Thursday, August 10, 2006

 

Love and Sex Influence Disease Evolution

Love and Sex Influence Disease Evolution: "Dating, going steady, hooking up, settling down. There are many ways to be a couple and avoid the lovesick blues. Now it appears that in addition to lovesickness, there is a link between the types of relationships people have and how illness affect us all.

In a study of sexually transmitted diseases, scientists have concluded that the length of time people stay together can determine which infectious diseases circulate in a community and therefore how diseases evolve multiple strains.

Up to now, studies looking at how disease travels in groups worked with models that assumed people bump into each other at random, on a crowded street or some other public place. One disease strain could then hop easily from host to host until maximum infection was achieved.

In reality, of course, our interactions are more complicated. Some people have one long-term partner, while others come in contact with many people, each only for a short time. [Evolution]

The above is based on Coexistence and Specialization of Pathogen Strains on Contact Networks (Abstract)

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