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Troubles impact the future of our children in the modern world, many of which are traceable to what evolutionary thinkers call—evolutionary mismatch. I am a participant with the Evolution Institute, which says this about mismatch:
Natural selection adapts organisms to their past environments and has no ability to foresee the future. When the environment changes, adaptations to past environments can misfire in the current environment, producing a mismatch that can only be solved by subsequent evolution or by modifying the current environment. Mismatches are an inevitable consequence of evolution in changing environments.
Today, we examples of potential mismatch lurking in a whole range of mental, emotional, behavioral, and related disorders affecting maternal and child health. It this talk, I plan to explore how five simple policies might address mismatch that has created epidemics of autism, fetal alcohol effects, schizophrenia, depression, and other ills. These three policy categories emerge from robust science that challenges our conventional theories about the causes of troubling things like the rise of autism, serious mental illness, or aggressive and violent behavior.
In my experience as a prevention scientist, Manitoba is perhaps the only place in the Western Hemisphere capable of implementing policies and practices that might reverse adverse trends affecting the wellbeing of mothers and children for the future. So let us have a roundtable about three easy pieces for our futures:
1. Policy Goal 1: Reduce multiple sources of neuro-inflammation before pregnancy, during pregnancy and during childhood—using low-cost, scientifically proven evidence-based kernels .
2. Policy Goal 2: Recognize, reinforce and reward non-use of tobacco, alcohol & other drugs among women of childbearing age —using low-cost, scientifically proven evidence-based kernels .
3. Policy Goal 3: Create public-private partnerships to promote specific nurturing environments actionable strategies for children and their caregivers [2, 3]
References Utilized and Cited
1. Embry DD, Biglan A: Evidence-Based Kernels: Fundamental Units of Behavioral Influence. Clinical Child & Family Psychology Review 2008, 11(3):75-113.
2. Biglan A, Flay BR, Embry DD, Sandler IN: The critical role of nurturing environments for promoting human well-being. American Psychologist 2012, 67(4):257-271.
3. Embry DD: Behavioral Vaccines and Evidence-Based Kernels: Nonpharmaceutical Approaches for the Prevention of Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America 2011, 34(March):1-34.