Inflammation as a biological concept has been around a long time and derives from the Latin “to set on fire” and refers to the redness and heat, and usually swelling, which accompanies injury and infection. Chronic inflammation is also associated with ageing and
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Inflammation as a biological concept has been around a long time and derives from the Latin “to set on fire” and refers to the redness and heat, and usually swelling, which accompanies injury and infection. Chronic inflammation is also associated with ageing and is described by the term “inflammaging”. Likewise, the biological concept of hormesis, in the guise of what “does not kill you, makes you stronger”, has long been recognized, but in contrast, seems to have anti-inflammatory and age-slowing characteristics. As both phenomena act to restore homeostasis, they may share some common underlying principles. Thermodynamics describes the relationship between heat and energy, but is also intimately related to quantum mechanics. Life can be viewed as a series of self-renewing dissipative structures existing far from equilibrium as vortexes of “negentropy” that ages and dies; but, through reproduction and speciation, new robust structures are created, enabling life to adapt and continue in response to ever changing environments. In short, life can be viewed as a natural consequence of thermodynamics to dissipate energy to restore equilibrium; each component of this system is replaceable. However, at the molecular level, there is perhaps a deeper question: is life dependent on, or has it enhanced, quantum effects in space and time beyond those normally expected at the atomistic scale and temperatures that life operates at? There is some evidence it has. Certainly, the dissipative adaptive mechanism described by thermodynamics is now being extended into the quantum realm. Fascinating though this topic is, does exploring the relationship between quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and biology give us a greater insight into ageing and, thus, medicine? It could be said that hormesis and inflammation are expressions of thermodynamic and quantum principles that control ageing via natural selection that could operate at all scales of life. Inflammation could be viewed as a mechanism to remove inefficient systems in response to stress to enable rebuilding of more functional dissipative structures, and hormesis as the process describing the ability to adapt; underlying this is the manipulation of fundamental quantum principles. Defining what “quantum biological normality” is has been a long-term problem, but perhaps we do not need to, as it is simply an expression of one end of the normal quantum mechanical spectrum, implying that biology could inform us as to how we can define the quantum world.