Failure to evolve
- By: Richard Scott Pye
At his placement at a small Glaswegian health centre, a fellow student observed what is becoming an all too familiar consultation. The patient, a well looking young woman, had presented with a runny nose and light cough. “I’ll give you a course of antibiotics,” the general practitioner had said. “Come back if it hasn’t cleared up in a week or two.”
This story made me feel dismay: another unnecessary prescription of antibiotics, with another colony of bacteria evolving resistance to its effects. I wondered just how clued up medical professionals are on the evolution of pathogen resistance—or indeed on evolution in general.
I do not profess to be an expert on evolutionary biology, but after completing a student selected component on evolution in health and disease, I think that an understanding of evolution is of fundamental importance in the practice of clinical medicine. I have become an advocate for its