most individuals survive and have the full opportunity to reproduce. This paper addresses contemporary natural selection in a developed country (Australia) using the biological state index. Although the general context of this paper focuses on Australia it can be expected that most other first-world and/or developed countries follow a similar pattern. The findings of this study, that 98% of individuals survive through their reproductive period and have the full opportunity to reproduce, support predictions that natural selection has limited influence on the evolution of first-world populations. It appears that first-world populations may not be naturally well adapted to their environment but use medical treatments/technology to increase their survival capacity and maintain fitness. This has two apparent consequences. First, the fitness of individuals will decrease, since less favorable genes can accumulate in the population, and secondly, disease processes will remain fit as they adapt to the selective pressures exerted by medicine. If medical treatment becomes ineffective, extensive mortality is expected since fit disease processes will be unleashed on unfit human populations. It appears that a possible answer to these problems may be found in gene therapy.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Non-UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 12 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 14 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 23 Jan 2015, 13:55:56 EST by Carl Stephan on behalf of School of Biomedical Sciences