Behavioural defences in animals against pathogens and parasites: Parallels with the pillars of medicine in humans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

No other theme in animal biology seems to be more central than the concept of employing strategies to survive and successfully reproduce. In nature, controlling or avoiding pathogens and parasites is an essential fitness strategy because of the ever-present disease-causing organisms. The disease-control strategies discussed here are: physical avoidance and removal of pathogens and parasites; quarantine or peripheralization of conspecifics that could be carrying potential pathogens; herbal medicine, animal style, to prevent or treat an infection; potentiation of the immune system; and care of sick or injured group members. These strategies are seen as also encompassing the pillars of human medicine: (i) quarantine; (ii) immune-boosting vaccinations; (iii) use of medicinal products; and (iv) caring or nursing. In contrast to animals, in humans, the disease-control strategies have been consolidated into a consistent and extensive medical system. A hypothesis that explains some of this difference between animals and humans is that humans are sick more often than animals. This increase in sickness in humans leading to an extensive, cognitively driven medical system is attributed to an evolutionary dietary transition from mostly natural vegetation to a meat-based diet, with an increase in health-eroding free radicals and a dietary reduction of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3406-3417
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume366
Issue number1583
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 12 2011

Fingerprint

animal pathogens
Pathogens
Medicine
medicine
Parasites
Animals
parasites
Disease control
Quarantine
quarantine
pathogens
animals
disease control
Free Radicals
herbal medicines
zoology
human diseases
Nursing
Meats
Herbal Medicine

Keywords

  • Animal behaviour
  • Behavioural defences
  • Herbal medicine
  • Medicine
  • Parasites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

@article{ba731f5da8bb42c9b533c3fdaefda0d7,
title = "Behavioural defences in animals against pathogens and parasites: Parallels with the pillars of medicine in humans",
abstract = "No other theme in animal biology seems to be more central than the concept of employing strategies to survive and successfully reproduce. In nature, controlling or avoiding pathogens and parasites is an essential fitness strategy because of the ever-present disease-causing organisms. The disease-control strategies discussed here are: physical avoidance and removal of pathogens and parasites; quarantine or peripheralization of conspecifics that could be carrying potential pathogens; herbal medicine, animal style, to prevent or treat an infection; potentiation of the immune system; and care of sick or injured group members. These strategies are seen as also encompassing the pillars of human medicine: (i) quarantine; (ii) immune-boosting vaccinations; (iii) use of medicinal products; and (iv) caring or nursing. In contrast to animals, in humans, the disease-control strategies have been consolidated into a consistent and extensive medical system. A hypothesis that explains some of this difference between animals and humans is that humans are sick more often than animals. This increase in sickness in humans leading to an extensive, cognitively driven medical system is attributed to an evolutionary dietary transition from mostly natural vegetation to a meat-based diet, with an increase in health-eroding free radicals and a dietary reduction of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants.",
keywords = "Animal behaviour, Behavioural defences, Herbal medicine, Medicine, Parasites",
author = "Benjamin Hart",
year = "2011",
month = "12",
day = "12",
doi = "10.1098/rstb.2011.0092",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "366",
pages = "3406--3417",
journal = "Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences",
issn = "0800-4622",
publisher = "Royal Society of London",
number = "1583",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Behavioural defences in animals against pathogens and parasites

T2 - Parallels with the pillars of medicine in humans

AU - Hart, Benjamin

PY - 2011/12/12

Y1 - 2011/12/12

N2 - No other theme in animal biology seems to be more central than the concept of employing strategies to survive and successfully reproduce. In nature, controlling or avoiding pathogens and parasites is an essential fitness strategy because of the ever-present disease-causing organisms. The disease-control strategies discussed here are: physical avoidance and removal of pathogens and parasites; quarantine or peripheralization of conspecifics that could be carrying potential pathogens; herbal medicine, animal style, to prevent or treat an infection; potentiation of the immune system; and care of sick or injured group members. These strategies are seen as also encompassing the pillars of human medicine: (i) quarantine; (ii) immune-boosting vaccinations; (iii) use of medicinal products; and (iv) caring or nursing. In contrast to animals, in humans, the disease-control strategies have been consolidated into a consistent and extensive medical system. A hypothesis that explains some of this difference between animals and humans is that humans are sick more often than animals. This increase in sickness in humans leading to an extensive, cognitively driven medical system is attributed to an evolutionary dietary transition from mostly natural vegetation to a meat-based diet, with an increase in health-eroding free radicals and a dietary reduction of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants.

AB - No other theme in animal biology seems to be more central than the concept of employing strategies to survive and successfully reproduce. In nature, controlling or avoiding pathogens and parasites is an essential fitness strategy because of the ever-present disease-causing organisms. The disease-control strategies discussed here are: physical avoidance and removal of pathogens and parasites; quarantine or peripheralization of conspecifics that could be carrying potential pathogens; herbal medicine, animal style, to prevent or treat an infection; potentiation of the immune system; and care of sick or injured group members. These strategies are seen as also encompassing the pillars of human medicine: (i) quarantine; (ii) immune-boosting vaccinations; (iii) use of medicinal products; and (iv) caring or nursing. In contrast to animals, in humans, the disease-control strategies have been consolidated into a consistent and extensive medical system. A hypothesis that explains some of this difference between animals and humans is that humans are sick more often than animals. This increase in sickness in humans leading to an extensive, cognitively driven medical system is attributed to an evolutionary dietary transition from mostly natural vegetation to a meat-based diet, with an increase in health-eroding free radicals and a dietary reduction of free-radical-scavenging antioxidants.

KW - Animal behaviour

KW - Behavioural defences

KW - Herbal medicine

KW - Medicine

KW - Parasites

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=80055090030&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=80055090030&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1098/rstb.2011.0092

DO - 10.1098/rstb.2011.0092

M3 - Article

C2 - 22042917

AN - SCOPUS:80055090030

VL - 366

SP - 3406

EP - 3417

JO - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

JF - Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

SN - 0800-4622

IS - 1583

ER -