Evolutionary Disadvantage

Women comprise 80% of all US autoimmune disease cases but most theories about this point to “how” not “why.”
Evolutionary biologist Melissa Wilson may have the “why.” “Pregnancy-compensation hypothesis” postulates that women evolved to be pregnant for most of their lives. During pregnancy, parts of the immune system shut off to protect the placenta and fetus and may then overcompensate at other times. While less problematic when women had 8-12 children, women now average only 1 or 2 so the immune system may ramp up and attack benign body parts.
Wilson hopes the hypothesis will lead to better understanding of autoimmune disorders.
The Atlantic

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