Tag Archives: evolution

(R)evolutionary Rheumatology

I spent most of my senior year in college in the basement of the science building, in a room the size of a closet, watching (and videotaping) fish having sex. I was studying pipefish, a relative of the seahorse in which the males get pregnant. I was interested in learning how this unusual quirk of evolution affected the sex roles of the fish, asking questions such as: which sex is more promiscuous, bigger, and more aggressive? Evolution was at the heart of my biology major, and its existence was palpable in every biology class I took—from Genetics sophomore year to a senior seminar on Ecology. It was clear during my undergraduate education that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Continue reading (R)evolutionary Rheumatology

Why we go bald: an evolutionary hypothesis

As a Senior in college, I took a class on evolutionary medicine with Professor Paul Ewald.  For my final project, I decided to explore male pattern baldness from an evolutionary perspective.  This topic, to my knowledge, had never been previously addressed.  I’ve included my entire (lengthy) paper below. Continue reading Why we go bald: an evolutionary hypothesis

Kawasaki Disease And The End Of Rheumatology As We Know It

This week, an international research team led by Xavier Rodó published a fascinating study in PNAS suggesting that Kawasaki disease is caused by an agent transported by wind from farms in Northeast China.  This agent, possibly a fungal toxin, would be responsible for triggering an exuberant immune response in children, causing the typical manifestation of the disease: fevers, rash, conjunctivitis, “strawberry tongue,” enlarged lymph nodes, and swelling of the extremities.  Untreated, Kawasaki disease can cause aneurysms of the coronary arteries, premature heart disease, and even death. Continue reading Kawasaki Disease And The End Of Rheumatology As We Know It