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October 2021

Soz Praventivmed. 1997 ; 42(6): 380-4.

[Salutogenesis and pathogenesis--a paradigm change from the perspectives of modern physics]

Zeyer A.

Kinderspital Luzern.

Early in the eighties Antonovsky stipulated a changeover from the pathogenetitto the salutogenetic paradigm in prevention. This article is meant to show that the necessity of such a changeover may also be derived from present-day physics. The pathogenetic paradigm is the characteristic of a time that bears the distinctive marks of the classical thermodynamics in equilibrium. The existence of the phenomenon life seemed in this context to be a physical paradox. Protection against wearing and death, the pathogenetic aspect, was inevitably the focus of interest. In the meantime modern physics have, however, developed a new understanding of life. It is based on the theory of self-organisation of non-linear systems far off the thermodynamic equilibrium. Today, life does no longer appear as a physical paradox but as the natural and fascinating expression of a structuring tendency inherent in matter. These new findings bring the salutogenetic question into the centre of attention. How can the natural tendency to self-organisation of biological systems be shouldered? Physical answers interpret the results of health research under a new aspect. Since self-organisation calls for a free and off-balance exchange of matter and energy with the environment it is no longer considered as a threat but as a source of health and vitality. Another outcome are physical arguments relating to well-known health strategies such as vegetarian food and physical exercise.

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