Is ADHD An Advantage For Nomadic Tribesmen?

Not everyone believes in evolution as a principle. Still more people believe in it, but don't really understand it.

I used to live in a Mediterranean country where evolution was taught as a concept that had been once believed but was now disproved - which is a pretty neat way of dealing with a troublesome church/state issue: by making science seem quaint and out of date instead of modern and helpful.

I find evolution endlessly fascinating, myself. And the ideas of evolutionary biology very helpful. One of the most interesting books I've read recently is "Survival of the Sickest" by Sharon Moalem, with a darn good set of theories of "why we need disease."

A friend recently pointed me toward "Is ADHD An Advantage For Nomadic Tribesmen? and it reminds me of Shan Guisinger's writings on the evolutionary role for anorexia.


  1. You know, when I read this stuff - which of course, I LUUURRRVE! - I am almost always thinking that we've got the whole problem BACKWARDS. We (Homo sapiens sapiens) have been semi-nomadic hunter gatherers for +/-50,000 years, and sedentary industrialists for <150yrs. It's not that ADHD is a disease to be medicated, it's that keeping kids cooped up in a classroom for long stretches is BAD for human beings!

    I'm not suggesting that the answer is to return to a subsistance lifestyle, but rather that it makes more sense to alter our cultural practices to accomodate our genome, than the other way around.

    As usual Laura, thanks for posting all these great articles!

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  3. I think you have a cool blogger on here, eating disorders are really interesting. I liked the article on nomads and how ADHD might help them to survive. I often think about the disorders we have nowadays like ADHD, ADD, anorexia, anxiety, depression, could be linked to pre-historic methods for survival.


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