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What is health?
Article first published online: 6 MAY 2013
© 2013 The Author. Microbial Biotechnology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and Society for Applied Microbiology.
This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Thematic Issue: Ecological Engineering of the Intestinal Microbiome Connecting the Environment and Food to Therapy and Health
Volume 6, Issue 4, pages 341–348, July 2013
How to Cite
Brüssow, H. (2013), What is health?. Microbial Biotechnology, 6: 341–348. doi: 10.1111/1751-7915.12063
- Issue published online: 11 JUN 2013
- Article first published online: 6 MAY 2013
- Manuscript Received: 8 APR 2013
- Manuscript Accepted: 8 APR 2013
Classical medical research is disease focused and still defines health as absence of disease. Languages, however, associate a positive concept of wholeness with health as does the WHO health definition. Newer medical health definitions emphasize the capacity to adapt to changing external and internal circumstances. The results of the 2010 Global Burden of Disease study provides keys for a quantifiable health metrics by developing statistical tools calculating healthy life expectancy. Of central social and economic importance is the question whether healthy ageing can be achieved. This concept hinges on theories on the biological basis of lifespan determination and whether negligible senescence and the compression of morbidity can be achieved in human societies. Since the health impact of the human gut microbiome is currently a topical research area, microbiologists should be aware of the problems in defining health.