With a focus on ‘Evolution… revolution… solutions in perio’, the conference saw hundreds of delegates flock to the Oxford Examination Schools to hear presentations from visionary and inspiring speakers from all over the world. The challenging theme of evolutionary medicine was writ large throughout the meeting, and the audience was urged to pick up the book – Why We Get Sick: The New Science of Darwinian Medicine by Randolph Nesse and George Williams. BSP president Phil Ower called Dr. Nesse's book inspirational and noted, "I was thrilled when Professor Nesse, one of the world’s foremost evolutionary theorists, accepted the invitation."
The morning session with Dr. Nesse was titled, "How evolutionary thinking is transforming our understand of disease." The session considered the topic of natural selection, and asked why it hadn’t made our bodies better – for instance, by removing our wisdom teeth or making our bones stronger. The old-school answer is that natural selection is too weak, but Professor Nesse offered six new reasons (mismatch; co-evolution; constraints; trade-offs; reproduction at cost to health, and defences) to consider. Dr. Nesse also argued that a shift in perspective was needed, saying "it's time to look at things from an engineer’s view, and not from a mechanic’s." The British Society of Periodontology’s (BSP) Spring Meeting was held recently in April in Oxford, UK.