Human and non-human animals can be scared to death. This commonality points to a shared mechanism and evolutionary origin. The variability in vulnerability to this disorder between species offers a novel approach to identifying a natural animal model for Sudden Cardiac Death (SCD) — the leading cause of death among adults over 40 year of age in the United States. The importance and significant challenge of developing a phylogeny of vulnerability to SCD across the animal kingdom is presented.
Barbara Natterson-Horowitz, MD, is professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. In addition, she is Adjunct Professor in the UCLA Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on evolutionary medicine. Dr. Natterson-Horowitz is Co-Director of the Evolutionary Medicine Program at UCLA and Director of the Evolutionary Medicine track of UCLA's Master of Science in Biology graduate degree program.
Natterson-Horowitz will also give the Darwin Day Featured Lecture at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9. To learn more about this lecture, click here.