Meeting: Working Group

The Perils of Being Bipedal: an Evolutionary Perspective on Human Musculoskeletal Disorders

Date14-Mar-2012 ~ 15-Mar-2012
ProjectThe Perils of Being Bipedal: an Evolutionary Perspective on Human Musculoskeletal Disorders
SummaryAlthough a relatively new synthetic field, the maturing status of Evolutionary Medicine can be gauged by the number of books and edited volumes recently focusing on the topic. It is abundantly clear that combining evolutionary concepts with modern medicine provides additional insight into human health and disease. Areas fruitfully reviewed through the lens of evolution include such diverse fields as nutrition and diet, environmental adaptations, parasitology, metabolic disease, infectious disease, and pathogen resistance. An additional field of study awaits evolutionary analysis - the large number of musculoskeletal disorders that uniquely plague humans, largely as a consequence of our species’ peculiar method of upright walking. This proposal is intended to remedy this situation by assembling a diverse working group of established experts in human evolution and in the musculoskeletal disorders related to the mechanics of bipedality. This collaborative group will examine and identify the myriad musculoskeletal issues that are directly associated with the anatomical adaptations that were necessary to modify the body of a quadruped into that of an upright biped. The dramatic morphological adaptations that characterize humans directly impact modern clinical fields such as pediatrics, orthopedics, obstetrics, gerontology, and dentistry. This working group will develop and implement a model curriculum, an associated website, and an edited volume. Unparalleled resources insure the success of this project. The insights gained through this approach will clearly lead to a better understanding of the causes of these disorders and may result in novel approaches and treatments.