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EMPH Clinical Briefs

Evolution, Medicine, and Public Health (EMPH) is pioneering a new category of contributions called Clinical Briefs for which we are soliciting further submissions. Briefs are of two types: 1) Clinical—that take an explicitly evolutionary perspective to address a specific condition or pathology and 2) Foundational—that deal with basic topics underpinning an understanding of evolutionary principles that shed light on clinical conditions. This novel type of publication is restricted to a one-page, 600-word summary, including references and figures, designed to be accessible in style and useful for practitioners. Both kinds of briefs use a standard template with three columns: Clinical Briefs use the first to discuss the targeted pathology, the second to discuss an evolutionary perspective on this pathology and the third to discuss future implications. Foundational Briefs use the first column to give a definition and background to the topic discussed, the second to give relevant examples from human biology and public health and the third to give specific examples from clinical medicine. Briefs can be easily downloaded and read from tablets and mobile phones. As with other contributions to EMPH, Briefs are peer-reviewed and searchable online.

Our first Clinical Brief deals with the topics of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and fever. In the former, Shona Lee and Rick Maizels (Edinburgh University) point to the strong selection pressures on our immune systems exerted by helminths in our evolutionary past and to the absence of such infections in industrialized societies where rates of IBD are elevated. They discuss how new treatments involving the ingestion of live helminths such as Trichuris suis ova—to mimic historic patterns of infectious disease exposure—are reported to reduce IBD symptoms. The second example of a Clinical Brief, written by Elspeth Best (Newcastle University) and Mark Schwartz (NYU School of Medicine), discusses the adaptive function of fever, which occurs across all vertebrate species, and is likely an evolved defence to promote host response to infection. They also summarize the potential negative effects of antipyretics to treat fever and the uncertainty that we do more good than harm by their common use. In the final column, the authors discuss the implications of these findings for future clinical use of antipyretics.

For Foundational Briefs, our first submission is by Peter Ellison (Harvard University), who covers the concept of evolutionary tradeoffs and the implication of these for optimizing health. His example from human biology looks at metabolic energy allocation involving tradeoffs in growth and immune function in children in rural Bolivia. Here, elevated levels of C-reactive protein are linked with lower growth rates. Ellison’s clinical example addresses how hormone replacement therapy in menopausal women may lower the risk of osteoporosis but increase the risk of breast cancer. We hope you enjoy and benefit from this new and exciting publication format and invite you to submit further contributions.

Gillian Bentley
Durham University, United Kingdom


To submit a Clinical Brief you can now use our Overleaf template . The Overleaf template helps authors to see exactly how many words and references they can fit on the page at the very start of the publication process, saving time and editing post-acceptance.
Read about the new template at the Overleaf blog or submit using a template in our Instructions to Authors .


Click here to access all Clinical Briefs from EMPH.

Peter V. Markov and Oliver G. Pybus
Evolution and Diversity of the Human Leukocyte Antigen(HLA)
EMPH (2015) 2015: 1 doi:10.1093/emph/eou033

Eric R. Castillo and Daniel E. Lieberman
Lower back pain
EMPH (2015) 2015: 2-3 doi:10.1093/emph/eou034

Neil S. Greenspan, Ashutosh K. Sheth, and Vilok Desai
HIV vaccine development and broadly neutralizing antibodies
EMPH (2015) 2015: 75 doi:10.1093/emph/eov004

John H. McCullough
Iron restriction
EMPH (2015) 2015: 149 doi:10.1093/emph/eov011

Amber Gigi Hoi and Luseadra McKerracher
Breastfeeding and infant growth
EMPH (2015) 2015: 150-151 doi:10.1093/emph/eov012

Alita R. Burmeister
Horizontal Gene Transfer
EMPH (2015) 2015: 193-194

Alice M. Clomegah and Stephen J. Chapman
Resistance to cellular HIV infection
EMPH (2015) 2015: 204 doi:10.1093/emph/eov016

Elspeth V. Best and Mark D. Schwartz
EMPH (2014) 2014: 92 doi:10.1093/emph/eou014

Peter T. Ellison
Evolutionary Tradeoffs

EMPH (2014) 2014: 93 doi:10.1093/emph/eou015

Shona J. Lee and Rick M. Maizels
Inflammatory Bowel Disease
EMPH (2014) 2014: 95 doi:10.1093/emph/eou017

Adin Ross-Gillespie and Rolf Kümmerli
'Evolution-Proofing’ Antibacterials
EMPH (2014) 2014: 134-135 doi:10.1093/emph/eou020

Helen L. Ball and Charlotte K. Russell
SIDS and Infant Sleep Ecology

EMPH (2014) 2014: 146 doi:10.1093/emph/eou023

Andrew F. Read and Robert J. Woods
Antibiotic resistance management
EMPH (2014) 2014: 147 doi:10.1093/emph/eou024

Karen R. Rosenberg and Wenda R. Trevathan
Evolutionary obstetrics
EMPH (2014) 2014: 148 doi:10.1093/emph/eou025

Wenda R. Trevathan and Karen R. Rosenberg
Caesarean Section

EMPH (2014) 2014: 164 doi:10.1093/emph/eou031

Amber Gigi Hoi andBernard D. Roitberg
Mosquito Behaviour and Disease Control
EMPH (2014) 2014: 162 doi:10.1093/emph/eou030

Daniel T. Blumstein, Karen Levy, Emeran Mayer, and John Harte
Gastrointestinal Dysbiosis
EMPH (2014) 2014: 163 doi:10.1093/emph/eou029

Joe Alcock andEdmund K. LeGrand
EMPH (2014) 2014: 149 doi:10.1093/emph/eou026
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