Throughout history, general concepts of “health” or “disease” in a society have been shaped by its knowledge and beliefs about life, death and disease. Increased longevity, unlimited nutritional supplies and changes in personal lifestyles, in recent decades brought about a shift in the age-distribution of the population and sharp increases in age- life style- and stress-related diseases. Although ongoing advances in science and technology continuously are providing new treatments for many diseases, it has become socio-economically apparent that ‘maintaining health’, at whatever level this might be achievable individually, is more resource-conservative and cost-effective than relying solely on the treatment of manifest diseases. Despite an increasing amount of knowledge about the pathophysiology underlying clinically manifest diseases that are compromising public health of the present, there is still plenty to be elucidated as to the alterations in metabolic and other molecular pathways making the difference between ‘healthy physiology’ and patho-physiology.
Current research activities are focusing on: