A large number of experiments in physiology and medicine have proved that for any living body, regardless of measuring positions, any physiological indicators can never be maintained at a constant value. For example, a human's normal physiological indicators, such as heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, brain waves, blood sugar, and so on, would have different values when measured at different times, or in different mental states, or under different conditions such as eating, exercise, rest, and working. Substantive evidence tend to support such an empirical conclusion: any living body can be detected in multiform physiological statuses.
As the research of cell biology and microphysiology get in-depth, the explanation of these phenomena can be reduced to the cell metabolism and cell physiology level. Namely, the specific physiological state is the manifestation of metabolic activity of certain working cells. For example, the tomography studies of cerebral cortex have confirmed that when thinking about different events in the brain, the resulting metabolic active zones are clearly not the same.
According to the deep-structure theory, scientists can build a theoretical inference between physiological indicator states and the ecological objectives. The indicator measurements of physiological metabolism and circulation are quantitatively changed by the alteration of the organism's ecological goals, and also changed by the physio-morphs that resulted from these alterations. It is the result of organism modulation that the basic cells of physiological functions in different working states present varied metabolic activities. This is in fact the definition of vitastate in metabolic and circulatory physiology.
Based on the definition of vitastate in metabolic and circulatory physiology, they can make a further deduction: when the physiological operation of a biosystem is in certain physio-morph with a specific ecological objective, the experimental measurement should get steady and highly repeatable physiological indicators. These indicators should be distinguishable from that of the other physio-morph with another specific ecological objective. The comparative result can be used to identify the separation and independency of one physio-ecological effective reaction from the other ones.
In view of the vitastate theory, the ideas of medical physiology should be changed, and a new concept of vitastateral pathology should be created. This requires that we analyze body signs and physiological indicators and the molecular signaling network from the perspective of physiological vitastate in our physiological and pathological observation, and investigate the conversion's direction, cycle, speed and the amount of alteration, and so forth, between vitastates, to identify disease compensation, rehabilitation, and deterioration.
Special attention should be paid to the vitastate diseases. For example, the organism may have disorders in vitastate conversion, impediments in conversion, or maladjustments in conversion. For another instance, when some external pressures force the organism to maintain an extreme vitastate that would result in the normal vitastate conversion cycle being destroyed over time, the absence of some vitastates may lead the organism to be damaged and suffer from disease. In addition, medical treatments may cause interference, promotion, destruction, or aid to the favorable vitastate conversion.
Viewing disease from the vitastate theory, we can explain the sensitive period of disease occurrence. We know that there are unavoidable weaknesses in the beautiful or perfect life evolution. For example, in the transitional period when two vitastates are transforming (in vitastate transforming period), the organism is in its most fragile state, most vulnerable to damage, and most easy to fall ill. The reason is that the powerful disease resistances (such as immunity, restoration, specific nutrient supply, etc.) may be weakened or changed due to the requirement of vitastate conversion during the transforming period; thus, disease may get a chance to develop in the transitional period.
Previous physiological studies in this regard have actually accumulated a lot of material. There are many emerging theories, especially in medicine, close to this area. However, physiological theories are all along influenced by procedure functional theory, so that these substantive materials have not nurtured a theoretical breakthrough in vitastate and vitastate structure. It is the major development of ecology that arouses the intraspecific comparative study and evolutionary biology study to form another major theoretical innovation in physiology.
In evolution, animals adopt a way with a high degree of functional differentiation in the cell polymers. Animals' internal environment has much higher demands in controlling a mechanism's precision, sensitivity, and reliability, compared with plants and other organisms. Therefore, the study of animal's vitastate structure and characteristics should be different from the study of plants' vitastate structure and characteristics.
Deep-structure biology explains the issue in this way: cell combination aims at different environmental pressures to build different external resistant vitastates. According to the basic principle of vitastate formation, which we discussed previously, the vitastate's setting eventually would be reflected on the carrier's technostructure, and the setting of the technostructure is for optimally adapting to the eco-niche. For example, an organism's ecological and locomotor needs determine the setting of physiological vitastate and neural network, and the setting of neural network determines the setting of neural technostructures (such as synaptic shape, synaptic juncture, synaptic length, electrical pulse, etc.). And different vitastates propose different demands of technostructures. As a result, a technostructurally compromised design would be formed.
However, once the technostructure is set, it will bring some restriction for the organism, because each vitastate strategy has some negative effects to other vitastates to a certain extent. The reason is that one vitastate's technical demand may produce the ultimate values of some physiochemical indicators, and these ultimate values may precisely impair the normality of other vitastates. For example, when an organism resists enemies, some hormones and chemical compositions in its body will appear as ultimate values, which may affect other vitastates' in vivo physiochemical conditions—for example, it may influence female lactation.
Studies have confirmed that stress may elicit changes in many internal factors, as well as the types and numbers of cells, resulting in many negative effects. For example, due to the increase of some stress hormones, the gastrointestinal mucosa may have changes in pH value and a reduction in blood flow, which consequently causes mucosal damages, including ulcers and bleeding, especially when the stress time is long and the stress is serious. A persistent, chronic stress in childhood obviously can cause development delay, resulting in short stature.
In this way, combining all strategies' internal negative effects together, that is the organism's own internal damage mechanism. This internal damage mechanism will produce damage to the organism over a long period, and these effects may be accumulated. This damage is different from the previously discussed external damage, and it is another kind of problem. The external damage discussed earlier determines the natural selection of an organism's optimal reproductive period (or the average life expectancy), and only the internal damage is the real cause that determines the natural selection of an organism's aging (or hypernormal longevity).
However, organisms do not passively accept this internal pressure. They develop their external self-repairing mechanism and internal self-repairing mechanism at the same time. Modern biology and modern medicine have many empirical studies involving the self-repairing issues, such as research on stem cells, apoptosis, absorption and excretion of toxic substances, and others. In this way, there are two competitive forces within organisms: one is the self-damage mechanism, and the other is the self-repair mechanism.
Pathophysiology is an important subject that initially aimed at elucidating pathology and pathogeny from the perspective of physiological function and metabolism. However, in the course of the study, a growing body of evidence has shown that the pathological process is closely associated with organisms' disease resistance and compensation mechanisms, reflecting that the organism under external environmental stress has an innate or acquired resistant mechanism and adaptability. From the perspective of evolution and natural selection, understanding various pathological processes may lead to an answer closer to the reality. Particularly, the symptom of disease is no longer thought to be a simple process or phenomenon in which organism is damaged by the pathogeny that gives rise to a series of disorders in the organism's steady-state, but rather, it is understood as a double-mingled process associating an organism's disordered process with its resistance-adjusting process.
For example, immune abnormality disease refers to a paranormal immunoreaction induced by an external antigen, resulting in an organism's own cell being damaged and a metabolic malfunction. The social environment may give the organism a stimulus so intense that it may cause excessive stress response in the cerebral cortex, giving rise to a strong emotional and mental trauma, as well as other complications (e.g., stomach ulcers, heart disease, high blood pressure). And symptoms of the disease continue to develop and change, driven by both of the factors: damage of the organism and the organism's resistance. These changes often cause a local disease to spread to the whole body through the organism's own regulatory mechanism.
In studies of the above-mentioned disciplines, physiological theory of neoadaptationism gradually concentrates on two aspects: stress-resistance theory and plasticity theory. Stress-resistance theory sees environmental factors, which are disadvantageous to the organism's normal life—such as hazardous chemicals, high temperature, excessive moisture, high radiation, harmful life-form or microorganism—as stressors to the organism. Stress-resistance theory sees the organism's physiologically created and protective changes under stress as countermeasures taken by the organism—for example, regulation of inner chemical synthesis and decomposition, compensation of physiological functions, producing of immunity and antibody, enhancement and decrease of internal organ function, changes in hormones, regulation of blood distribution, changes in energy supply, and so on.
Stress-resistance theory suggests that organisms may have a variety of defenses. At different growth stages or being affected by different stressors, an organism's defense may vary. There is a physiological mechanism within organisms regulating the method of self-defense. And this mechanism can operate at various levels, including system, organs, tissues, cells, and molecular level. Adversity physio-ecology generalizes them with concepts such as strain, stress resistance, and the like. Pathophysiology summarizes them with such notions as anti-injury and compensation. Both definitions refer to the same meaning, but because they belong to different disciplines, they are termed differently. In other words, evolutionary pathophysiology is a broad adversity physio-ecology, and adversity physio-ecology is a broad evolutionary pathophysiology.
One of the deep structural applied projects is the deep-structure analysis of pathogeny theory and modulation mechanism of knotty diseases.