Evolutionary pediatrics

Published on September 29, 2016   41 min

A selection of talks on Immunology

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I'm Paul Turke. I'm going to be telling you a little bit about Evolutionary Pediatrics.
I started off as an anthropologist, worked and helped to develop a field called cooperative breeding in humans. That required me to understand some evolutionary life theory but specially trade-offs between early and late-life events. That led me down the hall to an immunologist at the University of Michigan named Richard Miller, and I collaborated with him as a Postdoc for a while on planning evolutionary theory to the problem of T cells senescence. From that my interests in medical complex peaked, and so I moved to the Michigan State University, where I went to medical school, and after that I came back to the University of Michigan to complete my pediatric residency. And then finally in 1999, I bought a small private pediatric practice. And today, I and our partner Suzanne Thomashow in the small town of Dexter, which is next to Ann Arbor, we take care of over 1,000 different families.
Before I tell you a lot about evolutionary pediatrics, I want to talk just for a minute about science in general and how science is done. As most people know science has two main components, there's the ideas or theory side and then there's the data or evidence side. And in reality they are all wrapped together but we separate them from time to time when we're actually doing science. And in fact, on a given day, a scientist may work purely on the data side or purely on the theory side. And similarly, fields of science can be somewhat out of balance with respect to one or the other at any given point. So string theory, for example, in physics is heavily weighted on the theory side right now. The technology tests a lot of the theories there just aren't available. That's not bad, they will be, and so right now, theory is pointing the way to the kind of data to look at, so there is not a problem. Medicine on the other hand is over-weighted in terms of evidence and data. Medical doctors, medical scientists are the best in the world probably at collecting data and analyzing it and culling it, and putting it into usable formats and so on, but they're fairly light on the theory.